It was one of the best one-sided fights you’ll ever see. After 12 brutally hard rounds, the speed and relentlessness of Jaime Munguia of Tijuana, Mexico (38-0, 30 KOs) were too much for Gabriel Rosado of Philadelphia (26-14-1, 15 KOs) to overcome. The pair went the distance in front of a delighted, engaged crowd at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Scores were 119-109, 118-110, and 117-111. We scored it 117-111 for Munguia.
“This was my toughest fight so far,” said Munguia. “It was a great fight that everyone enjoyed. He was a strong, experienced opponent. I enjoyed this fight.
“Rosado took a lot of punches. Four, five, six at a time. He’s a strong fighter coming down from 168 pounds. Credit to him,” said Munguia. Munguia admitted he didn’t think it would go the distance.
“He was very resilient. He did catch me a few times, but I think after the ninth round, I really dominated the fight. I felt really good, very strong, but I need to work on some things,” said Munguia.
In his third fight with trainer Erik Morales, Munguia has improved his hand speed and combination punching. In this fight, he rarely threw just a single shot. He worked with a variety of punches. Right and left hooks intermixed with uppercuts were all working for Munguia.
Rosado withstood the offense well, and he was never out of the fight to the final bell. He had the better individual moments. In the fifth, sixth, and ninth rounds, Rosado caught Munguia with hard right hooks and buzzed him. Munguia handled it well, holding when he needed to and gathering himself.
As the fight wore on and ticked down through the championship rounds, Rosado tried to find the opportunity for the single shot that could turn the fight around for him, but it slipped through his grasp. Munguia stayed too busy and too defensive to let it happen. This is the version of Munguia fans have waited to emerge since his surprising win over Sadam Ali.
“Both fighters were very brave in coming forward,” said Erik Morales after the fight. “Rosado was very resilient. A very exciting fight for fight fans.”
Rosado: ‘I knew it would be a war’
Rosado was naturally disappointed. “I felt like the scorecards were too wide. The fight was a lot closer. He never hurt me, but I was sure hurting him. I thought the fight was a lot closer. It is what it is. Every time I went to the body, I was hurting him.”
“I knew it would be a war, and I did everything I could to win. I didn’t find Munguia difficult, and the scorecards are bullshit. I felt like I won.”
Trainer Freddie Roach gave credit to both fighters. “They gave it their all. I thought the fight was closer than what it was scored as, but that’s the way it is in boxing.”
Rosado’s experience and heart kept him in the fight. His performance is why he remains so popular with fans despite the numbers on his record. It’s worth more watching Rosado even in a losing effort than most fighters who dial in a win. He refuses to give in and gives it his all.
Munguia said before the fight, he and Morales had been working on his technique. “Next time, you’ll see even better,” said Munguia after his performance.
“We’re waiting for a world title shot or an elimination shot in the coming year. I’m ready for either one.” Asked whether he might have interest in fighting an opponent one denied to him, Gennadiy Golovkin, Munguia answered with enthusiasm.
“Absolutely. A GGG fight would be very good. The public would love that one, so I’m excited about that fight.” Munguia’s priorities are a title eliminator or title fight in 2022.
“Munguia showed a lot of heart, and Rosado showed a lot of guts,” said Golden Boy founder Oscar De La Hoya. “I want to thank both of them for giving us a Fight of the Year.”
If Golovkin wins in Japan, make it Oscar’s New Year’s resolution to make Golovkin vs. Munguia happen.
Alexis Rocha gets in work
Alexis Rocha of Santa Ana, CA (18-1, 12 KOs) put in more rounds than he expected, battering Jeovannis Barraza of Barranquilla, Colombia (23-2, 15 KOs) around the ring for eight hard rounds before the accumulated damage was too much in the eyes of referee Ray Corona to let the tough Barraza continue. The time of the stoppage was at 43 seconds of the ninth round.
Rocha worked hard to the body, going upstairs with hard hooks to stop Barraza, who refused to yield. Rocha took some shots, but they weren’t ever hard enough to make him overly cautious. It made for a fan-friendly fight in front of his local Orange County, California fans. The work didn’t hurt the 23-year-old Rocha at all as he works his way back from his single loss to Rashidi Ellis in 2020.
Ballard gets a rusty decision win
D’Mitrius Ballard of Temple Hillas, Maryland (21-0-1, 11 KOs) overcame a slow start, winning by unanimous decision over Paul Valenzuela Jr. of Santa Rosalia, Mexico (26-10, 17 KOs). All cards read 98 – 92. Valenzuela Jr. is a volume puncher who had enough energy to dance in the ring between rounds. He would have been better off putting the effort behind some power shots. Ballard threw just enough well-placed hard shots to take the rounds he needed to win. Blame ring rust, perhaps. Ballard needs to get right back in the ring and step up from where he left off to be taken seriously in the middleweight division.
William Zepeda punshess Moralde
After taking Hector Tanajara apart in July, lightweight William Zepeda of San Mateo Atenco, Mexico (24-0, 22 KOs) did much the same in less time to John Moralde of Miami (24-5, 13 KOs), stopping him at 1:59 of Round 4.
Zepeda is a southpaw all-action power puncher who knows how to set up his shots. He’s gaining a lot of Southern California fans. Easy to see why: Per Lee Groves of CompuBox, Zepeda averaged more than 104 punches per round, far above the 58.1 lightweight norm. In the fourth round alone, Zepeda landed 59 of 107 total punches in two minutes, which translates to roughly 79 of 142 over a three-minute round.
Undercard results from Anaheim
Flyweight Arely Muciño of Monterrey, Mexico (29-3-2, 10 KOs) and countrywoman Jaky Calvo of Mexico City (14-6-2, 1 KO) put on a fine all-action show. Calvo was the aggressor, and Muciño was willing to dance with her. Calvo buzzed Mucino hard in the third round and even harder in the ninth, dropping Mucino with a right hook. It was right at the bell, and she survived referee Jack Reiss’s count.
Both came out slinging hard shots through the final round as an appreciative crowd cheered them to the bell. Muciño edged out a split decision, a result Calvo and the fans disagreed with.
Alejandro Reyes of Los Angeles (5-0, 5 KOs) remained unbeaten with a second-round TKO win at 1:24 over Osmel Mayorga of Miami (2-3, 1 KO).
Accomplished amateur Jorge Chavez of San Diego (1-0, 1 KO) put a lot of fans in the seats for his pro debut. He rewarded them with an all-action fight, scoring a third-round TKO at 1:24 over Gilberto Aguilar of Mexico City. It’s rare for an American fighter to have hundreds of amateur fights, and it will serve the young super featherweight well.
Super bantamweight Asa Stevens of Waianae, Hawaii (2-0, 1 KO) got his first pro stoppage win with a first-round TKO of Felix Vazquez of San Diego (0-1). Stevens hurt Vazquez to the body and unleashed the punches until referee Eddy Hernandez stopped the bout at 1:59. “He was taking hard shots to the head, so I had to go to the body,” said Stevens. “It’s like the greatest thing ever. It’s something I dreamed of my whole life. Watching Floyd, Watching Pacquiao. I manifested this.”