By Keith Idec
Jaime Munguia would love nothing more than to challenge Canelo Alvarez in the near future.
Liam Smith would advise against the ambitious Munguia embracing a showdown with his fellow Mexican. Smith’s two losses have come against Munguia and Alvarez, which makes him more qualified than any fighter to assess an Alvarez-Munguia match.
The former WBO junior middleweight champion considers Alvarez a bigger puncher and a more complete fighter than the 21-year-old Munguia.
“I don’t wanna disrespect him a little bit, but he’s not ready for Canelo or anyone like that,” Smith told FightHub TV following his unanimous-decision defeat to Munguia on Saturday night in Las Vegas. “Not a chance.”
The 28-year-old Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) knocked out England’s Smith with a body shot in the ninth round of their September 2016 fight in Arlington, Texas. Smith lost the WBO 154-pound championship to Alvarez in that fight at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium.
Munguia (30-0, 25 KOs) knocked down Smith (26-2-1, 14 KOs) in the sixth round Saturday night, but couldn’t knock out the gritty challenger from Liverpool.
“He hits fairly hard,” Smith said, “but again, he doesn’t hit as hard as Canelo. No.”
Tijuana’s Munguia made the first defense of the WBO junior middleweight title he won by destroying Sadam Ali two months ago. The bigger, stronger, younger Munguia overwhelmed Ali (26-2, 14 KOs), dropped him four times and won by fourth-round technical knockout May 12 at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.
Munguia had a tougher time with Smith, yet still won by big margins on all three scorecards in the main event of an HBO doubleheader from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino (119-108, 119-110, 116-111).
“I thought it was a good fight until kind of – the knockdown,” Smith said. “Regardless, we ain’t getting a decision no matter what I done today, by the looks of it. I think two judges gave me one round. You know, I’m sure you know I won more than one round in that fight. But, you know, all in all it was a good fight. He’s a good fighter in parts. He’s a naïve fighter in other parts.”
The 29-year-old Smith exploited some of Munguia’s defensive flaws, but he couldn’t hurt the young champion.
“I knew he was gonna come like that,” Smith said. “He was very clumsy in parts, where I think – I don’t wanna downgrade him. Today he’s won and he did win, regardless of the scorecards.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.