Canelo-GGG 2 undercard: Munguia-Cook, Lemieux-O’Sullivan & Chocolatito-Fuentes
By Dan Ambrose: Saul ‘Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin II undercard will has the following fights in the works: Jaime Munguia vs. Brandon Cook, David Lemieux vs. Gary O’Sullivan and Roman ‘Chocolatio’ Gonzalez vs. Moises Fuentes.
Jaime Munguia vs. Brandon Cook
Munguia (30-0, 25 KOs) will be defending his World Boxing Organization junior middleweight title against #4 WBO Brandon Cook (20-1, 13 KOs) in what will likely be the chief support for the Canelo-GGG 2 card. Cook, 32, is getting a much better fight than the one that he was scheduled for previously against former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook on July 28 at the O2 Arena in London, England. Brook suffered an ankle injury and had to pull out of the fight on three weeks’ notice. Cook was then scheduled to fight Matchroom Boxing stable fighter Sam Eggington. That fight was canceled as well after Eggington suffered an injury sparring. The interest that Hearn had in trying to match two of his Matchroom fighters against Cook suggests that he’s seen as an easy mark and a non-threat. Certainly, it doesn’t look good that Cook was beaten three fights ago by Kanat Isam by a 9th round knockout on September 9 last year.
Munguia, 21, recently successfully defended his WBO 154 pound title for the first time in defeating #1 WBO contender Liam Smith by a 12 round unanimous decision last month on HBO World Championship Boxing on July 21. Munguia’s punching power looked exceptional. His defense, however, wasn’t up to snuff, as he took a lot of shots from the 29-year-old Smith and made the fight tougher than fans expected it would be. It was thought heading into that fight that Munguia would run over Smith like a freight train in the same way he had in stopping former WBO champion Sadam Ali in the 4th round on May 12. It didn’t turn out that way though. Smith took Munguia’s best shots and kept coming forward looking to land his best shots on him. Munguia perhaps could have stopped Smith if he had been able to land enough consecutive shots, but he kept taking breaks after hitting him with heavy punches. Saul Canelo Alvarez did a better job of beating Smith in his 9th round knockout victory in 2016. That’s who Munguia was being compared to by boxing fans, and he didn’t measure up to the performance from Canelo. However, Munguia is younger than the 25-year Canelo was when he stopped Smith, so there’s a possibility that we can see improvement from him in the future.
David Lemieux vs. Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan
The 34-year-old Golden Boy promoted O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 Kos) has reportedly signed for the September 15 fight against former IBF middleweight champion Lemieux (39-4, 33 KOs) in what should be an interesting fight for the boxing fans. Both fighters are crude sluggers, who come straight at their opponents face first looking to knock them out. Both guys have stamina problems, and are poor in terms of their defense skills. Golden Boy Promotions have been working feverishly in trying to rebuild the Ireland born O’Sullivan’s brand to make him a viable future opponent for Saul Alvarez. Since losing to another very, very raw fighter in Chris Eubank Jr. by a 7th round stoppage in December 2015, O’Sullivan has won his last six fights, albeit against weak opposition. The opponents fed to O’Sullivan have been prefect for him to pad his record with and look good. Golden Boy seemed to go overboard in putting O’Sullivan in a showcase fight on May 4 on the Ryan Garcia undercard in matching him against welterweight Berlin Abreu. Choosing a limited, not a great one, in Berlin Abreu, shows you how far Golden Boy is willing to go in order to rebuild O’Sullivan’s brand.
There’s no word which weight division the O’Sullivan vs. Lemieux fight will be held at. Lemieux can no longer comfortably make 160. Lemieux, 29, is facing an uncertain future now that he’s reached a point where he can no longer make 160. He’s failed to make the 160 pound weight limit in four out of his last six fights. One of his fights was canceled when he failed to make weight against James De La Rosa in 2017. The 5’9” Lemieux will have it tough once he’s forced to mix it up with the lions in the super middleweight division. Lemieux was beaten badly last December in losing a 12 round decision to World Boxing Organization middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. The fight was supposed to have been a competitive one, but Lemieux was too slow and limited to be competitive against Saunders. It looked like Lemieux wasn’t even trying. You have to wonder whether the effort that it took for Lemieux to get down to 160 took all the energy out of him, as he looked weak after rehydrating. It appeared that Lemieux had overhydrated when he gained the weight back on, as his upper body looked bloated with water. Lemieux won his last fight in beating Karim Achour by a 12 round unanimous decision. However, Lemieux came in two pounds over the 160-pound weight limit at 162 and he was unable to knockout the 31-year-old Achour. Lemieux should have been able to stop Achour with no problems. The fact that he couldn’t was troubling. It makes one wonder whether Lemieux is still a world class fighter at this point in his career, especially now that he can no longer make weight for the middleweight division.
Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez vs. Moises Fuentes
Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs) is in a crossroads fight against former WBO minimumweight world champion Fuentes (25-5-1, 14 KOs). Gonzalez, 31, lost his last two fights against Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, and he almost lost his fight before that against Carlos Cuadras. More importantly than the losses themselves is the punishment that Chocolatito took in those fights. Cuadras and Rungvisai gave Gonzalez a terrible pounding, showing to the world that he doesn’t belong in the super flyweight division. Rather than getting a clue that it was horrible mistake in moving up to the 115 pound weight class, Gonzalez has stubbornly continued to fight in the division. It’s academic at this point that Gonzalez does not belong at super flyweight and he never will. The only question is how soon before Gonzalez is sent into retirement by one of the fighters in the division. Picking out the 31-year-old flyweight Fuentes is only putting off the inevitable for Gonzalez. If he chooses to remain at super flyweight, he’ll soon take another beating once he faces someone from that weight class. It won’t be surprising if Fuentes does a job on Gonzalez as well.
This is unquestionably a major improvement from the undercard of the previous Canelo-GGG fight last September, which had these three fights as the top supporting bouts:
– Joseph ‘Jo Jo’ Diaz vs. Rafael Rivera
– Randy Caballero vs. Diego De La Hoya
– Ryan Martin vs. Francisco Rojo.
Despite those being good fights in terms of competitiveness, the casual boxing fans were less than enthralled about the matches. There was no interest from casual and hardcore fans about those fights heading into the card. It’s a good thing that Golden Boy and Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler are stacking the Canelo-GGG 2 undercard for September 15, because for the fight to bring in better pay-per-view numbers on HBO than the first fight last year, it’s going to take a great undercard like the one that is being put together for September 16.