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Making Music: Jaime Munguía Media Workout Notes

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Making Music: Jaime Munguía Media Workout Notes
Photo Credit: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

“Why is there a sousaphone at Wild Card Boxing gym?!”

That was my first thought upon entering Wild Card for Jaime Munguía (43-0, 34 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico’s media workout in anticipation of his Cinco de Mayo weekend blockbuster PPV battle against Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico.

All the normal things one expects to see at a boxing gym – boxing rings… heavy bags… Gabe Rosado… made the solitary man with a marching band tuba seem a little absurd (though it should be noted even the guy carrying the sousaphone looked perfectly capable of giving someone the ol’ one-two). Why was he there?

Of course there was a mariachi band at the Wild Card Gym. Viva Mexico! Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Of course, there was a mariachi band at the Wild Card Gym. Viva Mexico! Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

The answer: because Golden Boy Promotions does things with style. Watching Sousaphone-Guy traverse a large room with two boxing rings in it, spinning gracefully out of the way to avoid a petite woman with a microphone and a large man with a TV camera, eventually joining other members of a mariachi band, was like seeing a live version of a tracking shot from a Scorsese film.

Once Sousaphone-Guy arrived, that band was cooking! They had to be to match the energy of Jaime Munguía dancing around the ring, throwing punches that could stop buses.

I’m getting ahead of myself.

Oscar De La Hoya Riding High

It's good to be promoter Oscar De La Hoya right now. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

It's good to be promoter Oscar De La Hoya right now. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

The first person to arrive was the Golden Boy himself, chairman and CEO Oscar De La Hoya. Immediately swarmed by media, De La Hoya had a spring in his step. He seemed quite pleased the question everyone had for him was no longer “What’s wrong with Ryan Garcia?” but “What’s next for Ryan Garcia?”

De La Hoya, however, was there to promote Munguía (and to sling shade at Álvarez, who split from De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions under acrimonious conditions).

“Canelo is going to come out guns blazing,” De La Hoya predicted, “but there's a changing of the guard in every era, and I think that this is the perfect scenario for Jaime Munguía to take over.”

De La Hoya went on to describe Canelo as “old” and “slow.” He said Alvarez’s legs are gone, and compared his movement to walking in “quicksand”.

“Jaime has the youth, the punch output, and the chin. I see all the cards stacked against Canelo… Jaime is ready to go. He's faced every adversary and every style. Whether they brawl or box, he's taken them out. Now he's ready for the biggest fish in the sea.”

Jaime Munguía: ‘I'm 100% Ready'

Jaime Munguía says he's had the best camp of his career in preparation for his title fight with Canelo Alvarez. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Jaime Munguía says he's had the best camp of his career in preparation for his title fight with Canelo Alvarez. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

“Biggest fish in the sea” is certainly an apt description of Álvarez. Generally considered the biggest star in boxing or the face of boxing (sorry, Tank), Canelo does what he wants when he wants with who he wants, and usually for millions and millions of dollars.

Many elite fighters in the middleweight, super middleweight, or light heavyweight divisions hope desperately to “win the Canelo lottery,” but Saturday, May 4, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, that man is Jaime Munguía.

“When I first got this fight, I was excited because I know how big of an opportunity this is,” Munguía said through his translator. “I would just tell everyone that I’m 100% ready for this fight… not only is this big for boxing, but it’s huge for my country. I can’t wait to represent Mexico in the ring on May 4.”

Mexican on Mexican Combat

(L to R) Beto Duran, Gabe Rosado, Jaime Munguia, and Jane Murcia of Golden Boy during Tuesday's media workout livestream broadcast. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

(L to R) Beto Duran, Gabe Rosado, Jaime Munguia, and Jane Murcia of Golden Boy during Tuesday's media workout live stream broadcast. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy

Mexico, however, will already be represented in the ring that night by Álvarez. Whoever loses, Mexico still wins. Seeing how the divide goes down between Canelo supporters and Munguía supporters is honestly one of the more intriguing elements of the fight.

“I’ve always kept an eye on Canelo,” Munguía continued, “even when we were in different weight classes. Eventually, you have to fight the best in your division, and that’s where we are right now… I respect Canelo as a fighter, but when you step into that ring with me, I’m gonna do my best to do my job and get my hand raised.”

Munguía looked sharp and confident as he entered Wild Card with swagger. He proceeded directly in front of the cameras to be interviewed by DAZN’s Beto Duran and Gabe Rosado.

Jaime Munguía with those shoes. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Jaime Munguía with those shoes. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

(At this point, I noticed there was a guy whose entire job seemed to be carrying Munguia’s shoes while Jaime was being interviewed. Great work if you can get it! He took the job seriously, too. He was holding those shoes as protectively as one would the queens’ jewels.)

Peace and Tranquility in Hollywood

Preparing Munguía for his battle against Alvarez is Hall of Fame trainer and proprietor of Wild Card Boxing, Freddie Roach.

On working with Freddie, Munguía said, “Training with Freddie has been great. He’s brought a lot of peace and tranquility to my corner. He’s a wise trainer with a lot of experience.”

Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Promotions, Jaime Munguía. Freddie Roach, and Oscar De La Hoya. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Fernando Beltran of Zanfer Promotions, Jaime Munguía. Freddie Roach, and Oscar De La Hoya. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Roach himself seemed peaceful and tranquil during the event. While definitely gracious when approached, Freddie seemed content to stand aside, away from the cameras and the media, perhaps preferring to let Munguía’s movement in the ring speak for itself.

 “Camp is going very well,” Munguía continued. “Hands down, this has been my best training camp. Working with the legend Freddie Roach has really motivated me. He has my confidence very high and has helped me so much.”

Demonstrating the motivation and confidence he’d just described, Munguía finally entered the ring (I imagine the guy carrying his shoes, now relieved of duty, took the rest of the week off.)

Munguía In The Destruction Zone

Jaime Munguía does not intend to let this opportunity get away from him. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

Munguía was in the zone. I’ve seen fighters dance around the ring before, but this boxing ring seemed to dance around Munguía.

Seeing Munguía’s hands fly four feet in front of my face is different than watching boxing on TV.

His punches were ruthless, glorious, and destructive.

At the risk of being purposely reductive, seeing those punches the same distance from me as a friend one gets coffee with, ruthlessly and efficiently enforces the beautiful violence of boxing.

Everyone knows it doesn’t feel great to get punched in the face. I’m not going to win a Pulitzer for reporting that. I hardly think if I jump into a phone booth and call in “punches hurt” that my ol’ timey 1920s editor is going to shout “STOP THE PRESS!”

But it’s almost indescribable how much it lands (pun intended) differently when the fight is directly in front of you.

It’s mesmerizing.

Frightening.

And surreal.

As surreal as a sousaphone in a boxing gym.

Canelo Álvarez vs. Jaime Munguía will be available for purchase on Prime Video, DAZN, and PPV.com (our recommendation; no subscription is needed).

Writer Beowulf Jones with Hall of Fame Trainer and good sport Freddie Roach.

Writer Beowulf Jones with Hall of Fame Trainer and good sport Freddie Roach.

Shoutout to Freddie Roach’s wife, Marie Spivey, for giving me that cold bottle of water. I was SO thirsty!