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Jaime Munguia destined to fight Canelo Alvarez

Image: Jaime Munguia destined to fight Canelo Alvarez

By Aragon Garcia: Jaime Munguia is ready and willing to face Canelo Alvarez whenever the Golden Boy star is ready to face him. The unbeaten former WBO junior middleweight champion Munguia (35-0, 28 KOs) is in line waiting for his chance to challenge Canelo for his WBA middleweight title.

With the 6-foot Munguia’s size and punching power, he’s capable of knocking out Canelo or anyone in the division if he can land his shots. He’s not the fastest of middleweights, but he’s quick enough to land his shots.

Jaime dangerous for Canelo

Although Canelo would be a huge favorite against Munguia, he’ll be in trouble if he gets hit on the chin with one of the young upstart’s shots. Munguia is especially dangerous early in his fights when he’s fresh. That’s when he knocks out most of his opponents.

Munguia is with the same promoter as Canelo, and he’s got the unbeaten record and fan base to make a fight between them a huge event.

Thus far, Golden Boy Promotions has taken their time in preparing Munguia to take on the likes of Canelo and Gennadiy Golovkin. They want to turn Munguia into a star, and they might not be successful at that if they feed him to Canelo before he’s ready.

The 23-year-old Munguia recently moved up to 160 and beat Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan (30-3, 21 KOs) by an 11th round knockout in a war last January in San Antonio, Texas. That fight highlighted Munguia’s defensive problems, as he was hit a lot by the heavy-handed O’Sullivan during the fight.

In the third round, Munguia was hurt at the end of the round by a big right-hand from O’Sullivan. Had O’Sullivan landed his follow up right hand on the button, he likely would have knocked Munguia out.

Image: Jaime Munguia destined to fight Canelo Alvarez

Munguia would fight Canelo tomorrow

“The opponents are lining up to face Canelo Alvarez, and Jaime Munguia’s promoter Fernando Beltran wants Canelo to know that his fighter is already in line,” said Chris Mannix to DAZN.

“Munguia is just 23, but Beltran said if they receive a contract to face Canelo tomorrow, they will sign it. What do you think of Munguia as a future Canelo opponent?”

“I could definitely see this fight happening on any Mexican holiday or Cinco de Mayo,” said Sergio Mora on a Canelo vs. Munguia fight.

“It could happen next year on Cinco de Mayo in 2021 or in September, which is the Mexican Independence Day. Jaime Munguia might not be the best opponent, but he’s going to bring the action.

“He’s got the chin, he’s big, got an undefeated record, and he’s been a champion. And he’s never been stopped, and these are all things you want in a B-side opponent. It is a Mexican holiday in May or September, and it’s going to bring that big Mexican RAZA crowd coming around.

“So two big active champions like that. It wouldn’t last long, but it would be fun while it does,” said Mora on a Canelo vs. Munguia fight.

Munguia’s promoter Fernando Beltran would obviously like to make the fight with Canelo Alvarez sooner rather than later. It makes sense for Munguia to take the fight with Canelo now because if he gets beaten along the way, then that could spoil things.

Munguia’s performances against Gary O’Sullivan and Dennis Hogan showed that he’s vulnerable. If Munguia doesn’t improve soon, he’s going to lose out on his chance to face Canelo.

Only a matter of time for Jaime

“I think Munguia is a natural future Canelo opponent, and I think what’s going to be a challenge for Beltran and Golden Boy is to get Munguia and to approve Munguia without getting him beat,” said Mannix.

“Now Munguia made his debut at 160 pounds back in January [against Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan]. He won that fight by a stoppage, but it wasn’t a flawless performance. ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan hit him with some big shots, and Munguia didn’t look like an elite middleweight in that particular fight.

“He needs to make strides at 160 pounds, but they can’t put him in with somebody that is especially dangerous. That means we’re not going to see him in a fight with Demetrius Andrade. We’re not going to Munguia in a battle against Gennadiy Golovkin.

“We’re going to see Munguia fight progressively better B and C-level opponents until we get to May 2021 or September 2021. The hope is, at least on the Munguia side is, maybe he’s improved enough to give Canelo a bit of a battle. But right now, from what I see from Jaime Munguia, I don’t see him being defensive-minded enough to be able to compete with Canelo.”

Since Golden Boy Promotions signed Munguia several years ago, they’ve been grooming him for the big fights. He’s done well in capturing the WBO 154-pound title in destroying Sadam Ali in four rounds in 2018.

Before Munguia grew out of the division, he successfully defended his WBO title five times in two years. He was one of the busiest world champions in boxing during that time.

Munguia another Julio Cesar Chavez Jr

“Think of Jaime Munguia as being another Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.,” said Mora. “That’s exactly [what he is], they’re big, they take a good shot, they come forward, they’re better when they’re coming forward and throwing body punches, they have granite in their chin, but they lack head movement.

“They require fighting behind a disciplined jab. They have a devastating body shot, but they need to get inside, and they have heavy feet.

“I think with Munguia bringing in Erik Morales, they want him to fight behind his jab a little to set up the big punches, and to concentrate on the body by cutting off the ring and not getting reckless and getting hit with the big shots.

“With Canelo, if you’re getting hit with those big shots, you’re not going to last too long. But with the head movement and fighting behind the jab, maybe that fight can go into the later rounds where that size [of Munguia] can be a factor.”

At this stage in Munguia’s career, he’s following in the same footsteps as former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Munguia has the same bad habit of plodding forward, looking to land big shots without setting them up.

Chavez Jr. used to do the same thing, and he got away with it when he fought at 160 against mid-level fighters. With Chavez’s size advantage at middleweight, he was able to crush his smaller opponents with his power and size. However, when Chavez Jr. finally met up with a talented 160-pounder in Sergio Martinez, he was exposed in losing a one-sided 12 round decision. When Chavez Jr. could no longer make 160, his career went rapidly downhill.

Defense is not Jaime’s focus

“Munguia bringing in Erik Morales tells me that Munguia isn’t concerned with shoring up his defense,” said Mannix. “It’s just going to be an offensive-oriented fighter for the rest of his career.

“That’s fun and exciting, but against a guy like Canelo, who has both great defensively and has hand speed that makes him dangerous offensively, I don’t know if that’s a great strategy.”

The way that Munguia focuses on knocking out his opponents, he doesn’t appear to have the patience to focus on his defense. Part of that is his youth. At 23, Munguia still believes that he’s invincible, so he’s careless when he’s on the attack.

The weak opposition that Golden Boy has been matching Munguia up with has led to him fighting more aggressively than he otherwise would if he’d fought dangerous fighters right from the start.

Munguia’s best opponents during his seven-year career

  • Liam Smith
  • Gary O’Sullivan
  • Takeshi Inoue
  • Brandon Cook
  • Dennis Hogan
  • Patrick Allotey

Munguia has better fundamentals than Chavez Jr. and better head on his shoulders. He’s got the right trainer in boxing great Erik Morales, who is trying to tone down his bad habits.

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