Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Is Munguia Ready For Middleweight World Title Shot?


The Middleweight fight between undefeated former WBO Jr. Middleweight world champion Jaime Munguia, current top rated Middleweight contender and former Middleweight world title challenger Gabriel Rosado was eagerly anticipated from the moment the scheduled November 13th clash was announced. The obvious reason for this is you had two fighters that are known as offensive-minded boxers with one, Munguia, being a noted as a feared “Knockout Artist.”


While it is indeed true that Munguia entered the bout against Rosado having scored knockouts in thirty of his thirty-seven career wins including three straight knockouts since moving up from the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division to the 160lb. Middleweight division, like most fighters who are able to garner a reputation for scoring quick knockouts, he had not been tested in his career and with potential title shots looming, it was logical to wonder if the veteran Rosado would be able to provide that tesy for him.


In Gabriel Rosado, Munguia faced what amounted to the very definition of a seasoned professional fighter. Rosado a veteran of forty-one bouts going into this fight and had earned a reputation for his willingness to fight anyone regardless if the circumstances were such that he stepped into fights on short notice and/or viewed as a significant underdog depending on his opposition. Rosado however, had developed a bit of a career resurgence after aligning with Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach in dropping a disputed split decision to former IBF Middleweight world champion Daniel Jacobs in November of last year and then scoring what many feel is a candidate for Knockout of the Year when he knocked out previously undefeated highly touted prospect Bektemir  Melikuziev in June of this year. A fight where Rosado got up from a knockdown in the first round before knocking Melikuziev out cold with a single counter punch in the third round.


Despite the thrilling nature in which that knockout occurred, Rosado still had a hard luck reputation as well having lost thirteen bouts in his career. While it was understandable that he would again be put in position as an underdog going into this fight, Rosado had shown significant improvement under Roach's guidance and thanks to his performance against Melikuziev, had also shown an ability to end a fight suddenly if given the opportunity.


It was certainly not surprising to see Munguia attempt to establish a quick pace from the outset when the two fighters met at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. The question this observer had however, was one that can be split into two parts. Would Rosado be able to handle fighting at such a high pace and if so, could he potentially find a way to use Munguia’s aggression against him?


One aspect of Rosado's approach that I noticed early on that I felt worked well for him was the periodic use of his jab and what appeared to be a strategy based on trying to land offense to Munguia’s body. While at not point at least in the first half of the fight did Rosado come close to matching Munguia's output, I did feel the strategic approach as well as setting up counter punch opportunities would show more success as the fight progressed.


Furthermore, I felt that if Rosado could land offense to Munguia’s body more than occasionally, Munguia’s pace would decline in the middle and later rounds. Rosado was able to execute some effective counter shots particularly in being able to snap Munguia’s head back with his right hand periodically throughout the twelve round bout, but as the fight progressed, he gradually got away from both using his jab and did not attempt to go to the body with consistency throughout. This allowed Munguia to maintain control of the combat in what was an exciting fight albeit lopsided victory for Munguia on the scorecards in earning a convincing twelve round unanimous decision to move his record to 38-0, with 30 Knockouts.


While at the end of the day, Munguia simply did what he needed to do in scoring a victory, he was also put to the test by Rosado who gave him a hard fight for all twelve rounds. Although Rosado simply did not throw often enough and was not able to score knockdowns throughout the fight, which could have made a difference in the scoring of the fight, he did succeed in testing Munguia’s chin and Munguia did pass this test. The question now becomes is Munguia ready to challenge for a world championship in 2022?


This observer believes that Munguia is ready and could be a likely opponent for the winner of upcoming world championship bouts including undefeated WBO world champion Demetrius Andrade, who will defend his title on November 19th against top contender Jason Quigley seeing as he is currently the WBO number one contender, or a potential opponent for the winner of the December 29th unification bout between IBF/IBO world champion Gennady Golovkin and WBA world champion Ryota Murata. Obviously, there is at least speculation at this point that if Golovkin is successful in that bout against Murata that a possible third bout between he and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez is on the table, which would see Golovkin move up eight pounds to the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division to challenge the recently crowned undisputed world champion Alvarez for the crown. Based on this, I believe the more logical scenario for Munguia at this point would be to wait for the Andrade-Quigley winner to emerge and seek an opportunity against that winner.  From a business perspective, a fight between the Andrade-Quigley winner and Munguia seems like it would be straightforward to make seeing as both Andrade’s promoter Eddie Hearn, and Munguia’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya have not only regularly worked together to co-promote fights as they will be with Andrade-Quigley, but also both are aligned with global digital subscription sports streaming network DAZN, which would likely welcome what would be another marquee attraction for their network. One must also keep in mind that Andrade has been clamoring for a marquee opponent and if he should retain his championship over Quigley, would likely welcome the opportunity to fight someone of Munguia’s caliber and growing popularity in the sport.


For now, it is simply a process of waiting for Jaime Munguia. Boxing fans can only hope that as the world continues to deal with the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic that more marquee fights that will have significant interest will be in the works for 2022. One such bout would be Munguia challenging the Andrade-Quigley winner.


“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”


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