By: Hans Themistode
At 23 years of age, Jamie Munguia still has plenty of time to catch Canelo Alvarez in terms of star power and overall skill inside the boxing ring. Munguia, a former Jr Middleweight champion, has recently moved up to the Middleweight division. The same weight class that Canelo Alvarez calls home. Or at least one of the three, as the pound for pound star has won world titles at Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight.
Both Munguia and Alvarez share a few things in common. Their Mexican heritage and championship background. But that is where the comparison starts and ends. In short, Munguia has a long way to go to catch Alvarez in terms of achievements and abilities but that doesn’t mean his handlers aren’t ready, willing and able to take him on next.
“Our hope and our dream is to fight Canelo,” said Fernando Beltran, head of Zanfer Promotions to BoxingScene.com in an interview. “I really think Munguia can give Canelo a fight of his life. If you want to be the best, you have to fight the best. We’ve been talking to [Munguia co-promoter] Golden Boy, Oscar De La Hoya and Eric Gomez to see what’s [Munguia’s] next step. We would love to fight any top 160-pound fighter, like Gennady Golovkin.”
A matchup between Alvarez and Munguia is an all too familiar sight. Six year ago at the age of 23, Alvarez had his own dare to be great moment when he took on 37 year old Floyd Mayweather. Alvarez of course, would go on to lose that contest, but hasn’t since then. It was a learning point for Alvarez. With every Floyd Mayweather esque slip of a punch, Alvarez continues to use what he learned in that fight today.
Munguia (35-0, 28 KOs) can evoke his own lessons from a fight with Alvarez should it happen. But Eddy Reynoso, trainer of Alvarez, doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
“Jaime lacks the experience to face Saúl, he is a disciplined fighter who is just coming up. He has a very good coach, Erik [Morales] is helping him, he brings a good promoter, so little by little he is going to go very far, but a confrontation with Saúl would not suit either of them,” Reynoso told ESPN. “He needs more maturity, more experience and apart from that we are about to go up to 168. It will be a difficult thing to face him.”
Beltran’s words are almost verbatim to Reynoso. But still, his preference is for Munguia to jump into the ring with Alvarez now as opposed to waiting.
“I agree with Eddy Reynoso [that Munguia needs to develop more],” said Beltran. “He is a very good trainer and he knows what he’s doing handling Canelo’s career. Munguia is getting better. He’s feeling stronger and more healthy. Let’s not forget, he’s only 23 years old. He’s not in a rush. We’re not in a hurry. We believe Munguia is at the level of the best fighters out there. He’s been passing tests with excellence. Why not dream and fight the best ones out there? I don’t think no one is going to walk through [Munguia]. I see him being very competitive at 160 and he can be the best of the division, no doubt. Canelo has plans at 168, and I respect and admire him a lot. I’m very proud that he’s a great Mexican representative. I’ve been in high-level Mexican classics, and I know what it’s all about.”