2018: The year of Jaime Munguia
Jaime Munguia; a name the majority of boxing fans were unfamiliar with before the undefeated young Mexican’s involvement with unified middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin earlier this year. Munguia’s name took the mouths of the boxing community after accepting to step in the ring with the unified middleweight champion as a replacement opponent following Saul Alvarez’s withdrawal from their scheduled rematch due to his positive clenbuterol test. However, the Nevada State Commission prohibited the motion for Munguia to become the May 5 sacrificial lamb as the 21-year old had never fought over ten rounds and had never fought above the junior middleweight limit.
Shortly after being denied the fight with Golovkin, an excellent opportunity fell in the lap of Munguia as the replacement for a title fight in his actual weight class. As former junior middleweight champion Liam “Beefy” Smith pulled out of his mandatory title fight with Sadam Ali due to health complications, Munguia stepped to the plate on short notice to seize his moment.
After demolishing Ali within four rounds and delivering a spectacular performance to become the new WBO super welterweight world champion, Munguia became the new Mexican boxing sensation as well as a common household name.
“I feel very motivated now that I am a world champion,” Munguia said. “Everyone is going to talk about to me after this fight. This will open up more opportunities, and people will mention my name with the likes of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.”
Munguia (30-0, 25 KOs) made his first title defense in June against the original title mandatory contender Liam “Beefy Smith (26-2-1, 14 KOs) headlining a Golden Boy Promotions card at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Because the Tijuana champion had brutally punished Ali to take his junior middleweight belt, the majority of boxing fans predicted Munguia to have his way with the former champion. However, what fans forget to take into account was Smith’s only loss was at the hands of “Canelo” Alvarez in late 2016.
Though Munguia dropped Smith in the sixth round, the British contender got back on his feet and continued to trade leather with the young champion for the remainder of the fight. Following his 12-round unanimous decision win, boxing fans labeled Munguia as still “too green” for the other top junior middleweight contenders and dismissed the idea he would hold up against the winner of Alvarez-Golovkin.
In what will be his fourth fight of the year and second title defense, Munguia returns to the ring against Canadian “Bad Boy” Brandon Cook (20-1, 13 KOs) in the televised undercard of Canelo-GGG 2 on Sept. 15 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
With only one defeat in his record, Cook seems determined to pull an upset win in front of a sold-out arena and become new WBO junior middleweight champion. Because of Munguia’s higher KO percentage, Cook will have to fight the perfect fight not to get knocked out like in his only loss against Kanat Islam a year ago.
In the span of one year, Munguia went from fighting all over Mexico to fighting in a U.S undercard, to becoming a world champion and headlining his own card, and being part of one of the biggest pay-per-view cards of 2018.
Fans watching from the T-mobile Arena as well as from their television around the world look forward to the exciting 12-round bout and expect Munguia to proceed to deliver spectacular performances that will eventually lead him to a unification bout with any of the other junior middleweight champions.