By Steve Kim
As Liam Smith called in sick to face WBO junior middleweight titlist, Sadam Ali, Golden Boy Promotions was left scrambling to find a replacement on late notice.
And it was undefeated Mexican contender Jaime Munguia (28-0, 24 KO's) who got the call to face Ali this Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York as the main event on HBO.
While Munguia is relatively unknown, he might be a more dangerous threat than Smith.
Munguia was initially being scouted by the team behind middleweight king Gennady Golovkin - who was searching frantically for a new opponent when Canelo Alvarez fell out. Canelo was eventually replaced by Vanes Martirosyan, who Golovkin knocked out in two rounds last Saturday night at StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Munguia was going to appear on the Golovkin vs. Martirosyan undercard - but then he was hit with a stroke of luck, when the offer came in to challenge Ali for a world title in an HBO televised main event.
"In my opinion, they picked the wrong opponent, they picked the wrong guy whoever made that decision to give Jaime Munguia this opportunity, 100-percent. In my opinion that person is wrong - they made a mistake," said Munguia's trainer, Robert Alcazar, to BoxingScene.com.
Alcazar is best known for his work with Oscar De La Hoya many years ago. And De La Hoya's company promotes Ali.
Conventional wisdom says that Munguia will be out-boxed and out-manuevered early on by Ali, who in his last bout upset Miguel Cotto in his final professional bout.
Alcazar says - "that's the style Sadam Ali practices, that's my priority: to make sure that Jaime Munguia matches the footwork. That way he'll be able to cut off the ring. That way he'll be able to catch him."
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.