Erik Morales knew he wasn't going to reinvent the wheel with the short training camp he had with Jaime Mungia prior to their first fight together.
This time around, however, should prove to be a far more successful union.
The Hall of Fame former four-division titlist will resume his role as head trainer for the unbeaten Munguia (34-0, 27KOs), viewed by many as the heir to his throne in their shared hometown of Tijuana, Mexico. Munguia's next step in that journey will come in his official debut as a full-fledged middleweight, as he faces Ireland's Gary 'Spike O'Sullivan in a DAZN-streamed non-title fight Jan. 11 at The Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
"For me, it's a great honor to be training Jaime Munguia," Morales stated during the official announcement press conference in San Antonio. "He's the new face in boxing and is a very talented fighter."
Their first fight together came this past summer, when Morales entered training camp a little late in the game for Munguia's 4th round knockout of Ghana's Patrick Allotey this past September in Carson, California. The win marked his fifth successful title defense in just 16 months since winning the title last May, with his upcoming showdown versus O'Sullivan (30-3, 21KOs) serving as his ninth fight in less than two years.
On sheer size and power alone, Munguia has done enough to remain unbeaten as a pro, although receiving a scare in a narrow victory over Dennis Hogan in a title defense this past April in Monterrey, Mexico. The shortcomings exposed in that fight prompted his team to enlist the services of Morales, who immediately went to work on his protege and now with the benefit of a full camp plans to help shake loose remaining bad habits.
"He's a novice who has to improve in a lot of areas," Morales said of his 23-year young client. "We have two months to prepare for this tough opponent. We have to fix a lot of tools and a lot to work on before the fight."
While obviously not specifying what needs to improve, the modern day legend doesn't seem concerned about not having a finished product to deliver come fight night.
"I am confident that he will thrill the Mexican fans and become the new face of boxing in Mexico," insists Morales.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox