Jaime Munguia is weighing his options.
The former WBO junior middleweight champion has been presented with two championship choices for his next fight. The Tijuana native can either fight for the WBO interim middleweight title against Janibek Alimkhanuly or challenge unbeaten WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.
The deadline for Golden Boy Promotions and Zanfer Boxing, Munguia’s co-promoters, to voluntarily reach a deal with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., Alimkhanuly’s promoter, was Friday. The WBO therefore is expected to call a purse bid for the number one-ranked Munguia to fight Alimkhanuly, a southpaw from Kazakhstan who is ranked second by the WBO, for the unclaimed championship Demetrius Andrade vacated late last year.
DAZN, which is partnered with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy, or ESPN, which has an exclusive output deal with Top Rank, would stream or televise Munguia-Alimkhanuly if Golden Boy or Top Rank were to win a purse bid. Showtime would televise Charlo-Munguia live on that premium cable channel through its content partnership with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, which has extended an offer to Munguia’s handlers for a fight that would take place in June or July.
The 25-year-old Munguia (39-0, 31 KOs) is also the WBC’s number one contender for Charlo’s championship, but he is not that sanctioning organization’s mandatory challenger in the 160-pound division. To become Charlo’s mandatory challenger, Munguia would need to defeat Dominican contender Carlos Adames (21-1, 16 KOs), who is ranked second by the WBC.
Nevertheless, Houston’s Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) hopes to meet Munguia in what would be a voluntary title defense now that Canelo Alvarez has chosen to fight Dmitry Bivol next. Charlo, 31, hasn’t fought since his tougher-than-expected, 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat of Mexico’s Juan Macias Montiel (23-5-2, 23 KOs) last June 19 at Toyota Center in Houston.
If Munguia opts to battle the 28-year-old Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs) and wins, he could be forced to fight Andrade in his subsequent bout or risk losing the WBO interim championship. Andrade, 34, has the option of returning to the 160-pound division as part of an agreement he made with the WBO last month.
Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs), who held the WBO 160-pound championship for more than three years, will encounter England’s Zach Parker (22-0, 16 KOs) for the WBO’s interim super middleweight championship in his next fight. The southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island, views that bout as his potential path to the lucrative fight he most wants – a shot at Mexico’s Alvarez, boxing’s undisputed super middleweight champion and cash cow.
Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) has returned to the light heavyweight division for his next fight – a shot at Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs), the WBA 175-pound champion, on May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. If Andrade were to beat Parker on May 21 at an undetermined venue in England, he would have 10 days from the night of their fight to decide whether to remain a super middleweight or move back down to fight the Alimkhanuly-Munguia winner to determine the true WBO middleweight champion.
Theoretically, the WBO could eventually order Alvarez to defend his WBO super middleweight title against Andrade if Andrade defeats Parker and stays in the 168-pound division. Alvarez has made it very publicly clear, however, that he has little interest in facing Andrade.
The WBO also noted as part of its agreement with Andrade and Parker, that sanctioning organization’s longtime number one contender in the 168-pound division, that the winner of their bout could be required to face an IBF, WBA or WBC interim champion or mandatory challenger in his subsequent bout.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.