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Jaime Munguia says he’s ready for middleweight elites – even Canelo Alvarez

27
Oct

Jaime Munguia is ready to face the elite fighters at 160 pounds, including countryman Canelo Alvarez. 

Before either takes place, Munguia will have to take care of business against his first legit opponent at 160 pounds.

The unbeaten middleweight contender will face Tureano Johnson Friday night at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. The 12-round bout will stream live on DAZN (8 p.m. ET/ 5 p.m. PT).

Munguia (35-0, 28 knockouts), who resides in Tijuana, Mexico, last fought on January 11, battering fringe junior middleweight contender Gary O’Sullivan before ending matters in round 11. It was Munguia’s first fight at 160 pounds after successfully defending his WBO junior middleweight title for the final time with a knockout win over Ghana’s Patrick Allotey on September 14 of last year.

Johnson, who has fought at 160 pounds for most of his pro career, will be a significant step-up in opposition for Munguia. The 36-year-old stopped previously unbeaten Jason Quigley in his last bout on July 18 of last year. In his previous fight five months before the Quigley fight, Johnson fought to a split-decision draw against Mexico’s Fernando Castaneda.

Munguia understands what he is expecting from the boxer-puncher Johnson, but is confident he is up to the challenge.

“He’s a fighter with a lot of experience,” Munguia told The Ring in a phone interview last week. “He’s a great fighter. He is going to want to stand in the middle of the ring and trade with me. He is a very strong fighter and a significant challenge for me.”

The 24-year-old Munguia is now under the guidance of Erik Morales, a former world champion who also resides in Tijuana. Morales has worked the corner of Munguia over the last couple of fights.

Munguia believes Morales has not only improved his skill-set as a fighter to compliment his punching power, but has also sharpened his mental approach to the sport.

“It’s really an honor to be working with him as my trainer,” said Munguia, who is co-promoted by Golden Boy and Zanfer Promotions. “It’s been a benefit for me. I’ve learned a lot from him and he works with me to improve my ability in the ring. We work in the gym. I also think he gets me ready psychologically before every training session and before a fight.”

Munguia hopes a victory over Johnson will lead to a significant fight against an elite middleweight in 2021. Another fight he is hoping to land would be one against Ring Magazine champion Canelo Alvarez.

A fight between the two could be easy to make as both fight under the Golden Boy Promotions banner, but Alvarez will not be fighting anytime soon as he has filed a lawsuit against promoter Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy, and DAZN for breach of contract.

Munguia still holds out hope for a fight against Alvarez, if and when the lawsuit gets resolved.

“Canelo is a great fighter and he’s one of the best fighters in the world,” said Munguia, who made his pro debut at the age of 16. “It would be an honor to fight him. I think it would a great fight between the both of us, if that fight gets made.”

Munguia is grateful for the support from a growing fanbase in Mexico and abroad. The adulation humbles Munguia as he enjoys fans who recognize him on the streets of Tijuana and asks for a selfie. 

Although he is not ranked in the Ring Magazine top 10, Munguia believes Johnson is one of the best fighters in the division.

“Johnson is a tough fight for me, but one that I’m ready for. A victory over him would open several doors and opportunities for me.”

“I believe 2021 will be a big year for me where I can fight for a world title.”

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing