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Sport Jaime Munguia focused on pleasing fans and getting better, not collecting belts

08:58  22 january  2022
08:58  22 january  2022 Source:   boxingjunkie.com

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Jaime Munguia likes the idea of building a belt collection but he’s not preoccupied with it.

  Jaime Munguia focused on pleasing fans and getting better, not collecting belts © Provided by Boxing Junkie

He’s young, only 25. He has plenty time. For now, the middleweight contender from Mexico is content with beating whomever is placed in front of him, improving fight by fight and pleasing his fans.

And, if things go well against D’Mitrius Ballard on Feb. 19 in his hometown of Tijuana (DAZN), the high-profile, lucrative opportunities will come.

“It’s not hard to be patient,” he told Boxing Junkie through a translator. “I’ve made some good fights the last few years, I’ve made fans really happy. I’m also improving as a fighter. That’s what makes me happy right now.

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“Of course, world titles are important but I’m not in a big rush. I’m still young. Honestly, I think I’m just getting started at 160 pounds.”

Munguia (38-0, 30 KOs) has picked up at 160 where he left off at 154, at which he won the WBO title and successfully defended five times.

He’s 4-0 as a middleweight, with three knockouts and a wide decision over rugged Gabriel Rosado in his most-recent fight this past November. And, as he said, he feels he’s getting better each time out.

That is in good part the result of his work with Hall of Famer and fellow Tijuana resident Erik Morales, who is 5-0 as Munguia’s trainer, starting with his fourth-round knockout of Patrick Allotey in September 2019.

Of course, Munguia had a solid skill set to go with his heavy hands before he connected with Morales. He was undefeated and a world champion before he turned 23.

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However, he said Morales has taken him to another level. He was asked how much he has improved under his new mentor in terms of percentage. His response: “50-70 percent,” a big number that might not bode well for potential foes at middleweight and beyond.

He cited a better defense and more effective combinations as specific areas in which he has grown.

“I don’t want to [minimize] the merits of people who have helped me in the past but Erik has helped me a lot,” he said. “He has helped me doing things I already knew, things I knew but didn’t know how to apply in the ring. Now I understand how to do it.”

Munguia is particularly excited to show what he can do in front of his hometown fans, who haven’t seen him fight in person since 2017.

The Ballard fight will take place in the Bullring by the Sea, an estimated 60 meters from the U.S. border. His father used to take him there when he was a child. He remembers an exciting, high-energy scene when Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fought there in the late 2000s.

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A strong performance there would be particularly gratifying for him.

“I’ve dreamed about fighting there. … I’m excited to show the people everything I can do as a fighter,” he said.

The oddsmakers have made a Munguia a significant favorite over Ballard (21-0-1, 13 KOs), meaning his fans will probably leave the arena satisfied with his performance. It will also lead to bigger and better challenges this year.

If he wins, his next fight could be against Carlos Adames, who recently upset Sergey Derevyanchenko. Then he would target one of the four titleholders, although he envisions facing a specific 160-pounder.

Gennadiy Golovkin had reached out to Munguia when Triple-G’s rematch with Canelo Alvarez fell through because Alvarez tested positive for a banned substance and was suspended in 2018. However, the Nevada State Athletic Commission wouldn’t allow it in part because of Munguia’s youth and relative inexperience.

Now a Golovkin-Munguia fight makes perfect sense, assuming a planned fight between Triple-G and fellow beltholder Ryota Murata takes place and Golovkin wins.

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“I didn’t get the opportunity to fight [Golovkin] but I still feel that would be one of the biggest fights in my career. The biggest, without a doubt,” Munguia said. “… Hopefully I’ll get a world title shot before the end of the year. That’s the plan.

“All I really want to do, though, is keep working, keep climbing and keep getting better.”

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usr: 1
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