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Jaime Munguia vs. Liam Smith – Official weigh-in results

By Dan Ambrose: WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) weighed in at 153.8 pounds on Friday for his maiden title defense against former WBO champion Liam ‘Beefy’ Smith (29-1-1, 14 KOs) in the main event on Saturday night on HBO Boxing After Dark at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Smith weighed in at 153.8 lbs. as well. The HBO telecast starts this Saturday night at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT.

(Photo Credit: Tom Hogan – Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions)

This is a fight that Munguia and Smith badly need. Smith needs the fight to recapture his old WBO title, and to prove to fans that he’s still good enough to be a world champion at 29. Munguia needs to win so that he can show the fans that he deserves to be mentioned in the same class as superstars Gennady Golovkin and Saul Canelo Alvarez. Right now, no one views Munguia as being in the same league as those two. Munguia must show that he can beat a fighter in the caliber of Smith, because there are better fighters in the weight class as him.

Most boxing fans feel that Munguia, 21, is going to wipeout the 29-year-old Smith by a knockout. That’s the general consensus. Smith is a pretty fair fighter, but he hasn’t looked that great since being knocked out in the 9th round by Saul Canelo Alvarez in September 2016. Although Smith has won his last three fights since then against Liam Williams (17-2-1, 12 KOs) and Marian Cazacu (2-40-1), he’s not looked great against the low level competition that he’s been facing. Of course, Smith was never fighting great opposition to begin with even before Canelo gave his only career loss.

With the exception of his loss to Canelo, Smith has beaten the guys that his management has put in front of him during his ten year career, unfortunately he hasn’t fought the talented guys that would tell the boxing fans something about his pedigree or lack thereof. We never saw Smith fight the likes of Erislandy Lara, Jermell Charlo, Jermall Charlo, Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams, Erickson Lubin, Maciej Sulecki, Tony Harrison, Brian Carlos Castano, Kanat Islam, Austin Trout or Michel Soro. Those are all the good fighters in the 154 lb. weight class. I don’t count Kell Brook because he’s a new comer to the junior middleweight division, and he still hasn’t fought a live body to prove that he belongs in the weight class. His promoter Eddie Hearn fed him a soft job in Sergey Rabchenko, and then he pulled out of his second fight at 154 when he suffered an injury training for a fight against Brandon Cook on July 28. Smith only has one fight under his belt

If Munguia can KO Smith before the 9th round, he’ll show the boxing fans that he could stop a guy that made it into the 9th round against Canelo Alvarez two years ago in 2016. Canelo had injured right hand, so it’s possible that he could have knocked Smith out earlier in the fight if he’d been completely healthy and not dealing with a handicap. Still, Canelo didn’t suffer the injury until the 4th round. Canelo was trying hard to knockout Smith, but he couldn’t do it. Smith was giving Canelo loads of problems with his heavy hands and his high work rate. Smith has good power when he lets his hands go. Smith normally doesn’t throw a lot of shots though, as he likes to play possum and wait out his opposition until they fade.

When Smith tried to tinker with that style of fighting against Canelo, he was exhausted by the 5th round, and he easy prey for the redheaded star. I think it’s safe to say that Smith learned his lesson from the Canelo fight and won’t dare to try and mix it up with Munguia. There’s a downside though for Smith if he just covers up and waits for Munguia to shoot his load. Smith may get shelled to oblivion by Munguia. It’s not a good idea for Smith to led Munguia hit him with everything he’s got for six or seven rounds hoping he’ll eventually tire out, because he might not tire. Munguia hits too hard for Smith to take a lot of heavy shots. Even if Smith is covering up, the force of Munguia’s punches is going to send shockwaves through his guard and rattle him. Moreover, Munguia goes to the body pretty well. If he sees that Smith is using his high guard, he’ll throw downstairs to his midsection and look to take him out with a body shot.

In the co-feature weights, undefeated World Boxing Association World super featherweight champion Alberto Machado (19-0, 16 KOs) weighed in at 130 pounds for his title defense against mandatory challenger Rafael Mensah (31-0, 23 KOs). Machado, 27, is making his first defense as well after winning the vacant WBA ‘regular’ 126 lb. title in stopping Jezreel Corrales (22-2, 8 KOs) by an 8th round knockout last year on October 21 in Verona, New York. Machado is a big puncher, but so is Mensah. Machado has knocked out 16 of his last 17 opponents. That’s pretty impressive. You don’t stop that many fighters in the last four years if you don’t possess major power.

Mensah comes from Ghana, and his opposition has been mostly suspect. His best opponent in his eight-year pro career is Justin Savi, who he defeated by a 10 round unanimous decision in December 2015. Mensah’s other wins in the last three years have come against these fighters:

– Martin Ahiadekey (8-14-1)

– Edward Kambasi (6-7)

– Fatiou Fassinou (27-4-3)

– Jonatan Yartey (14-9)

– John Oblitey Commey (9-19)

– Korley Collison (10-7)

– Abdul Malik Jabir (19-10)

With the victories that Mensah has accumulated during his career, it’s shocking that he’s rated number 1 by the WBA a super featherweight. The sanctioning body should have at least waited until Mensah proved himself against at least one top fighter before they gave him a high ranking like the one that he has now. There’s a good chance that Mensah is going to be completely unprepared for the type of fire power that Machado will be bringing on Saturday night. At this point in Mensah’s career, he should have been fighting better opposition than what he has.

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