Sunday, July 22, 2018

Munguia Scores Unanimous Decision Over Smith To Retain WBO Jr. Middleweight World Championship

Undefeated WBO Jr. Middleweight world champion Jaime Munguia scored a hard-fought twelve round unanimous decision over former WBO Jr. Middleweight world champion and number one WBO Jr. Middleweight contender Liam Smith on Saturday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.  The twenty-one year old Munguia, who was making the first defense of his world championship following winning the crown in May of this year with a fourth round stoppage of then champion Sadam Ali faced a stern test in the form of former world champion Liam Smith.

Although Munguia had scored knockouts in twenty-five of his previous twenty-nine professional fights and had registered a career knockout percentage of over 80%, it was Smith who immediately took the fight to the new champion and seemed to get the better of the action during the first three rounds consistently beating Munguia to the punch, landing combinations, and had particular success in landing his right hand.  As the fight progressed however, Munguia’s bigger size and harder punches began to have an impact on the combat.

Munguia consistently applied pressure on the challenger landing thudding blows to the body and head. The champion scored a knockdown of Smith in round six with a left hook to the head. Even though he was at a disadvantage in terms of punching power, Smith remained more than willing to engage with Munguia and was able to continue having periodic periods of effectiveness throughout. The former world champion however, was unable to land a significant punch to turn the momentum back in his favor. Jaime Munguia would go on to retain his world championship after twelve rounds with a convincing unanimous decision. Official scores were 119-108, 119-110, and 116-111.

Unofficially, I scored this fight 116-111 for Jaime Munguia. Although the scorecards of two of the three official judges would give the impression of a lopsided fight in Munguia’s favor, this was a competitive fight that I saw Munguia winning eight of the twelve rounds with a slightly wider margin due to the knockdown of Smith in round six.

Jaime Munguia advances to 30-0, with 25 Knockouts. Liam Smith falls to 26-2-1, with 14 Knockouts.
Also on this card, undefeated Jr. Lightweight contender Alberto Machado scored a twelve round unanimous decision over previous undefeated contender Rafael Mensah. Machado, who currently holds interim/regular champion status in the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) Jr. Lightweight ratings put on a masterful display of Boxing over twelve rounds. Machado dictated the combat from the opening bell by controlling distance, mixing his attack to the body and head of Mensah, frequently throwing and landing combinations, and simply out Boxing the very “Game” Mensah. Machado scored a knockdown of Mensash in the first round when while exchanging hooks, it was Machado’s right hook to the head that sent Mensah back and down along the ropes.  At the end of the twelve round bout all three judges turned in scores of 120-107, scoring all twelve rounds for Machado giving him the unanimous decision victory.

Alberto Machado advances to 20-0, with 16 Knockouts. Rafael Mensah falls to 31-1, with 23 Knockouts.

In the Middleweight division, undefeated rising prospect Yamaguchi Falcao scored a ten round unanimous decision over veteran Elias Espadas.  Falcao scored a knockdown of Espadas in the second round in route to the decision victory. Official scores were 95-93, and 96-92 (On two scorecards) in favor of Falcao. Yamaguchi Falcao advances to 16-0, with 7 Knockouts. Elias Espadas falls to 17-4, with 12 Knockouts.

In the Welterweight division, undefeated prospect Blair Cobbs scored a second round stoppage of Emmanuel Valadez. Cobbs was very aggressive and used his natural size advantage to dictate the combat. Cobbs scored a knockdown of Valadez in round two with a right hand that appeared to land on the top of the head. Although Valadez was able to get up from the knockdown and was very “Game” in trying to fight back, he found himself quickly cornered by Cobbs and the bout was stopped by Referee Jay Nady. Official time of the stoppage was 1:52 of round two.

Blair Cobbs advances to 9-0-1, with 6 Knockouts. Emmanuel Valadez falls to 5-5, with 4 Knockouts.

In the Jr. Featherweight division, undefeated rising prospect Carlos Carballo scored his eighth straight stoppage in eight professional fights as he scored a fifth round stoppage of veteran Jesus Martinez. Carballo consistently forced the action throughout bringing the fight to Martinez. The fight was stopped after round five by Martinez’ corner in what was a fairly lopsided bout.

Carlos Carballo advances to 8-0, with 8 Knockouts. Jesus Martinez falls to 24-4, with 12 Knockouts.

This card was highlighted by two rising stars in Jaime Munguia and Alberto Machado. As for what the future holds for both fighters, there are some interesting possibilities for both men. For Munguia, a question of how long he will continue to compete in the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division is a valid one due to both the potential of more lucrative opportunities in the 160lb. Middleweight division as well as the fact that after making weight on Friday for his title defense against Liam Smith, he re-hydrated up to 176lbs. one pound over the Light-Heavyweight limit of 175lbs. before entering the ring to defend his championship. A possible indication that Munguia might be approaching a point where he is outgrowing the Jr. Middleweight division, despite still being able to make the weight limit when required.

With his first title defense now officially behind him and having defeated the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) current mandatory challenger in the Jr. Middleweight division, it would not surprise this observer to see Munguia potentially testing the waters by moving up six pounds to the Middleweight division for his next fight.  For Alberto Machado, an obvious possibility that might be available to him could be to face undefeated WBA Jr. Lightweight world champion Gervonta Davis or possibly looking to face the winner of the upcoming battle for the vacant International Boxing Federation (IBF) Jr. Lightweight world championship between former world champion Billy Dib and Tevin Farmer, which will take place on August 3rd in Australia.

Boxing and by extension all Combat Sports is constantly searching for new stars. It remains to be seen whether Jaime Munguia and Alberto Machado will eventually garner superstar status in the sport. Both fighters however, have succeeded in generating buzz and interest in both boxers will only continue to increase as each look to progress in their respective careers.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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