WHEN a fighter the calibre of Jaime Munguia is treading water the solution invariably becomes to change trainers or weight divisions. Munguia took it a step further by doing both – adding Erik Morales to his team and giving up the WBO super-welterweight title to compete at middleweight. It was not exactly like Munguia’s career was in need of a facelift. His record is perfect, with five successful title defences to its credit. Despite that, he has failed to live up to expectations as the next Mexican superstar. The man from Tijuana has underperformed in some fights he was expected to win handily.
Maybe it is time to accept that Munguia, 23, is simply a very good fighter and nothing more. There is no shame in that. But because of what was forecast for Munguia after he destroyed Sadam Ali to win his world title, it is hard to rid ourselves of the perception he is a special talent. Certainly his middleweight showcase against Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, a 35-year-old warhorse from Cork, Ireland did not discourage that.
By most measures O’Sullivan was the perfect opponent. Although the Irishman is a fighter of substance, every time he has stepped up in class he’s been beaten comprehensively, yet Spike can swat with both hands so the proverbial puncher’s chance was always in play the moment the bell rang at the Alamodome (Golden Boy Promotions). But things played out as expected. Munguia dominated in stopping O’Sullivan at 2-17 of the 11th round after being in charge throughout. Afterward he predictably spoke of how much stronger he felt at middleweight and how having Morales in the corner helped.