JAIME MUNGUIA signalled his arrival at middleweight when he halted a typically brave and tough Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan in the 11th round at San Antonio’s Alamodome.
The unbeaten Mexican relinquished his WBO super-welterweight strap so he could campaign at 160lbs, a division where opportunity awaits as long-term leaders, Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs, seemingly plot their futures in higher weight classes.
Some predicted an early win for 23-year-old Munguia, 35-0 (28), and they were nearly proved right when a searing left hook rocked the Irishman in the opening round.
But all bets were almost off in the third. O’Sullivan scored with a left hook and right of his own. It looked like Jaime Munguia was out on his feet, perilously close to defeat. Even at the start of the fourth the fog was yet to clear but Spike, wary of his rival, failed to capitalise.
Erik Morales, now Munguia’s head trainer, gave his charge encouragement between rounds and it wasn’t long before the slugger was back in control. His jab, a forceful, thumping lead, stole O’Sullivan’s confidence and allowed Munguia to dictate both the pace and the distance.
Try as he might, the 35-year-old Irishman struggled to replicate his earlier success. By the end of the 10th, he was taking a steady beating and his corner questioned the point of going on. But Spike demanded another chance, which he was granted yet it was clear the end was nigh.
A right and left scored in the 11th before a series of blows, wrapped up with another ripping right, saw O’Sullivan hit the canvas. The towel swiftly followed and, at 2-17 of the penultimate round, Spike’s courageous mission was called off.
In the aftermath, Munguia called out both Canelo and GGG, as well Jermall Charlo, but the Mexican should be in no rush. Though his power got the job done, some of his approach play remains raw and – despite being a former world titlist – he remains a work in progress.