Ryan Garcia Could Learn From Jaime Munguia



Ryan Garcia Could Learn From Jaime Munguia

It was a statement-making performance for Jamie Munguia this past weekend at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona when he stopped John Ryder in the 9th round of their DAZN headliner promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.

Munguia picked up a WBC super-middleweight trinket for his efforts, but it was the win’s context that offered up the biggest prize—staying in the running for a potential shot at 168lb division undisputed champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

The performance came complete with four total knockdowns, one in rounds 2 and 4 and two more in the 9th and final round.

Munguia Vs Ryder

Jaime Munguia scored four knockdowns on the way to a TKO win over sturdy John Rider. Photo: Cris Esqueda, Golden Boy Boxing

By comparison, Canelo put down Ryder only once, in the 5th round, before taking the unanimous decision victory in their 12-round affair.

It has been reported that Canelo would likely be facing Jermall Charlo, the twin brother of the undisputed Jr. middleweight champion Jermell Charlo, who suffered a lackluster unanimous decision loss against Canelo.

Then, Salvador Rodriguez, who has routinely broken Canelo news on ESPN’s Latin airwaves, reported that Canelo is confirmed to fight Jermall Charlo in May, and he went on to say that “Bud” Crawford is penciled in for Canelo’s second planned fight of the year, likely in September.

Now, this is not a criticism of anybody’s reporting, but it is factually correct to say that Team Canelo has used specific Latin media outlets to put out misinformation in the past, and it is part of the media game in every sport.

Also, certain stories are so fluid that what seems like misinformation is vaguely true at that moment with an ever-evolving narrative at work— you know, the whole “yesterday I was lying, today I’m telling the truth” or however goes the famous Bob Arum line.

Regardless of reports, things are never final until they’re final, and if Canelo’s Team put out the Jermall fight story to gauge social media reaction, then by now they realize that fans would rather have their temperature taken orally.

Canelo compared and contrasted with Munguia makes Munguia v Canelo more plausible. Photo: Melina Pizano/Matchroom.

Anyway, there is no way Munguia is completely out of the equation until we see a poster for a Canelo fight with a corresponding multi-city press tour.

While the boxing world wants Canelo to fight David Benavidez, it is Benavidez who called out Munguia following his win over Ryder Saturday night.

Benavidez called Munguia “easy work” on social media and referenced his belief that he was ducked after failed attempts to negotiate a fight between the two.

However, something intriguing happened in the days following that post as Benavidez walked his statement back, kind of, and admitted he was receiving guff from BOXING fans for the perceived disrespect towards Munguia.

This is evidence of Munguia’s growth in the sport as a star, and it finally seems like his growth as a fighter and appeal as a commercial product are aligning at their peaks. Golden Boy Promotions has brought Munguia along with intent and the fruit of their labor is ripening.

But what kind of fighter is Munguia? How much better or worse is he than the promotional brand he is built upon, and how does he stack up against the elite of his division?

Munguia, whose father was a heavyweight boxer, began his pro career at the age of 16, although he did make a name for himself in Mexico’s competitive amateur boxing scene by doing well in several national tournaments.

However, Munguia opted not to chase Olympic glory and instead went pro with the help of Fernando Beltran and his Zanfer Promotions. Fernando believed in Munguia from the beginning, and they were certainly pivotal in pioneering his current path.

They fought the right guys at the right time and were able to get him the necessary experience and development time. Zanfer did not rush him, but they did not coddle him, either. Munguia has passed every test as indicated by his undefeated record (43-0, 34KOs).

The next step in the Munguia evolution was signing a co-promotional agreement with Golden Boy in 2019. This made sense considering how Golden Boy brought along Canelo, and the fight seemed like a future possibility.


Munguia looks confident as heck in this Tom Hogan pic.

Then, in 2020, Canelo left the company, which some believed to be bad news for any fighter in Golden Boy’s stable.

For Munguia, though, it meant more effort would be put into his career. It meant he was now the most important player within the entire middleweight division(s) to Oscar De La Hoya and co.

The road hasn’t been entirely smooth. After a dominating performance over Takeshi Inoue in his third title defense, and his first official fight under Golden Boy’s banner, Munguia ran into trouble against Dennis Hogan.

Munguia officially beat Hogan by majority decision, but the fight turned many potential fans into detractors because of the narrative—another favorable decision for yet another A-side promotional ‘golden goose.’

It would be up to Munguia and Golden Boy to change the narrative.

The course slowed down for Munguia, and he was brought along with patience and promotional precision, even when fans felt the fighter was guilty of picking too many cherries from the boxing orchid.

As of the present day, Munguia thoroughly dominated a shared opponent with Canelo and would be the preferred choice to current WBC champion Jermall Charlo.

Munguia will never be confused with an elite boxer, but he is exciting TV, and that fact makes him a commodity to networks and venues. He gets hit far too much, but his propensity to fight through punches resonates with the generations of Mexican and Mexican American fight fans.

For all the flack Munguia receives about his opponent selection, he has never spoken out against his promoter, and he has trusted their vision.

This may come at the expense of fight fans receiving quality fights, but you cannot argue with Munguia’s current place in the sport.

While being outspoken can be beneficial, and promoters should be called out when they’re being unfair, there are real-world business consequences to speaking on a fight before it is official.

While every fighter has the right to make the final decision on their career path, the matchmaking process is complicated, and as much intuition goes into it as does years of experience.

Ryan Garcia made some poor choices in the past several months, but hindsight is twenty-twenty. The point isn’t that Garcia made poor decisions because everyone does that in every career path, and the lesson can prove more valuable down the road.

The point is that Garcia’s current predicament could have been prevented.

Initially, Garcia came out on social media eager to make a fight with Devin Haney. Both sides seemed willing, and talks appeared to advance.

The biz can be convoluted, it’s an eat what you kill deal

However, Garcia pulled a 180 and then started calling for a fight with Rolly Romero, a title holder at 140lbs.

While Garcia-Rolly has the potential for financial success, the optics are that Ryan is chasing the lower risk/higher reward in Romero over solidified pound-for-pound Haney.

De La Hoya would come out soon after and mention the prospects of Garcia facing former lightweight titlist Jose Ramirez, but Garcia rebuked those statements quickly after they were made.

Garcia’s shortsighted outlook on the prospects of facing Ramirez is unfortunate because it offered him an opportunity to face a former unified junior welterweight champion and former Olympian in a winnable fight, and a sellable fight.

After namedropping a few fighters, notably Issac “Pitbull” Cruz, Garcia went all in on the Rolly fight, essentially demanding it be finalized until he eventually announced to the world that he would be fighting Romero on social media.

The very next day it was announced that Rolly Romero would be defending his WBA junior welterweight title against Cruz on March 30th as part of the first Amazon Prime PPV card.

Garcia was either overly ambitious with his announcement or he was duped, either way, he gained nothing from all his social media posts pushing certain fights.

Garcia would later admit in an interview with FightHype that Floyd Mayweather Jr convinced him to forgo the Haney fight in favor of a fight with Romero.

This is a wild admission and shows the gullibility of a kid raised in the social media age where your worth is measured in literal “likes.”

“Shut up and punch” is not the takeaway here, not at all, and much credit must be given to Garcia for his keen understanding of brand promotion in this era. Yet, he is critical of the man who built the blueprint for Mexican American stars to get over with both sides of the border.

For all that Garcia understands about TikTok and YouTube, he is vastly out of his league when it comes to experience in the fight game when compared to that of Golden Boy.

When you compare Munguia and Garcia you are presented with two fighters at two different stages: one on the verge of a big fight, and the other on the ‘rebuild.’ However, can anyone say for certain that Munguia has any better chance of defeating Benavidez than Garcia does Haney?

If Garcia never fought “Tank” Davis, a move Golden Boy advised him not to take out of concern for the weight stipulations, then we would view Garcia in a completely different light than we do today, that is just a simple truth.

Garcia could learn from Munguia in this way, and he needs to understand that a fighter is judged on their success when they get their shot and not how quickly they can go from major opportunity to major opportunity.