Erik Morales always saw greatness in Jaime Munguia, enough to where the plan was never to reinvent the unbeaten 154-pound titlist but rather to ensure he becomes the next greater boxer out of Tijuana, Mexico.
The Hall of Fame former four-division titlist has taken over the training reins for Munguia ahead of what is likely the final defense of his super welterweight title as he faces Ghana’s Patrick Allotey. The bout headlines a Mexican Independence Day-themed show this Saturday live on DAZN from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., as Munguia is viewed by promoter Golden Boy Promotions as the heir apparent to Mexico’s—and its own—biggest star, World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
The goal is simply to make sure Munguia is placed on the proper path.
“Jaime is a young fighter. with a lot of desire to show that he can become a great fighter,” Morales told BoxingScene.com. “He reminds me of the desire that I had when I was fighting.
“We've been working together for the past three months and have already made huge strides.”
The pairing marked the first time the two intimately spoke with another. Their interaction prior to that point was often limited to cordial exchanges in passing during Munguia’s rise through the ranks.
Following his close scare versus Dennis Hogan in April, Munguia (33-0, 26KOs)—whom many viewed as fortunate to have won the bout—acknowledged that a change was needed to preserve his title reign and career.
Saturday will mark the fifth defense of the title he claimed in a one-sided knockout of Sadam Ali last May. It will almost certainly be his last—win or lose—as the growing slugger plans to next campaign at middleweight. The changes made in his corner, he believes, will reap long-term benefits.
“My goal for September 14 is to show how much I've developed under Erik Morales' guidance. I want to show how much I've grown.”
New and improved, not re-innveted. Tijuana doesn’t need the next Erik Morales, but will gladly celebrate the first Jaime Munguia.
“We're not here to change who he is, but to make him even better,” notes Morales.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox