Jaime Munguia: Liam Smith is not taking my title
By Allan Fox: Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) is determined to keep his WBO junior middleweight title this Saturday night in defending against former 154 pound belt holder Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Munguia says he’s not going to let Smith come take his World Boxing Organization title when the two of them meet at the Hard Rock Hotel. Munguia wants to defend his title in style by knocking the 29-year-old Smith out.
Munguia-Smith will be televised on HBO on Saturday starting at 10pm ET/7pm PT. This will be the first defense for Munguia, who is hoping to put his name up there with Saul Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin after Saturday. It’s going to take more than beating Liam Smith for Munguia to get his name mentioned alongside Golovkin and Canelo. It took those fighters many years to build their brand to where it is right now. They didn’t achieve it overnight by beating up a former welterweight in Sadam Ali like Munguia did last May. Munguia needs to beat Smith and then continue to win fights for the near five or six years over top opposition if he wants to get to where Canelo and Golovkin are right now. Munguia looks like he could be very special, but he needs to prove himself against the best before he’s seen in the same light as the better fighters in boxing.
”I won the championship (against Sadam Ali) because this belt is something I won’t let go of, and nobody is going to take it. It’s my dream come true and I’m just starting to enjoy it,” Munguia said via fightnews.com. “It’s not an easy opponent that I have in front of me. He’s very experienced, has fought some big names and is the mandatory challenger,” Munguia said.
Smith has fought one big name in Saul Canelo Alvarez, but he lost to him by a 9th round knockout in 2016. The rest of the guys Smith has fought have been middle of the road opponents like John Thompson, Jimmy Kelly, Predrag Radosevic, Jason Welborn, Mark Thompson, and Liam Williams. The only fighter of that bunch with any degree of talent is Williams, and he’s not a top 10 talent in the true sense. He’s more of a bottom 15 guy.
Smith hasn’t done much with his career since his loss to Canelo. He’s beaten Liam Williams twice and a fighter named Marian Cazacu (2-40-1). Smith wants to beat Munguia and then move forward for the bigger fights. One obvious match would be Smith defending against Kell Brook. That would give Smith a big payday. It’s unlikely that would see Smith try and unify the division by facing WBC 154lb champion Jermell Charlo or IBF/WBA champion Jarrett Hurd. The risk would be too high for Smith against those guys. Smith will likely revert to milking the WBO title against weak opposition like he was doing before.
”I still think I have more quality and more power than him and I’m confident I’ll beat him because of my great preparation,” Munguia said. ”This time I feel more explosive and strong. I have no weight problems. I’ll face a challenger who is going to trade and I’d like that the fight end by knockout.”
There’s no question that Munguia has the advantage in punching power over Smith. If this fight turns into a war, it’ll favor Munguia. It doesn’t help Smith that he lacks the mobility to move away from Munguia. The only thing Smith can do is hope to beat Munguia at his own game by trading power shots. Munguia’s opposition during his short 4-year pro career has been weak, so he’s not had his chin tested by anyone with punching power.