Photo Credits: Hogan Photos/Golden Boy
WBO light middleweight title-holder Jaime Munguia held a media workout at L.A.’s Westside Boxing Club yesterday as he prepares for his July 21 defense against former belt-holder Liam Smith.
The fight is significant for Munguia on several fronts. One, he’s facing a fighter that’s a former opponent of Canelo Alvarez. Should be beat Smith more decisively, his profile raises among his countrymen and the wider boxing community. Second, a quick look at Munguia’s large frame lets you know he won’t have a long stay at 154 (remember, he was the original replacement option for GGG’s May bout before the Nevada Athletic Commission nixed it). That means Munguia will soon be mixing it up at 160. A strong performance likely means he maintains a high-ranking within the WBO, giving him a fast-track to Billy Joe Saunders or the eventual holder of that title.
Munguia echoed some of those sentiments in his statements to present media.
We had a sensational training camp. We have a great team, so I feel very good. The potential fight against Gennady Golovkin really got my name out there. It allowed me to get the opportunity to fight for a world title. I’m grateful for that. I’m also grateful that the NSAC didn’t allow me to fight against Golovkin because it lead to this world title.
I’m always 100% ready. I got the call to fight Sadam Ali with only two weeks notice. The only struggle was to lose the weight, but other than that I was ready. I knew my advantage was my reach and my power. I knew that he was a smaller fighter. Those were the keys to my victory.
I feel very motivated now that I am a world champion. Everyone is going to talk about me after this fight. This will open up more opportunities, and people will mention my name with the likes of Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin.
I think that the only advantage that Liam Smith has is that he’s fought in big events before. But I have many fights under my belt. I have a lot of experience. I had over 100 fights as an amateur. All this experience gives me a lot of confidence when I step into the ring. Also, Smith might say that he’s a natural 154-pounder, but I want to tell him that I’m a natural 160-pounder who drops down. I’m very happy with the training camp we had and very confident about this fight.
On the undercard, WBA super featherweight titlist Alberto Machado takes on #1 contender Rafael Mensah. This is Machado’s first appearance since his shocking upset KO of Jezreel Corrales last October. Unlike most fighters, Machado believes the layoff was a blessing in disguise.
It’s been about 10 months since my last fight. But it served me well. It allowed me to get some rest and to work on some technical details that I needed to work on. I had been boxing 15 years straight, so it was a necessary rest.
Fighting on HBO for the first time was a dream come true. I used to gather my friends to watch Miguel Cotto, Ivan Calderon and Felix Trinidad on HBO, so this was definitely a dream come true. The fight against Jezreel Corrales was very tough. At first, he didn’t even make weight. I knew he had a lot more experience than I did too. But I brought out the spirit that characterizes us as boxer to walk away with the victory.
For this camp, I worked on strategy and technique. I had more time to travel to Los Angeles and work with Freddie Roach. During this camp, I really got to see why he is a Hall of Fame trainer. I got to see why he’s had so many world champions. On July 21, you will definitely see a new and improved Alberto Machado.
The card airs live on HBO July 21 from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.