WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia has been adamant about his intention of fighting fellow Mexican star Canelo Alvarez in the not-so-distant future. The 22-year-old is frequently mentioned as a viable opponent for Alvarez by boxing pundits across the world, and Munguia even went so far as to pen a manifesto about his Canelo chase for ESPN.com in September 2018.
“I want to make history,” wrote Munguia. “I want to be a world champion in different divisions and will defend, fight and go up against whoever is considered the best. But I want to fight Canelo….Canelo is the best current Mexican boxer, and a fight between us would mark my life and my career.”
But Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez told NYFights.com the proposed bout is likely years away from actually coming to fruition.
“That’s a couple years away,” said Gomez. “It could be two or three years. It depends on how Munguia develops, and it also depends on Canelo. Canelo is the big dog and it would be at his discretion.”
Mungia takes on undefeated contender Takeshi Inoue on Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Toyota Center in Houston. The bout will be streamed exclusively on DAZN starting at 7 pm E.T. While Gomez admitted Golden Boy Promotions is adamant about promoting fighters like Munguia who truly want to face the biggest and best challenges, he also said it was important to put them in the best position possible during every stage of their careers.
“We’re trying to develop Munguia into a huge star,” said Gomez. “I think eventually, with his size, he can move up to middleweight, possibly even super middleweight, but it's all part of the process.”
Munguia was one of boxing’s biggest breakout stars in 2018. After being rejected by the Nevada Athletic Commission as an opponent for Gennady Golovkin when the originally scheduled Alvarez rematch fell through over Alvarez testing positive for a banned substance, Munguia suddenly went from being an unknown fighter to that guy people thought Golovkin’s team was trying to snooker us into watching their fighter destroy in an uncompetitive mismatch.
But Munguia erased that idea with a four-round destruction of Sadam Ali in May 2018. The win netted Munguia the WBO junior middleweight title along with the sudden acclaim of being one of the hottest prospects in all of boxing.
Munguia rounded out the year by defending the title twice. He outworked former titleholder Liam Smith over twelve rounds in July before handing a three-round thrashing to Brandon Cook in September.
Gomez said Mungia was on the right track but that fans should be patient with the young fighter instead of expecting him to force his way into a bout against one of boxing’s truly elite pound-for-pound superstars. While Alvarez vs. Munguia might happen someday, fans and media shouldn’t really expect to see the fight anytime soon.
“Look, can the Canelo fight happen down the road? Possibly. But we have to build him up the right way and do the right things. Right now he’s developing and becoming a champion. Pretty soon, he’ll start targeting some of the other champions.”
The other 154-pound titleholders are IBF and WBA champion Jarret Hurd, who unified titles in a Fight of the Year candidate against Erislandy Lara last year, and WBC champ Tony Harrison, who upset Jermell Charlo in December. While matchups against either of those fighters are salivating on paper, they aren’t likely to happen in the near future as both Hurd and Harrison are advised by powerful boxing manager Al Haymon. Hurd, Harrison, Lara and even Charlo seem to have unfinished business and all of them are associated with Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions series.
Who that leaves Munguia to chase remains unclear, but one thing seems absolutely certain after talking to Gomez: Whatever big fight Munguia lands at 154, 160 or even 168 pounds is not likely to be Alvarez.