By Thomas Lyons (WrapsOnTV)
WBO Super-Welterweight champion Jaime Munguia showed his superior strength and power at 154lbs, cruising to a comfortable points victory over England’s hopeful Liam Smith at the Hardrock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
A lot had been made of the Mexican before the fight and after his impressive win over Sadam Ali, replacing Smith as his opponent due to an injury suffered in training, the Mexican, tipped to be the next star successfully defended his title in a first defence of the brown belt. With England’s impressive World Cup run in Russia, Smith was looking to emulate that success stateside and take back his belt to the UK.
However, the size advantage of Munguia played a pivotal role in the fight and meant that Smith would need to deter this in some way possible. Munguia’s sheer, overwhelming frame was too much for the Liverpudlian and despite showing resilience to climb off the canvas during the fight, he couldn’t claw his way back into the fight, enough to earn the judges recognition on all three scorecards.
Round 1 was an excellent start for Smith who landed some lovely uppercuts on the inside and executed the one, two, three crisp combinations up close. The exuberant youth of Munguia to go the distance and control the pace of the fight throughout showed the sign of a true champion.
Because of Munguia’s ability to smother Smith with weight and range, Smith needed to do a lot more work on the inside and tie him up to negate any chance of breaking out and landing big blows, particularly to the body.
In round 2, Munguia backed Smith up onto the ropes and landed a few nice body shots himself, yet Smith smiled back unphased and soaked up the early punishment that would get to him later on in the fight. A strong round for the champion and Smith was doing a lot of complaining to the ref, rightly so, about Munguia’s tactics to rough him up using the elbow.
This is another mark of the champion to try and employ strategies that can frustrate their opponent and use their rugged style to offset them.
Rounds 3 & 4 were both bagged by Munguia. He was really starting to stamp his authority on the fight and used his feet well to close the distance while still using his reach advantage to land shots from afar.
The fifth round really ignited into a war when Munguia urged Smith into the centre of the ring to trade blows. Smith only needed to trade at important times but showing his natural heart to stand in the pocket and unload is a sign of a warrior and someone who can come again and stay at world level.
After a terrible round for Smith in the seventh, floored by a well-timed, well-calculated shot from Munguia, Smith came back with solid shots of his own and Munguia looked a little last lustre for a young man full of energy. Munguia was winning comfortably according to many analyst scorecards and didn’t want to tire down the stretch.
Round 9 was a quality round and one of emphatic, eye appealing, entertaining boxing. The real Mexican style the fans that had turned out paid good money for. Smith took some heavy shots and Munguia knew he could break Smith down if he continued to apply the pressure. However, unlike Canelo did, Smith hung on in there and showed incredible resilience to withstand the barrage of punches coming his way.
Even though Munguia is a beast at the weight, the likes of ‘Swift’ Jarrett Hurd and ‘Lions Only’ stable, WBC king Jermell Charlo will look at this as a positive experience for them. Munguia’s chin hangs a lot in the air and with big power punchers like them, there are a lot of areas for the Americans to exploit.
It may do enough to get Munguia through fights when he has a sheer size advantage over smaller guys but against a huge light-middleweight like Hurd who can compensate for that size, then these type of fights will come down to skill when Munguia isn’t the most technically gifted fighter.
The final scorecards registerd a shutout margin for Jaime Mungia, 116-111 on one of the judges scorecard which possibly wasn’t an accrurate reflection of the fight and the other two 119-110 and 119-108