Saul Canelo Alvarez (51-1-2, 35 KOs) surprised a lot of boxing fans recently when he said he has no interest in fighting other Mexican fighters during his career. This might have come to a shock to Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De La Hoya, who is interested in matching Canelo against WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (32-0, 26 KOs) in the near future after the unbeaten 154 lb champion moves up in weight in a year or two.
De La Hoya promotes both fighters, and they can make good money in an eventual fight against each other. For Canelo, 28, to close off all possibilities of a fight with the young 22-year-old Munguia, he would be throwing away a lot of money. That’s money that not only Canelo wouldn’t be getting, but also Munguia, DAZN and Golden Boy Promotions. As long as Munguia keeps winning and looking good in his fights before then, there would be a great deal of money to be made in a Canelo-Munguia fight.
“That fight [Canelo vs. Munguia] is very possible. The fact that Munguía is young, he is growing, learning, he is champion of 154 pounds, he is loved by many, he has millions of fans in Mexico, he has a great style, a warrior, a fighter, and that’s a natural fight,” De la Hoya said to ESPN’s Los Golpes.
WBA/WBC middleweight champion Canelo made the remark about not wanting to fight Mexican fighters while hyping his May 4 unification fight against IBF middleweight champion Danny Jacobs (35-2, 29 KOs) at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight will be shown on DAZN.
De La Hoya wants the 22-year-old Munguia to continue to progress as a fighter before he faces Canelo. Right now, the two are at different levels from one another, and it’s not a realistic match to be made. De La Hoya says, “Munguia has to reach that level” of where Canelo is at before they can make the fight. The way that Munguia looked in his recent fight against Takeshi Inoue in having a hard time beating him by a 12 round unanimous decision last January, it’s questionable whether he’s going to be able to get anywhere close to the same level as Alvarez. De La Hoya can spoon feed Munguia soft opposition after he moves up to middleweight to make him look better than he actually is, but that’s not going to put him on the same level as Canelo in a real sense. It’ll just be smoke and mirrors.
If De La Hoya is serious about wanting to wait until Munguia is fighting at the same level as Canelo, then he’ll need to prove that he can beat fighters like Demetrius Andrade, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Jacobs, Gennady Golovkin, Jermall Charlo and Rob Brant. Those guys are a big step up in class from the fighters that Munguia has been facing recently. If Munguia is struggling just to beat the likes of Inoue, what’s going to happen when he gets inside the ring with Charlo, GGG, Jacobs, Brant or Derevyanchenko. One can argue that De La Hoya won’t let Munguia get anywhere near any of those fighters until AFTER he faces Canelo.
It’s not just Golden Boy Promotions’ call when they want to make the Canelo vs. Munguia fight. Munguia is co-promoted by Zanfer Promotions, and they’ll need to agree to a timeline for when the Canelo-Munguia fight can get made. De La Hoya is saying Munguia won’t be fighting Alvarez in 2019, but you can bet that it’ll happen soon.
If De La Hoya waits too long before making that fight, one of the two will get beaten, and that’ll take away a lot of the interest in the fight for the boxing public. Munguia still isn’t popular enough for the Canelo fight to get made right now. Munguia only started getting noticed by the casual and hardcore boxing fans in the United States last year in May when he stopped Sadam Ali in the fourth round to win the WBO junior middleweight title.
That fight attracted a great deal of interest from fans. Munguia has since successfully defended his WBO 154 lb title three times, beating Liam Smith, Brandon Cook and Takeshi Inoue. Those are decent fighters, but nowhere near the talented guys at junior middleweight. De La Hoya hasn’t put Munguia in with the following lions at 154: Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara, Brian Castano, Tony Harrison, Kell Brook, Erickson Lubin and Julian ‘J-Rock- Williams. Those are fighters that would prove whether Munguia has the talent to mix it with the best at 154. The guys that Munguia has fought so far since winning the WBO 154 lb title are nothing special.
Munguia will be defending his World Boxing Organization title next against his WBO mandatory challenger Dennis Hogan (28-1-1, 7 KOs) at the Arena Monterrey, in Monterrey, Mexico. While the WBO is calling Hogan, 33, the mandatory for Munguia, he’s more of a tune-up level opponent at best. This is not a stiff challenge for Munguia, and it’s unknown why the WBO chose to rank him at #1 with their organization. Hogan lacks punching power, and he’s not anywhere near the same class as Munguia. This is arguably a big step down for Munguia from this past fights against Takeshi Inoue and Liam Smith.
“Canelo there is only one, we hope that Munguía is also unique,” Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez said to A Los Golpes.
Canelo and Munguia are completely different fighters. Canelo, 5’8″, is short, and built like a take at middleweight. He’s blessed with hand speed, good punching power, and he knows how to box and get out of the way of punches. Munguia, 5’11”, is the opposite. He’s tall, heavy-handed, somewhat slow in terms of hand speed, and easy to hit. Munguia is more comparable to a prime Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. with his fighting style, and overall size. He’s a different type of guy than Canelo. Right now, Munguia is in the perfect place with him fighting at junior middleweight against smaller guys. Munguia is said to rehydrate to 175 pounds for his fights at junior middleweight, which means he’s slightly heavier than former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin after he rehydrates. Once Munguia moves up in weight to middleweight, he’ll no longer have the size advantage over his opponents, and that could change everything for him.
Canelo is leaving it up to his boxing fans who they want him to fight. If they ask him to fight Munguia in high enough numbers, he’ll likely agree to do so. Right now, Munguia isn’t on the radar for Canelo, because he’s not even proven himself against the best at 154, let alone at 160.