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Munguia vs. Smith averages 777,000 viewers on HBO

Image: Munguia vs. Smith averages 777,000 viewers on HBO

By Allan Fox: WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia’s maiden title defense again former WBO champion Liam Smith averaged 777,000 viewers with a peak of 827,000 viewers on HBO last Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Those are good ratings for the 21-year-old Munguia, who is building a fan base in a real hurry. Munguia made it exciting in defeating the 29-year-old Smith (26-2-1, 14 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 116-111, 119-108 and 117-110. It was a spirited effort from Smith, who gave it a good shot against the younger, stronger Munguia but ultimately he was outgunned. Munguia was simply too strong for Smith, and his stamina was too good as well.

The ratings for Munguia’s fight against Smith were an improvement for his previous fight against Sadam Ali on May 12 on HBO. That fight averaged 711,000 viewers. The co-feature bout on the Munguia-Smith fight between WBA super featherweight champion Alberto Machado and previously unbeaten Rafael Mensah averaged 665,000 viewers with a peak of 762,000. Machado won the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision in a one-sided fight.

Munguia has increased his visibility in a short period of time since last May. Munguia went from being turned down for a May 5th fight against Gennady Golovkin to an overnight sensation with his 4th round knockout win over Sadam Ali on May 12 on HBO. While Munguia showed some flaws in against Liam Smith in terms of the wild shots he was throwing and his average, he made up for his flaws by making the fight exciting at all times. The boxing public wants to see exciting fighters, not guys that run around the ring fighting defensively and throwing single pot shots.

“I’m impressed by Munguia because of his discipline and because of his age,” Roy Jones Jr. said to Yahoo Sports News. “I just hope he doesn’t make the same fight Canelo made by fighting the big fight too early. I think (Alvarez) was 21 when he fought Floyd, and that was way too early and he didn’t know how to deal with that.”

Given how much of a rush Munguia seems to be in wanting to fight Gennady Golovkin, Saul Alvarez, Jarrett Hurd and Jermell Charlo, it’s likely that he’s going to take a fight against one of those talented fighters before he’s ready to. In the case of Golovkin, Munguia can’t afford to wait too long before taking that fight. Golovkin is up there in age at 36, and Munguia isn’t going to be able to wait two to four years to get more experience before taking that fight. If GGG’s management offers Munguia a fight, he has to accept it. It’s doubtful that they will give Munguia a shot at this point though, as Goovkin has a lot of options available to him for fights. The only reason GGG’s management offered Munguia a fight on May 5 is because Canelo pulled out of the contest three weeks before the fight after testing positive for clenbuterol.

“This kid has some ability, and if he keeps taking smart fights like that one and continues to learn, he has the possibility he can be great,” Jones said about Munguia. ”But if he goes too fast, I don’t think he’ll get to be that exceptional fighter he can be.”

There was nothing wrong with Munguia’s punching power. He looked plenty powerful in hitting Smith with huge punches to the head and body throughout the fight. The only thing that kept Munguia looking like a complete fighter against Smith was his defense. He was taking hard shots from Smith. Those punches would be more difficult for Munguia to take if he was getting hit by Jermell Charlo and Jarrett Hurd. Those guys hit harder than Smith, a lot harder. The performance Munguia put in against Smith is going to want a lot of boxing fans to see him fight again.

Munguia knocked Smith to the canvas with a scorching left hook to the head in round 6. The body shots from Munguia wore Smith down like an old clock. Smith took the head shots well, but it was the body work that Munguia put in that made the difference in the fight. Munguia wore Smith down once he started going to the body, and that took a lot of the steam off the British fighter’s punches. Smith was hurt on at least three occasions in the fight.

Smith came into the contest against Munguia with only one defeat on his record against Saul Alvarez in losing a 9th round knockout in September 2016. Smith said after the fight that Canelo hits harder than Munguia, but he feels that he has good punching power and may get stronger as he gets older.

“He’s a good fighter and he answered a lot of questions,” Smith said of Munguia.

Munguia was at his best when he was throwing power shots. It was only when he would stop punching that he had problems in getting hit back by Smith. Munguia took Smith’s shots without any problems. It just looked bad at times that Smith was able to hit him back. Munguia shouldn’t have been getting hit as much as he did by Smith because those punches he absorbed would have likely been knockout blows if he was getting hit by the likes of Hurd, Charlo or Erislandy Lara.

In the 12th round, Smith went for broke in trying to land his best shots, but Munguia continued to fire huge power shots at him and get the better of the action. Munguia finished strong in shooting for a knockout. Even though Munguia failed to get the knockout, he was it exciting the entire time.

Munguia showed against Smith that he’s got the goods to hold onto his WBO title against a good fighter. Apart from unification fights against Hurd or Charlo, the only threat to Munguia’s title reign in the foreseeable future is Kell Brook, whose promoter Eddie Hearn has the big money to tempt Munguia to take the fight against him. Brook would be a really difficult fight for Munguia, but it would be a winnable one if he can wear him down with power shots in the same way that Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr. both did. The experience that Munguia gained in beating Smith will serve him well once he starts facing better opposition in the future.

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