Monday, January 29, 2024

Did Munguia Do Enough To Get Alvarez' Attention?

In the present day in the 168lb. Super-Middleweight division, every fight outside of those that are contested for a world championship, which in present context is the Undisputed Super-Middleweight championship of the world, held by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, is essentially an audition for potential challengers to show why they should be the next challenger for Alvarez. When one also factors into the equation that Alvarez is also one of the biggest draws in the sport of Boxing, there is also plenty of financial incentive in addition to the chance to fight for an undisputed championship.

One such audition took place on January 27th when undefeated former WBO Jr. Middleweight world champion Jaime Munguia squared off with former two-time world title challenger and recent Alvarez opponent John Ryder in Phoenix, AZ. The story of this fight in the lead up was simple. One fighter was seeking an opportunity for what would be the biggest fight of his career due to the aforementioned elements, the other was seeking a potential second opportunity after putting forth a “Game” and determined effort against the champion. For Munguia, this fight also represented his first working with former contender of yesteryear and Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.

Whether it can be attributed to Roach now being in Muguia’s corner, Munguia began this fight coming forward and putting pressure on Ryder. A reversal from his last bout against former world title challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko where it was Derevyanchenko pressuring Muguia and pushing him back, this time it was Munguia, who was pushing his opponent back. What followed over nine rounds was a physical dissection where Munguia simply broke Ryder down.

Munguia did this largely by changing levels and finding a home for his right hand. It was the right hand that led to knockdowns in rounds two and four. While it appeared after the second knockdown that Munguia simply had too much punching power and hand speed for Ryder, to good credit Ryder did try to slow the ebb and flow of the combat, and did have some periodic success in landing his own right hand and hooks in the middle rounds. 

The story of the fight however, did not change, in that as “Game" as Ryder was and has been throughout her entire career, he simply could not find an answer to avoid the right hand of Munguia and the consistent attack to the head and body ultimately resulted in Munguia knocking him down for a third time with a flush overhand right in round nine. Although Ryder got up, it would not be long before he would be sent down for the fourth time as a result of a hook to the body. 

Ryder staggered to his feet, but his corner chose to throw the towel in to save him from further punishment, ending the fight and making Munguia the second fighter to stop Ryder in his career. Inevitably, there will now be comparisons to Alvarez, who scored a lopsided unanimous decision over Ryder in May of last year.

The one thing that Munguia can say is he did stop Ryder inside the distance and did so in impressive fashion. Whether or not that will result in him being among the next in line for Alvarez, who likely has a mandatory defense in his future of one of the championships that comprises the Undisputed Super-Middleweight championship, at minimum, this performance should be something to get Alvarez’ attention and a potential encounter between the two may be sooner than later providing that Alvarez is able to retain his crown in the meantime and Munguia is able to not only maintain his current position, but continue to move up the ladder towards that showdown.

“And That's The Boxing Truth.

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