Jaime Munguia continues to grow under the tutelage of Hall of Fame legend Erik Morales.
The two joined forces shortly after Munguia’s last fight in his native Mexico, a disputed twelve-round decision win over Dennis Hogan. Five wins have followed, the last four of which have seen Munguia (38-0, 30KOs)—a former WBO junior middleweight titlist—emerge as a top middleweight contender.
That status is put to the test in his next outing, a showdown with fellow unbeaten middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard (21-0-1, 13KOs) this Saturday. The DAZN-aired headliner takes place in Munguia’s hometown of Tijuana, Mexico.
The last fight in his home country saw a 22-year-old Munguia barely escape with his title and unbeaten record intact, admitting that he allowed himself to get caught up in the event in Monterrey, Mexico. He insists those lessons have been learned, both through growth under Morales and the natural maturation that comes with age.
“It’s a big responsibility returning to my hometown after all these years,” Munguia confessed to BoxingScene.com about fighting in his true hometown for the first time in five years. “I’m returning as a (former) world champion.
“I’m aware of the potential distractions. I stay aware of those potential distractions and maintain a high level of concentration and focus on my training.”
Munguia last fought in Tijuana in July 2017, three months shy of his 21st birthday and ten months prior to winning his first major title. A fourth-round knockout of Sadam Ali to win the WBO junior middleweight belt in May 2018 ignited a furious run which saw Munguia cram five title defenses in a 14-month span.
A slight dropoff but still healthy rate of activity has come from his post-pandemic middleweight run, fighting for the fourth time in sixteen months once he enters Plaza Monumental de Playas de Tijuana.
The bout comes just three months after a furiously paced twelve-round points win over Gabriel Rosado last November at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The win proved his mettle and ability to excel over the long haul following four straight knockout wins. It’s that level of growth and discipline he plans to bring home this Saturday.
“I’m getting better with each fight,” insists Munguia. “My defense, my combination, my speed. I keep improving and I keep growing. He will see a much better version of me.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox