By: Sean Crose
It’s common for fighters, even high level fighters, to listen to a trainer’s advice. When that trainer is none other than the iconic Erik Morales, however, it’s quite difficult to say no. Former junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia has the advantage of having Morales in his corner. When the Hall of Famer made it clear he wanted the hard hitting, 34-0 Munguia to train for his middleweight debut at Mexico’s high altitude Otomí Ceremonial Center, the 23 year old made sure to adhere to his trainer’s wishes. “It was a decision of Eric’s,” Munguia told me over the phone. “I told him I would go where he wanted.”
Morales, along with Munguia’s team – which includes Munguia’s father, Jamime Sr – has subsequently been working on making the exciting six foot tall junior middleweight into a full fledged middleweight. The immediate goal? For Munguia to impress when he meets the colorful and exciting Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan on January 11th at San Antonio’s Alamodome. It will be the first bout in what team Munguia hopes will be a fiery run at middleweight. “We’re dong well,” Munguia tells me. “It’s been a great camp. We’re learning a lot.” Holed up in his camp, Munguia has been able to learn from Morales, his father, and others.
“Yeah,” he says when I ask if the relationship between his father and Morales is a smooth one, “they get along very well.” Such things are important, especially for a fighter hoping to up his game. “We’re working for all kind of situations,” Munguia says of preparations for O’Sullivan, “but also looking for openings.” With 27 knockouts under his belt already, Munguia is hoping to put his power on display at the Alamodome. But how is Muguia going to make sure his weight carries over into middlweight? “I’m going to do the same thing as always,” he tells me, “train hard (while) making sure I’m getting good nutrition.” Confidence, and a belief in the basics, has led Munguia quite far, especially when one considers his young age.
Yet Munguia is already planning for the future. For he plans on fighting for one of the middleweight titles in 2020. “Anyone whose a world champion,” he says, “I’d like to face him.” First, though, there’s the experienced, fun to watch O’Sullivan to deal with. “We’re thinking about the people, too” he says when I ask if O’Sullivan was chosen for his entertainment value, as well as his skill set. In other words, the young man from Tijuana wants to impress more than just himself. “On January 11th,” he says, “we’re going to deliver a great fight.”