Jaime Munguia: People will mention my name with Canelo & GGG
By Dan Ambrose: WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) will be defending his title in 10 days from now against Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) on July 21 in a 12 round fight on HBO. The 21-year-old Munguia says he’s going to emerge from the Smith fight being mentioned in the same breath as middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and Saul Canelo Alvarez.
(Photo Credit: Tom Hogan-HoganPhotos/Golden Boy Promotions)
Munguia vs. Smith will be the 12 round main event. Munguia makes his first defense against his WBO mandatory Smith. It’s a tough first fight for Munguia, but he feels he’s up to the task.
Smith doesn’t plan on rolling over and giving Munguia an easy win over him like the one that he recently picked up in his fight against Sadam Ali. Smith is a legitimate junior middleweight with size, power, defensive skills and more than enough experience to be a problem for Munguia. If Munguia can run over Smith like a freight train on the night, it’ll be quite an accomplishment for the Mexican KO artist. Smith isn’t someone that can be overcome easily. Of course, he’s never fought anyone with the punching power and the aggression that Munguia brings to the table, so it’s impossible to say for sure how well he’ll do
Munguia could be Golden Boy Promotions’ next big star if he can beat Smith in an emphatic manner. Smith is a tough fighter with experience. He’s only lost once in his career to Canelo. It wasn’t an easy fight for him. Canelo goet the win, but it took him a while to get figure Smith out.
This is Munguia’s chance to put his name among those guys by smashing Smith, 29, to pieces in the same manner that he did in his win over former WBO 154lb champion Sadam Ali last May. Munguia will need to beat Smith in a better fashion than Canelo did. Canelo beat Smith by a 9th round knockout in 2016.
Munguia-Smith will be televised on HBO Boxing After Dark at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight card has a start time at 10pm ET.
”I feel very motivated now that I am a world champion. Everyone is going to talk about to me after this fight,” Munguia said. ”This will open up more opportunities, and people will mention my name with the likes of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.”
With a victory over Liam Smith, Munguia can certainly get the bigger fights against Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo. I’m not too sure that Munguia is ready to face those types of fighters. It Might be too early for advanced guys like those top talents. It would be perhaps better for Munguia o take more time before he looks to unify the division and face experienced fighters like Lara. Munguia should look to take on the likes of Kell Brook, Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams and Amir Khan. Those would be good tests for Munguia to gain more experience. There’s good money for Munguia in fights against Brook and Khan. Those matches can be considered big fights, even though neither of them are considered to be in the same class as Charlo, Lara and Hurd.
”I feel very good. The potential fight against Gennady Golovkin really got my name out there,” Munguia said. ”It allowed me to get the opportunity to fight for a world title. I’m grateful for that. I’m also grateful that the NSAC didn’t allow me to fight against Golovkin because it lead to this world title.”
Fate has really worked in Munguia’s favor, as just last year he had been picked out by Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler to replace Canelo Alvarez for his May 5th fight. Munguia would have fought GGG if not for the Nevada State Athletic Commission rejecting him as an opponent for the Kazakhstan fighter because of his lack of experience. Munguia likely wouldn’t have done well against GGG. That would have been too big of a step up in class for the 21-year-old Munguia to step inside the ring with a guy with the talent of Golovkin. The fight likely would have been over in two or three rounds depending on how annoyed Golovkin got after getting hit by Munguia. After being rejected by the Nevada Commission, Munguia was given the opportunity to challenge WBO junior middleweight champion Sadam Ali in his first defense. Ali didn’t have the size, chin or power to hang with Munguia, so he was blown out in four quick rounds.
”I’m always 100% ready,” Munguia said. ”I got the call to fight Sadam Ali with only two weeks notice. The only struggle was to lose the weight, but other than that I was ready. I knew my advantage was my reach and my power. I knew that he was a smaller fighter. Those were the keys to my victory,” Munguia said.
Sadam never had a chance to win the fight after he made the tactical mistake of looking to trade power shots. The 5’11” Munguia was only too happy to brawl with Sadam, and he took full advantage of it by dropping the smaller, weaker fighter two times in round. Munguia knocked Sadam down in round 2 and 4. It wasn’t much of a fight due to Ali’s lack of size and inadequate defensive ability. It was a much different fight for Sdam than it was in his previous fight against Miguel Cotto last December. Cotto was injured and unable to handle the youthful energy of Sadam. Munguia was completely healthy, and much too powerful for Sadam to deal with him.
Munguia is young enough to become a big PPV star like Canelo if he can stick around and prove himself against the best fighters in the 154 lb. weight class. It would be better for Munguia to face the best fighters at junior middleweight and show the boxing world that he can beat them. That would be the ideal way for Munguia to become a star in a hurry. However, Canelo showed that you don’t need to beat the best to become a star. Canelo was clearly maneuvered around many of the best fighters when he was at 154, and yet it didn’t hurt his popularity. GGG didn’t get a fight against Canelo until he was 36 after waiting three years. Hurd and the Charlos are still waiting to fight Canelo. If Munguia’s promoters at Zanfer Promotions and Golden Boy decide they don’t want to match him against the best at 154, it won’t likely hurt his career. But if Munguia can prove that he can face the best and beat them, then he’ll be a star overnight.
”I think that the only advantage that Liam Smith has is that he’s fought in big events before,” Munguia said. ”But I have many fights under my belt. I have a lot of experience. I had over 100 fights as an amateur. All this experience gives me a lot of confidence when I step into the ring.”
Smith doesn’t have as much experience as some would think. If you look at his 10-year resume, these are the only names that jump out at you:
– Saul Canelo Alvarez
– Liam Williams
– John Thompson
Of those three, only Canelo is considered to be a huge talent. Thompson and Williams aren’t viewed as the best in the junior middleweight division. Smith has fought one good fighter in Canelo and he was knocked out by him in nine rounds. The other guys that Smith has fought have all been weak opposition. It’s too bad that Smith hasn’t tested himself the way that some fighters do, but it’s understandable why he didn’t because he likely would have lost.
”I’m very happy with the training camp we had and very confident about this fight,” Munguia said.