By Ben Jacobs
Just last month, rising Mexican talent Jaime Munguía (29-0, 25 KOs) dethroned former World Boxing Organization [WBO] champion Sadam Ali with a vicious fourth round stoppage.
The 21-year-old had been touted as a possible opponent for Gennady Golovkin when his rematch with Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez fell through.
That potential match-up was rejected by the Nevada State Athletic Commission but Munguía’s path to success was swift when the Ali bout was signed.
Speaking from his home in Tijuana, Baja California, Jaime conveyed to BoxingScene.com his delight at being a newly crowned world champion and enthused on his forthcoming defence against former WBO holder Liam Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs).
“I feel very happy that I’m a champion and for having this opportunity - and we took advantage of it. I’m motivated to carry on and win more,” he beamed.
“I saw that I was a lot bigger than him (Ali) at the weigh-in despite there being only one pound difference between us. I felt very big next to him. I went out with the mentality to get that knock out from the first bell, I didn’t want a round of studying him or anything like that!
“Thanks to the Golovkin fight being turned down it actually worked in my favour and opened this door to me. A lot of people got to know me over this and I think I showed a little bit of what I’ve got and, I’ll carry on doing that in my next fight.”
That next fight, due to be against Englishman Smith, reportedly in July in California, will see Jaime face an opponent who has already shared a ring with his fellow Mexican Álvarez when he lost his title to the Guadalajara native back in 2016. Munguía, however, is expecting a tough night’s work from the Liverpudlian.
“I saw his fight with ‘Canelo’. I think Ali’s style was more difficult for me because he moves a lot, but Liam Smith stays in front of you and that helps me. He has a bit of a Mexican style in fact, he comes forward and throws punches but also takes some.
“He had some success against ‘Canelo’ but it was mainly when ‘Canelo’ went to the ropes or didn’t move - so I have to be aware of that. I have to get in there, throw punches and get out, I have to avoid backing onto the ropes because that’s when he can be dangerous.
“He’s probably the best fighter I will have fought so far. Sadam Ali is a very good boxer but Liam Smith is a very good toe-to-toe fighter.”