First loss shouldn’t take away from Jaime Munguia’s potential

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jaime Munguia said to expect “a full-out Mexican war” against Canelo Alvarez on Cinco de Mayo weekend.

And while Munguia (43-1) may have suffered the first loss of his career Saturday night, he made good on his promise.

Alvarez (61-2-2), who has been on boxing’s pound-for-pound lists for more than a decade, retained his undisputed super middleweight belt with a unanimous decision.

Judge Tim Cheatham scored the fight 117-110, Steve Weisfeld had it 115-112 and David Sutherland 116-111.

And in a fight that was sure to be significant for Munguia, win or lose, the fiery and powerful boxer put his talent on display early on, overcame being knocked down in the fourth round, and took Alvarez to the distance for a fifth straight fight.

“I came out strong and was winning the early rounds,” said Munguia, 27. “I let my hands go, but he’s a fighter with a lot of experience. The loss hurts because it’s my first loss and I felt strong.”

Munguia who closed a 3-to-1 underdog at BetMGM, ignited the announced crowd of 17,492 quickly, landing a sharp left to Alvarez’s face in the first round. He came alive inside the two-minute mark of the second and set the tone in the third before closing the round with a flurry of punches culminating with a big right to head.

Then it was Alvarez’s turn.

The 33-year-old champion reminded Munguia of who he was fighting by using a left-right combination that resulted in a knockdown – the first time he’d been dropped in his career – and seemingly reverberated the rest of the way.

Alvarez’s stronger punches coupled with Munguia’s deflated energy over the next five rounds.

The elder fighter credited his younger challenger afterward by saying he was strong, but also added he’s “a little slow” and “I could see every punch.”

“That’s why I’m the best,” Alvarez said. “I took my time. I have a lot of experience. Munguia is a great fighter. He’s strong and smart. But I have 12 rounds to win the fight and I did. I did really good and I’m proud of it.”

Munguia, who was thriving under new trainer Freddie Roach, appeared to be peaking both physically and mentally.

“There’s no doubt I would have beaten anyone else tonight,” Munguia said. “He has a lot of experience. I started well, but he’s a fighter who creates a lot of problems.”

Roach made his debut in Munguia’s corner in a win over John Ryder in January, and will now go back to the drawing board to prepare his young fighter for whatever promoter Oscar De La Hoya throws his way next.

There are several viable options for Munguia, including Christian Mbilli, the No. 1 WBC contender from Canada who has yet to face top-notch competition and would likely be more than willing for the bout.

Los Angeles’ Diego Pacheco is ranked No. 1 in the WBO, and is a fellow Mexican fighter who would be a formidable foe.

Finally, Puerto Rican boxer Edgar Berlanga is ranked No. 1 by the WBA, and is another big puncher that would electrify the ring with Munguia.

“This experience for Jaime will take him to another level,” De La Hoya said. “He gains experience. He didn’t get schooled. He gained experience and becomes a better fighter.”


AP sports:

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