HBO results: Jaime Munguia decisions Liam Smith
Jaime Munguia successfully defended his WBO junior middleweight title for the first time,, Saturday night, after earning a unanimous decision (116-111, 119-110, 119-108) over Liam Smith, and the Mexican showed his true potential in the process. The contest was the main event of an “HBO Boxing After Dark” telecast, from the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel, in Las Vegas, Nevada.
A 21-year-old slugger from Tijuana, Munguia’s possibilities aren’t imagined in the form of dominance or unfathomable power but with the potential of consistently providing tremendous action fights for the future. The HBO broadcast team gushed over Munguia, just after he walloped an undersized Sadam Ali to capture the WBO belt, last May, and proceeded to do so in the lead-up to his fight with Smith, throwing around head-scratching comparisons to Mike Tyson, which certainly isn’t fair to Munguia let alone “Kid Dynamite.”
“I think I did very well but truthfully I gave a good show to the public. It’s a learning experience. There’s no excuses. There’s nothing wrong with this,” Munguia said to HBO’s Max Kellerman post-fight. “Yes I am a little green, no doubt. I am a little green but this was an experience. I had a tough opponent. This is an experience that will help me for the next rival.”
Smith, 26-2-1 (14), started the fight strong, and his confidence quickly grew, once realizing the relative ease of scoring on Munguia. The right hand off the jab was landing at will for Smith, who was looking to recapture the WBO 154-pound title, and, after out-landing Munguia for much of the first three rounds, there wasn’t so much the sense of an upset but the thrill of a tremendous action fight materializing. They took turns landing shots, and showing poor defense in the first nine minutes, and, although he was getting out-landed, Munguia didn’t show frustration during Smith’s best moments of the fight, nor did he ever show signs of being even remotely stunned.
After a fourth round in which Smith’s output dropped, Munguia started to find his way, and never looked back, once showing great enthusiasm to start round five. Pumping his fists before unloading some ripping hooks with both hands, and showing a fervor reserved for the hellbent mindsets, knowing he had a shoddy defense, yet was unafraid to try and deliver a knockout shot. Munguia started going to the body, midway through the fight, and, at the end of the sixth, a left hook to the temple buckled Smith into a backpedal, and onto the canvas, for the fight’s only knockdown. Munguia didn’t have much time to put him away, after that moment, but he then had control of the fight. Smith was even landing that right hand upstairs rather consistently but the volume dwindled, as Munguia landed at will. In the ninth, Smith put up a hell of an effort to make it perhaps the best action round of the fight but Munguia threw out any doubt that he’d let this one slip away. He wasn’t able to hurt Smith again but Munguia did show good conditioning to maintain his lead through the championship rounds. It was his first time going past ten.
Munguia, 30-0 (25), may not have impressed boxing coaches and online experts but there seemed to be no worry, even in light of his honest words after the fight. Munguia smiled proudly before chanting “Viva, Tijuana!” to end the night, and a loud crowd, careless of any nitpicks and buzzing from the action fight they saw, among other things, echoed the Mexican’s delight. Munguia brought forth an offensive desire, with flawed defense, and that’s precisely part of his appeal.
In the opening bout of the HBO telecast, Alberto Machado shut out Rafael Mensah on all three scorecards, winning by unanimous decision (120-107), after 12 rounds of boxing. Machado, 20-0 (16), outworked and out-landed Mensah for most of the fight, and highlighted his performance with a right hook that dropped the Ghanaian in the second round. Mensah, 31-1 (23), who was making his American debut, wasn’t nearly ready for this step-up but courageously eked it out to make Machado’s win an indictment on the Puerto Rican, as the listless rounds passed in a mismatch.