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The Munguia Protection Program Continues This Saturday

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You know a boxing publicist is hard at work when you start seeing slanted, narrative-establishing interviews with a certain fighter pop up with quotes from said interview then sprinkled out to the idea-starved boxing media like chum to sharks.

Late this week, the narrative being repainted is regarding Jaime Munguia.

Read the press leading up to his upcoming bout with Argentine fall guy Gonzalo Gaston Coria and you’d get the idea that the 26-year-old Mexican is hobbled by intense hunger pangs for the scared opposition he’d rather be devouring. But poor Jaime is being patient. He’s fighting second and third-tier opposition, learning and developing along the way, until the top dogs are forced to face him. The kid’s patience is almost saintly.

But, of course, anybody really following the Jaime Munguia story (or willing to be honest about it) knows the truth.

The kid burst upon the world stage in 2018, when he captured the WBO junior middleweight title as a late replacement against defending titlist Sadam Ali. Munguia would drop the undersized Ali four times en route to a fourth-round stoppage. Everyone instantly fell in love with the big Mexican kid who came out of nowhere (once rejected as a Gennadiy Golovkin opponent by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for being too green) to become world champ.

Then, reality set in. His first defense, against, Liam Smith, was significantly tougher than anyone anticipated. His people would subsequently reel back the level of his opposition to allow for the kid to grow and develop. There was no rush to put him in against the elite just yet.

However, as Munguia’s profile rose, so did his rankings. The Tijuana native is currently no. 1 middleweight contender in both the WBC and WBA, as well as no. 3 contender in the WBA and IBF. Title opportunities have been placed at his feet, repeatedly, and his team has opted to pass them by. At various points in the recent past, he was offered shots at then-WBO champ Demetriuos Andrade, new WBO champ Janibek Alimkhanuly, and a chance at the vacant interim WBC title against Carlos Adame. There was also a Jermall Charlo/WBC title offer on the table that fell apart pretty quickly.

In short, Munguia’s had his opportunities…and you just don’t get to cry about wanting the really big fights if you’ve already passed on many of them.

But this new narrative is being woven and, of course, boxing media will dutifully comply.

In this latest fight week hype, Munguia is proclaiming his desire to fight Gennadiy Golovkin and his acceptance of the unheralded Coria, who was stopped in two rounds by Janibek Alimkhanuly in 2020 and beaten via one-sided decision last year by Fiodor Czerkaszyn, as a necessary fill-in foe.

“Yes, I think so,” Munguia told DAZN (the broadcast outlet for the bout), regarding his desire to fight Golovkin. “Without a doubt the last fight he had with Canelo, Triple-G made it clear that he is still a great fighter, that he is still strong, that he is still valid. He gave a great fight with Canelo, and I think he and I could have a great fight.

“Besides, he is the champion, one of the champions at 160 pounds, and if it’s with him I would like to fight for the world championship.”

Then, he addressed the “challenge” of Coria.

“I always prepare in the best way,” Munguia said. “[Coria] is a lot of risk and little to gain. Obviously I’m not belittling this fighter and I’m never going to belittle anyone, I always prepare in the best way. The truth is that this [fight] was not foreseen. We had planned to fight John Ryder, who had just beaten Jacobs, in what I think was a great fight. But for one reason or another it didn’t happen.

“We’re going to try to make the best of this fight, keep learning, keep working for when the expected fight comes.”

Yeah, okay.

Munguia is an affable, likable kid with a fan-friendly style. It’s easy to see why some fans and media would be fine with cutting him some slack. But reality is reality. And, despite the constant waves of spin to the contrary, Team Munguia simply doesn’t think their guy is ready for a big step up yet.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com