Monday, March 27, 2023  |


Jaime Munguia: After I top Liam Smith people will mention me with likes of Canelo, GGG

Photo by Matt Heasley/ Hogan Photos/ GBP

LOS ANGELES — Jaime Munguia considers himself a natural middleweight, and he was in line for a title shot at 160 pounds just a few months ago.

Before Gennady Golovin eventually signed to fight Vanes Martirosyan on May 5, Munguia was offered the fight. Only one problem: the Nevada State Athletic Commission refused to sanction the bout for fear the Mexican wasn’t ready for such an assignment.

After all, Munguia had never faced even decent competition, despite his impressive amateur resume. Munguia ended up earning a title shot at 154 pounds when Liam Smith pulled out of his fight against Sadam Ali with illness, and the rest is history.

Munguia (29-0, 25 knockouts) blasted out Ali in just rounds to win a junior middleweight title, and on July 21 in Las Vegas, he’ll headline on HBO again when he makes his first defense against Smith. After Smith is out of the way, Munguia isn’t ruling out a return to middleweight.

“I feel very motivated now that I am a world champion,” said Munguia, The Ring’s No. 4 fighter at 154 pounds, before a media workout Wednesday at Westside Boxing Gym. “Everyone is going to talk about to me after this fight. This will open up more opportunities, and people will mention my name with the likes of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.”

For Munguia to eventually land a shot against one of those stars, he’ll need to keep the momentum going with a knockout of Smith, who himself was already stopped by Alvarez in 2016.

Munguia, 21, was mighty impressive with the beating he laid on Ali in May. The Brooklynite was the smaller man, but many insiders believed his speed and movement would trouble the much slower Munguia. It didn’t. And now, Munguia will have a man in front of him who will be right there to be hit.

“The potential fight against Gennady Golovkin really got my name out there,” he said. “It allowed me to get the opportunity to fight for a world title. I’m grateful for that. I’m also grateful that the NSAC didn’t allow me to fight against Golovkin because it led to this world title.”