By: Hans Themistode
Becoming a great boxer isn’t easy but it also isn’t exactly hard. Let me explain.
Fighters put in hours upon hours in the gym. It takes days, weeks, months and yes even years before a fighter can become a great one. There’s a reason why Vasiliy Lomachenko is considered one of the best fighters anyone has ever seen. He has spent countless hours in the gym working on his craft. The same goes for Terence Crawford, Errol Spence Jr and many others. The dedication that these world championship level boxers have is immense.
These aforementioned fighters might be stars in the ring but they aren’t quite stars outside of it. There are very few fighters in the sport today that have true star power. Former unified Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua would qualify as a star both inside and outside of the ring, but even his star power fails in comparison to Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.
Alvarez routinely sells out venues, and before he moved away from the pay per view module, his fights brung in millions of viewers. Alvarez can’t do what many of us enjoy in privacy. Getting a cup of coffee, walking your dog or even going outside to check the mail results in Alvarez getting mobbed by dozens of fans.
His stardom has afforded him two of the biggest and most popular dates on the boxing calendar. Cinco De Mayo in May and Mexican Independence Day in September. Now that he has forged his September date this year because of his difficulties in finding a suitable opponent, the date was given to another Mexican champion, WBO Jr Middleweight belt holder Jaime Munguia.
At just 22 years of age, Munguia has shown incredible promise but can he follow in the footsteps of Alvarez? That seems doubtful.
Munguia has yet to fight a single meaningful fight in his division. His resume is littered with below average fighters. That isn’t to say that Munguia is not deserving of his championship because he is, but his level of opposition needs to be raised considerably in order to raise his profile. Just who is his September 14th opponent Patrick Allotey? Or his previous opponent Dennis Hogan? These aren’t the sort of fights that will get Munguia noticed to the casual fans.
Alvarez isn’t just a great fighter but he also fights the toughest opposition available to him. In his next contest he is reportedly moving up two weight divisions to take on Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. Both casuals and hardcore fans will be intrigued to see how that contest plays out.
The blueprint for Munguia is simple. He needs to fight better competition. He also needs to take risk. Sitting back and taking on fighters that everyone expects him to beat will assure that he remains a champion but he will have a hard time making the leap to becoming a superstar.
Munguia does have youth on his side but if he wants to effectively cross over into the eyes of the mainstream then he must act now. The Jr Middleweight division is filled with talent. Julian Williams, Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo all reside in his division. If he can defeat them then a life of stardom awaits him.