Canelo teaches Jaime Munguia harsh boxing lesson to leave one thing clear

The Mexican superstar dropped and outpointed his younger compatriot, remaining undisputed super-middleweight champion in Las Vegas

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Sunday 05 May 2024 06:46 BST
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“Canelo” is not going anywhere. If you had any doubts about the pound-for-pound icon’s place atop the sport of boxing, just ask Jaime Munguia what Saul Alvarez has left in the tank.

Because in Las Vegas on Saturday night, on Cinco de Mayo weekend, Munguia emptied his own tank against the undisputed super-middleweight champion and came away empty handed.

Then there was Canelo, bloody gloved, the most effective of teachers as he handed his fellow Mexican, six years his junior at 27, a brutal boxing lesson at the T-Mobile Arena.

Munguia had started well – fast and determined – arguably taking the first three rounds, as he attempted to take the torch from his compatriot. But how quickly his momentum was arrested, as Canelo countered the younger boxer’s volume and aggression with patience and timing.

One perfect right uppercut, and Munguia was down in round four, floored for the first time in his career. The challenger’s expression said it all. This was a startling first for Munguia, and an unwanted second first would ensue: the first defeat of his career, as Canelo continually punished his compatriot over the remaining eight rounds.

In round six, Munguia was sent stumbling as Canelo jabbed, then feinted another jab, only to curl it into a hook. That left hook was the champion’s weapon of choice throughout the night, while Munguia’s own left hook flailed. Frequently the younger fighter would overcommit to the punch, winging it past the elusive Alvarez, who continued to select his shots wisely and time them to perfection.

Munguia stayed in the fight and of the three scorecards (117-110, 116-111, 115-112) the latter was the fairest; contrary to some commentary, Munguia surely collected the early rounds and showed great spirit to add a couple of frames late on.

But for any rounds he took, he could not take the belts, and he could not take the torch.

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (left) handed Jaime Munguia his first professional loss
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (left) handed Jaime Munguia his first professional loss (Getty Images)

There was no disputing the overall result, just as there is no disputing Canelo’s place atop the division – and, in his own mind, atop the sport.

“Right now, I’m the best fighter. Right now, for sure,” Alvarez said in an assured post-fight interview, while a defeated, deflated Munguia was left to come to terms with the reality that there was nothing more he could have done; he was simply beaten, almost patronisingly at times, by the better boxer.

“No doubt, I would have [beaten anyone else tonight],” Munguia said. “I started well, but he obviously caused me problems. He’s an experienced fighter. He won, the loss hurts of course.”

Alvarez, meanwhile, was stubborn as he addressed calls for a showdown with David Benavidez. “I don’t know right now. I’m gonna rest, I’m gonna enjoy my family, but you know: If the money is right, I’ll come. If the money is right, I’ll fight right now, I don’t give a s***,” he said.

“Everybody is asking for everything right now. I fought all of them, so right now, I can ask for whatever I want, and I can do whatever I want. I’m Mexican. Viva Mexico, cabrones!”

Canelo remained undisputed super-middleweight champion with the win
Canelo remained undisputed super-middleweight champion with the win (Getty Images)

Canelo will indeed do whatever he wants. And it seems that he wants to fight on, and on, and on.

While Alvarez is still just 33, he is an old 33, with 65 professional fights to his famous name already. So, recent suggestions that he could – perhaps should – wind down his career have not been meant as disrespect. Rather, they have acknowledged that Canelo has nothing left to prove and all the money a fighter could wish for.

Right now, that does not seem to matter to the Mexican. There is no end in sight. He is going nowhere.

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