By Tré Berry III🖊️
Saturday marked the inaugural match for 🇲🇽Jaime Munguia (35-0-0, 28KO👊) in the Middleweight division, who took on well respected Irish contender 🇮🇪Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (30-4-0, 21KO👊) whom he battled with through the rounds and would take out by stoppage victory in the 11th to the delight of his fans in attendance at the Alamo-Dome in San Antonio, Texas.
FIRST THINGS FIRST – The growing notion over the last 2 years upon looking at Munguia and his physique while he was a WBO Super-Welterweight Titlist was that he is naturally built to be a Middleweight. His struggles with that transitioned over to the scales as he had difficulty making weight. Though he always hit his marker, his team felt like his efforts were drained due to him having to hit the saunas and do extensive workouts just to fit into that ⚖️154 lb. limit, and that it seeped in and hindered his performances in the ring, regardless of him racking up the wins. Viewing him in this fight at 160, he did seem much more comfortable and at ease, with a bit extra in the gas tank as he went to battle with the always aggressive, confident O’Sullivan.
SOME IMPROVEMENT? – Immediately at the start of the fight, I saw more head and upper body movement than I had seen from Munguia since the days of him bursting on the scene by dominating 🇺🇸Sadam Ali in 2018. Apparently, him getting some extensive time in with current Head-Trainer Erik Morales has made him a much more seasoned fighter at the age of 23 – still tapping into unexplored talents and honing them into useful skills. Munguia’s defense was a little bit tighter also, making O’Sullivan a little gunshy to fire away. Munguia’s hands were much faster than O’Sullivan’s (who is 35 years of age, and never possessed much hand speed to begin with), and it showed with Munguia firing off impressive variations of combinations to the head and body, while O’Sullivan was reduced to throwing 1-2 shots after Munguia had committed to his work.
Spike O’Sullivan started to work himself in the fight after landing a good right cross over the top at the end of the second round, energizing him to get his hands moving. The 3rd stanza was a fun one, with each fighter having their moments, O’Sullivan stringing punches together in the middle of the round, while Munguia came on strong late with combinations of angry intent, but right at the bell, O’Sullivan hit Munguia with a picture-perfect shot to the tip of the chin to culminate the round, which prompted 🗣️Oscar De La Hoya (his Promoter) and 🗣️Bernard Hopkins (Business Partner) to jump out of their seat in a fit of angst, worried that their fighter may have been in trouble off of that money shot. O’Sullivan has proven to be a banger over the years, so if anyone ever had questions about what kind of shot Munguia could take, that should present to you a defined answer, as that was a shot that would’ve put many other fighters down, or even out.
Referee Mark Calo-oy had a poor outing in his position as he would stop and warn Munguia a few times for shots that did not stray low, which played a pivotal role in him giving Jaime a 1 point deduction in the 5th round from a legitimate low blow landed, nor was he aware of Munguia’s mouthpiece popping out in the 5th round, but fortunately for the fighters, his performance didn’t get in the way of their personal efforts. The fight was about as entertaining as it was expected to be, as the middle rounds continued with both boxers trying to establish their ring generalship through their aggression. If there’s any demerit that I’d give Munguia in the fight, is that after the first few rounds, he got away from the jab, but he got back to it in the 7th and administered a heavy dose of them, with O’Sullivan really having no answers to thwart it or pick it off. Munguia hurt Gary with a left hook, and they exchanged power punches to the bell.
Down the stretch, Munguia picked it up, and started to land more of his right hands, hurting spike a couple additional times. The 11th round, Munguia’s power finally hit home the way he wanted it to, along with his youth, as he clipped a fading O’Sullivan with a short left hook upstairs to wobble him. While hurt, Spike tried to trade with Munguia, but Munguia’s punches got there a lot faster, and he never let up from firing combinations that landed effectively and knocked O’Sullivan around the ring before his corner threw in the white towel as O’Sullivan was crumbling down to the canvas. Just like that, this one was in the books, and it was a “W” for the young Mexican action star.
📝A GRADE FOR MUNGUIA – With his efforts Saturday night, I would grade it a “B” factoring in the additional head movement, sharper coordination and good maturity exhibited on his part. The negative to take out of his performance was the lack of concentration and consistency to keep the good points that he established early going throughout the entire fight, but it’s new to him, plus he is still a work in progress. Overall, it was a solid, improved effort that he can feel good about as he continues his education inside of the ring.
POTENTIAL MAJOR PLANS FOR THE YOUNG FIGHTER – Jaime Munguia post-fight expressed his interest in targeting the big wigs of the Middleweight division, namely ♛🇲🇽Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, 🥈🇰🇿Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin, and 🇺🇸Jermall “Hitman” Charlo, each holding variations of World Title belts while by proxy Canelo is thee Middleweight Champion of the World. While Munguia has improved, he is not ready to make that 📈seismic leap into that stratosphere of competition with aspirations of winning. With that being stated, Munguia’s personality and efforts, along with Golden Boy’s backing, has generated some real popularity with Munguia and his Mexican fans, and with that level of intrigue, Golden Boy could use that to present their meal-ticket Canelo another option, as it could be sold (and sold very well) as a Mexican showdown for their fans. Logically it would make sense at this juncture if Munguia were to target someone like 🥇🇯🇵Ryota Murata , but that is a risky proposition when you start to look at the 💵business portion of the equation. When there’s big money to be had, and a fighters popularity peaking, Promoters like to strike while the iron is hot, which means that we may see Munguia in the ring with 1 of those 3 mentioned sooner rather than later.