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Will Munguia agree to face Zhanibek for WBO 160-lb title?

Image: Will Munguia agree to face Zhanibek for WBO 160-lb title?

By Robert Segal: Jaime Munguia and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions have 15 days to decide whether to agree to the WBO-ordered fight against middleweight champion Zhanibek Alimkhanuly.

Last Sunday, the World Boxing Organization ordered #1 ranked contender Munguia (41-0, 33 KOs) and undefeated WBO 160-lb champion Zhanibek (13-0, 8 KOs) to begin negotiations for a fight, giving them a mere 15 days to reach an agreement before a purse bid is ordered.

Some boxing fans believe that the Golden Boy-promoted Munguia has been pampered by the sanctioning bodies since he moved up in weight to the 160-lb division.

Munguia wants Golovkin title shot

The short 15-day time given by the WBO suggests that they want to find out quickly whether Munguia will accept the title shot against the dangerous Zhanibek.

Last Saturday, Munguia, 26, called out IBF/WBA middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin after stopping second-tier fighter Gonzalo Gaston Coria in three rounds.

Golovkin has already been ordered to take back-to-back mandatory defenses against Esquiva Falcao and Erislandy Lara. If he chooses to face Munguia, he’ll likely be stripped of one or both of his titles. In other words, it would just be a money fight without titles being on the line.

It’s unclear what direction Munguia will go if he can’t get the Golovkin fight and rejects the WBO’s order for him to challenge Zhanibek for his title.

Munguia had a chance to fight Zhanibek in the past for the WBO interim 160-lb title to get an opportunity to challenge former champion Demetrius Andrade, but he failed to accept it.

Perhaps after Zhanibek’s less-than-stellar performance in his successful title defense against Denzel Bentley earlier this month on November 12th, Munguia may accept the fight against him.

To be sure, Zhanibek looks beatable as the WBO 160lb champion, but he’s still not an easy out like the mediocre opposition that Munguia has faced since he moved up to middleweight in 2019.

If Munguia chooses to swerve the guaranteed title shot against the dangerous southpaw Zhanibek, which is likely, the other options for a title shot will be #2 Chris Eubank Jr., #3 Meirim Nursultanov and #4 Felix Cash.

It won’t be surprising if Eubank Jr chooses to turn down a fight against Zhanibek because he’s ranked #2 with the WBC, and if he gets a title shot against their current champion Jermall Charlo, it’s a bigger money clash.

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