Jimmy Kelly had a chance to shock the world against Jaime Munguia Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. What happened, to the shock of no one watching on the streaming app DAZN, was another Munguia stay-busy fight and a fifth-round stoppage win for the Mexican.
The story told before the bell was that Munguia (40-0, 32 KOs) came into the contest as the massive favorite against the little-known Kelly. Kelly (26-3, 10 KOs) came from Manchester, UK, to the States and was given the road treatment in this main event.
Once the bell rang, it was clear that Munguia took advantage of the 165 lb. contracted weight for this fight as he looked massive over Kelly. Despite that, Kelly was looking to take the battle to Munguia and had success in rounds one and two, even as much as briefly stunning Munguia in the second.
In the early going, Munguia had trouble with Kelly and his jab.
When Munguia threw one, Kelly threw back two to three. Munguia repeatedly followed Kelly around for the first four rounds, and that led to a smattering of boos from the Munguia-friendly patrons.
That all turned in the fifth round as Munguia clipped Kelly with a left that sent him down. Kelly was then sent down by an uppercut. He tried to fight back but now the strength/power edge was predominating. The crowd sensed this closing. Munguia sent Kelly down for a third time, he rose, but the ref waved his hands. This one was over just like that.
Munguia faced a lot of scrutiny for this matchup, but as it played out, it was a fight that showed Munguia struggle for four rounds before ending it in the fifth. Is that more so because of his deficiencies, or because Kelly boxes better than skeptics suspected?
So, 2:57 of round five was the official time of the stoppage for the 40th win of Jaime Munguia. Will it lead to anything more significant after this? Only time will tell. After the victory, Munguia echoed Oscar De La Hoya's callout of Jermall Charlo for a fight earlier in the week. He told translator Gabe Rivas, after taking a query from Chris Mannix, that he'd like Jermall Charlo to “show some balls” and “stop hiding behind Al Haymon.”
UNDERCARD ACTION IN CALIFORNIA
Lightweights Mark Bernaldez and Oscar Duarte were the co-main event, and Duarte started one-way traffic en route to an eight-round stoppage. Duarte (23-1, 18 KOs) landed a shot in the opening round that caught Bernaldez's (23-6, 17 KOs) attention. Duarte began the opening stanza looking to find a home whenever he could with his left hand and succeeded.
There was an accidental head butt that closed out the second round, but the action seemed one-way traffic for Duarte. Bernaldez was slowly becoming target practice as he was stationary along the ropes for most of the third round. The fourth continued this same approach to the point that once again Duarte was throwing the kitchen sink at Bernaldez, finally catching him on shaky legs as the round closed.
As the fifth closed out, referee Gerard White told Bernaldez “show me something” as he was taking too much punishment. Earlier in that round, White warned Duarte for low blows following a sequence that looked like Bernaldez was on the way to being stopped. Instead, the fight pressed on. The flurry thrown by Duarte in the final half-minute of the eighth round had referee White stepping in, following another time that had Bernaldez along the ropes. It was a pretty weak stoppage, but this fight was well in doubt when it was called off.
2:05 of the eighth round was the official ending.
MORE UNDERCARD ACTION
The opening bout of the DAZN card saw Carlos Ortiz getting an upset win over Evan Sanchez in a firefight for five rounds.
Ortiz (13-5, 13 KOs) was in the ring for the first time since the pandemic broke out in March 2020 and stated he would retire if he lost the fight. Looks like the 37-year-old attorney will continue his pugilism side hustle.
This fight was delayed due to a leg injury to Sanchez (11-1, 6 KOs) a month ago but got going early with both guys looking to go toe to toe early in the contest.
The second round was different but wasn't short on the action as both stood in on the inside, which looked to play to Ortiz's advantage. A left hook had Sanchez stunned in the ring, but he was able to answer by landing counters. In the third round, Sanchez made an in-ring adjustment, boxing a lot more against the older Ortiz as standing inside and trading wasn't working so far into the fight. Sanchez was landing solid lefts at a distance which started to break down Ortiz in what was his best round of the fight.
As the fight pressed on, both fighters focused more on attacking the body to slow the other down. Sanchez looked to be in control here, but that wouldn't last long. In the closing moments of the fifth round, Carlos Ortiz caught Sanchez with an overhand left hand that studded him along the ropes. Once that happened, a flurry closing with a right hook sent Sanchez down, and this one was over.
2:59 of the fifth round was the official time of the stoppage.
A women's title bout came on next as the IBF Minimumweight strap was on the line as local native Lorraine Villalobos (5-3, 2 KOs) took on champ Yokasta Valle. Villalobos took the fight on a week's notice, and the market to find a 105 lb. fighter on short order is what caused that record mismatch for the Golden Boy debut for Valle (24-2, 9 KOs).
Another apparent mismatch was the height difference, as the difference of 5'4 to 4'11 looked on the broadcast quite glaring. In the end, Valle was way too much for Villalobos, winning by a wide unanimous decision. The final scorecards all read 100-90 in favor of Valle.
Once the bell rang, it was clear Valle's experience was huge as Villalobos wasn't going to have any answers for whatever Valle was throwing. By the third round, Villalobos was weary and it showed on her face. There was nothing much between these two-minute rounds except Valle outboxing someone she was levels above.
As the second half of the fight approached, it felt as if it was a matter of how much punishment will they let Villalobos take. While she was game, the answer we got was a lot for ten rounds.
The eighth round started with both standing toe to toe, with Villalobos seemingly willing to go out on her shield, but she survived, to the final bell.
The prospects of a possible unification matchup between Valle and the current WBA minimum weight titlist Seniesa Estrada is one to keep an ear out for when it is made. I thought Valle looked good. Seniesa Estrada on Twitter said the Valle effort was boring, for the record.