By Tim Royner: Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan (28-3, 20 KOs) plans on moving down to 154 to go after a title shot against WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (31-0, 26 KOs) in 2019, according to Irish Boxing.com. O’Sullivan was crushed by David Lemieux by a 1st round knockout on September 15, and that fight showed that he doesn’t belong fighting top tier middleweights.
The idea is for the 34-year-old O’Sullivan to fight a 10 rounder in November or December on a Golden Boy card, and then fight a WBO title eliminator to become the mandatory for the 21-year-old Munguia. After that, O’Sullivan would face Munguia for the title. The reason O’Sullivan is targeting Munguia rather than the other junior middleweight champions Jarrett Hurd and Jermell Charlo is that he’s with the same promoter as Jaime with Golden Boy.
Paschal Collins, the trainer for O’Sullivan, told Irish Boxing News that he weighed 158 pounds the week of his recent fight with David Lemieux on September 15. O’Sullivan was blasted out in the 1st round by the bigger, stronger Lemieux in what turned out to be a horrible mismatch on the undercard of the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin card on HBO PPV at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Golden Boy Promotions didn’t lose faith in O’Sullivan after his loss to Lemieux. They believe in him and will continue to put him on their cards.
“We discussed whats the next step on the journey and basically we are going to go to light middle. Golden Boy will get him out in November, December this year, get him a 10 rounder and a ranking fight, after Christmas then we would like an eliminator and then fight Munguia for a world title,” Collins told Irish Boxing.com.
The long range plan is for O’Sullivan to beat Munguia and then move back up to middleweight and face Canelo. There’s a lot of money out there for O’Sullivan in the future if he can beat Munguia and then move back up to 160 to take on the Golden Boy promoted Canelo Alvarez. Even if things don’t work out well for O’Sullivan against Canelo, the money would be so good that it wouldn’t matter.
O’Sullivan and his trainer Collins might not realize how big Munguia is. He rehydrated up to 175 pounds after making the 154 pound weight limit for his title defense against Brandon Cook 20-2, 13 KOs) on the Canelo-GGG2 undercard on September 15. Munguia used his size and power to stop the 32-year-old Cook in round three of that fight. What was supposed to be a somewhat competitive fight turned out to be a horrible mismatch with Munguia destroying the Canadian Brandon Cook in three rounds? If O’Sullivan weighs 158 pounds against Munguia, he’ll still be giving away almost 20 pounds of weight.
It would be the same situation for O’Sullivan if he were to take on WBC 154 pound champion Jermell Charlo or IBF/WBA champion Jarrett Hurd. Both of those fighters rehydrate into the 170s for their fights a junior middleweight. O’Sullivan would be facing guys that are just as heavy as GGG and Canelo if he were to face Hurd and Jermell. Those are big fighters. For O’Sullivan not to be out-sized, he would probably need drop down to the 147 pound weight division, which he probably won’t consider.
WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford rehydrates to 158 pounds for his welterweight clashes, and IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. is in the 160s after he rehydrates. If O’Sullivan wants to face guys his own size, he probably needs to move down to welterweight. His power would go a lot farther in the 147 pound weight division. Unfortunately, O’Sullivan would be too far away from Canelo to have a realistic chance of fighting him. Canelo already took a great deal of heat from the boxing public for fighting welterweight Amir Khan in 2016. If Canelo continues to fight smaller fighters, he’s going to look like a cherry picker.
”Listen if Spike goes the route of Munguia and beats him then he can move back to middle and look to fight Canelo,” Collins said.
The way that O’Sullivan looked in his 1st round KO loss to Lemieux, it’s a bad idea for him to fight Munguia, who is a huge puncher as well. Munguia might not hit quite as hard as Lemieux with his left hook, but he’s close enough to destroy a slow, hittable fighter like O’Sullivan. Some fans believe that Munguia hits harder than Lemieux. Whether he does or not is immaterial. What’s important is O’Sullivan would be badly over-matched in fighting a big puncher like Munguia, and he would suffer a similar fate against Hurd and Charlo. The end result of O’Sullivan facing a knockout artist like Munguia would be him getting knocked out quickly. It’s probably game over for O’Sullivan in terms of his career and with Golden Boy Promotions if Munguia stops him. Given the size disadvantage O’Sullivan would have in facing Munguia, he would be far better off in moving down to 147 to fight guys his own size at welterweight.
Fighters nowadays look to get any advantage they can in fighting in divisions that are far below their natural weight. If O’Sullivan was walking around at 158 pounds on the week of his fight against Lemieux, then that’s a clear sign that he has no business in the 154 and 160 pound weight classes. The top fighters in those weight classes are fighting in the 170s. Some boxing fans believe Canelo rehydrates into the 180s for his fights at middleweight, which is why he had so much success against Golovkin in their two fights. Golovkin looked to be the smaller fighter weight-wise. Simply put, O’Sullivan at 158 is too small for junior middleweight. He’ll be ripped apart by the top fighters at 154 before he even has a chance to fight for a world title against WBO champion Munguia.
O’Sullivan says his next fight at junior middleweight will be against a top 15 contender in the division. Golden Boy will need to be careful in who they match O’Sullivan against if they intend on putting him in with a contender in the division in his next fight, because he could lose if they put him in with someone a little too good. Here are some of the contenders in the WBO’s top 15 that Golden Boy could be looking at to match O’Sullivan against in his next fight:
– Patrick Allotey
– Liam Williams
– Sebastian Formella
– Kell Brook
– Tony Harrison
– Yoshihiro Kamegai
– Bakram Murtaaliev
– Patrick Teizeira
– Aram Amirkhanyan
Some of those guys would be beatable for O’Sullivan, but he would have major problems against Brook and Liam Williams due to their punching power. Tony Harrison would be a lot of problems as well.
O’Sullivan received a huge payday of $400,000 for the Lemieux fight, which is a lot of money for a fighter who never proved himself to be a top middleweight. It’ll be interesting to see how much O’Sullivan makes for his next few fights at 154 if he’s able to make the weight for the division.