Jaime Munguia is focused on putting on a show for his Tijuana fans against Ballard
Jaime Munguia refuses to allow distractions to hinder his preparation for his upcoming fight against fellow undefeated middleweight D’Mitrius Ballard.
The 12-round fight will be hosted at the iconic Plaza Monumental de Playas de Tijuana in Tijuana, Mexico, Munguia’s hometown, in a DAZN-streamed main event on February 19.
The 25-year-old Munguia (38-0, 30 KOs), a former junior middleweight titleholder currently rated at No.4 by The Ring at middleweight is aware of the recent history surrounding hometown fights.
In back-to-back title defenses in which fighters were defending their belts in their backyard, former 154-pound titlists Jarrett Hurd and Julian Williams suffered upset defeats. Nearly a month after Williams’ stunning knockout loss to Jeison Rosario, Caleb Plant put the “Hometown Curse” to an end when he stopped Vincent Feigenbutz in the second title defense of his previously held IBF super middleweight championship.
Like Munguia, Ballard (21-0-1, 13 KOs), 28, has never suffered a loss and is looking for something to prove, which would be a terrible time for Munguia to lose focus.
But while he concedes there are unavoidable distractions, the onus is on Munguia to keep those diversions out of the picture as much as possible.
“I have a big responsibility to my hometown after fighting far from home for a long time. I’m coming back being a world champion at 154 pounds, have become a figure in the boxing world; it’s a big responsibility, and I know it. I prepare every day to make my hometown proud and have to really concentrate to not let in the distractions from home.”
There is no denying that Munguia wasn’t the most ring-savvy fighter before joining forces with former four-division champion and Hall-of-Famer Erik Morales.
After an alarming performance against Dennis Hogan in August 2019, Munguia knew he had to make some changes. And it was Morales who discovered what the issue was.
“I have always been a defensive fighter, but I would always get stuck. It’s a mental thing,” Munguia admitted. “Erik has taught me to think more, breath, relax, take my time and control the timing of the fight.
“His training has influenced my style by throwing more combinations, making sure I use my jab. Plus, he has a lot of experience in the ring as well and I trust his judgment.”
Since he was a kid, Munguia has often dreamt about fighting at Plaza Monumental de Playas de Tijuana. That will become a reality on February 19.
“I remember going by the Plaza Monumental de Playas De Tijuana when I was a kid and would dream of one day being able to fight there,” he stated. “I went to a fight there featuring Julio Cesar Chavez and Zorrita Soto and it was full of people. It was amazing. On February 19, I am going to be so proud to be there representing Mexico, representing Tijuana.”