Jaime Munguia quickly climbed up the pecking order for the pool of opponents Canelo Alvarez could consider as a viable next opponent largely due to his demolition job of common foe John Ryder.

Although Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) dropped, bloodied, and battered Ryder last May, he failed to stop him during a dominant unanimous decision win in what was considered a hometown tuneup at the time in Mexico. 

Munguia (43-0, 34 KOs), meanwhile, steamrolled through Ryder in January, dropping him four times en route to a ninth-round stoppage.

Munguia’s punishing performance – paired along with his vulnerabilities, commercial apparel, and him showcasing a modicum of respect toward Alvarez that David Benavidez hasn’t – was enough for Alvarez to give his fellow countryman a shot at his undisputed super middleweight crown on May 4.

After saying that he was not interested in fighting a fellow Mexican – Benavidez is of Mexican descent – Alvarez will now move forward with an all-Mexico matchup for the first time since facing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2017.

“It might divide Mexico, but in the end it will unite Mexico because they will be watching the fight,” Munguia told BoxingScene. “I have admiration and respect toward Canelo. We're going to have a great fight. This was not given. This was earned with respect and a lot of work. That's something other fighters have not done.” 

Alvarez himself hinted that Munguia’s praise and adulation along with his resume played a determining factor in getting him interested in the fight. 

“Jaime Munguia is a respectful person and a great fighter who’s earned this fight again and again,” Alvarez said during the kickoff press conference last month. “Munguia is a disciplined fighter who hits hard. He’s a power puncher and I like a challenge. I want to face fighters who are hungry like I am. He’s a fighter who can give the fans the show they deserve.”

The 27-year-old Munguia certainly has taken a more mild-mannered position pursuing Alvarez than Benavidez has. 

Benavidez has proclaimed that he refuses to “bow his knee” to the “scared” Alvarez because he’s earned his shot as the No. 1 contender. Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) even quipped that Alvarez should buy a pair of nuts with the $150 million-plus payday he’s seeking to slug it out with him. 

Benavidez’s father and trainer Jose Sr. joked that he’d approach Alvarez with flowers the next time negotiations begin. He also added a serious bargaining chip admitting they’d be open to a rehydration clause in order to quell Alvarez’s concerns that David would be upward of 25 pounds heavier come fight night.

Munguia certainly won’t be bowing before the throne or kissing the ring of Alvarez once the opening bell rings.

But he’s also not upsetting Alvarez with braggadocio and brash banter as he tries to take the crown away from boxing’s king. 

“Canelo has always been a source of pride and motivation for me,” said Munguia. “I used to say when I was coming up in the sport that I want to be like him, and now we get a chance to face him and hopefully be where he is soon.

“The respect between us is mutual. We want to be a source of pride not just for Mexicans in Mexico, but those all around the world who are expecting a great fight.

“Without a doubt I'm going to push him. I give you my word that I am going to do my best for him to fight with me.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com, or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.