Jaime Munguia could be next for Canelo Alvarez in September.
If indeed it gets made, gets to the finish line, no, not everyone will be happy. But a Canelo Alvarez versus Jaime Munguia bout makes sense from several standpoints.
First and foremost, Munguia isn’t Gennadiy Golovkin. That is the foremost element in play here and the reason for this column.
We can’t be sure why, we have to ask him and the Golden Boy crew, but there is not currently an appetite to sign on for a third bout against the Kazakh rival. Which means that Canelo’s Sept. 14 date, set in stone, has to feature some foe, some rival.
We’d heard that Sergey Kovalev could get the assignment, but no, that’s maybe a future thing, not a near-present deal. The options beyond that are not limitless, being that we have these leagues that are set, and that means some persons would have to step over a pretty hard line to get the gig.
Like, no, we don’t see Jermall Charlo getting the surprise call to put his WBC middleweight strap up for grabs in Las Vegas against the 52-1-2 redhead. Canelo, by the way, holds the IBF, WBA and WBC “franchise” crowns. Demetrius Andrade owns the WBO’s bauble, and he said he’d love that work, but the lefty from Rhode Island is someone with a style and skill set that will make it so he’ll have to be waiting a bit longer for a signature scrap.
So, no Kovalev or big Charlo or Boo Boo. Rob Brant has a 160 strap and he’s about to defend it versus Ryoto Murata on July 12, and he’s over on that ESPN, not DAZN side, so we’ve heard no appetite for him to meet the Mexican. Beyond that, there are many folks who’d like to separate themselves from the pack at middleweight, and need a win or two to make that happen. We’re looking at you, Janibek Alimkhanuly, Obodai Sai, Marcelo Esteban, Patrice Volny, Luke Keeler, Steven Butler, Kamil Szeremta, Magomed Madiev, Carlos Monroe, Mikalai Vesialou, Alfonso Blanco, Meiirim Nursultanov.
Super middleweights can’t be ruled out. Last December, Canelo showed himself to have the strength to deal with a 168 at the Rocky Fielding level. The risk-reward factor would be altered significantly were he to step to the line against WBA 168 champ Callum Smith, who is a step and two above dear Rocky in most every facet. Billy Joe Saunders is a wild card in that arena, and again, the risk-reward ratio there would tend to have Team Canelo looking at a goodly number of other options apart from the colorful UKer.
Which brings us to Munguia. He’s a young gun, just 22. He’s Mexican — hello intra-national faceoffs, people tend to like those, especially when they pit Mexican up and comers against established Mexican pugilists.
As for record, he’s got a good one — great one, actually, at 33-0 (26 KO), and that’s always useful when marketing towards the less hardcore rooters.
I think if and when the Canelo vs Munguia fight gets made, there will be a clapback of negative nellies and nabobs saying that this is a trash fight. Many of them will say they watched Munguia’s last outing against Dennis Hogan on April 13, and they saw a man who deserves to be 32-1. “Exposed,” I saw lots of folks saying that after watching the 34-year-old Hogan perform quite capably as he sought the WBO’s 154-pound crown held by Munguia. They saw Hogan backing up the Mexican, and Munguia look a bit slow at times, a bit raw, holds those hands low — they saw things that indicate to them that Canelo will see Munguia as being easy work.
And maybe it would be that.
But Munguia is strong, if not the one-punch blaster that people were thunking he’d be a year and a half ago, when optimism overcometh.
Munguia will have that “puncher’s chance” against Canelo, though he’d be happy if some luck collided with his skills, so he’d be able to catch the defensive master Canelo with something he didn’t see.
Munguia being aligned with Golden Boy, Canelo’s promoter, doesn’t hurt the cause at all. It’s always easier to make deals with allies than those outside the realm, another reason why you should wrap that brain around Canelo vs Munguia in the fall. Which brings us to this: what then might be next for GGG? Talk to me!