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.
Munguia jabbed wonderfully, while showing good hand and foot speed. On a couple of occasions O’Sullivan did break through with a solid blow that temporarily shook the Mexican, but for the most part he was a step behind.
In the sixth round Munguia had a point deducted by referee Mark Calo-oy for landing a flagrantly low blow. The punishment was adding up. At the end of the 10th round O’Sullivan’s trainer, Packie Collins, was planning his man’s exit. When O’Sullivan was battered on the ropes the towel came flying into the ring. O’Sullivan went down as it was being stopped.
Munguia got the job done, but the reality is that he performed no better or worse than expected.
What happened to defending WBC and WBO super-middleweight champion Franchon Crews Dezurn in her match with Mexico’s Alejandra Jimenez was a first. Her corner did not pull the plug, they pulled the rug. With Crews Dezurn’s wig apparently affecting her vision, trainer Barry Hunter had the rug removed in the corner, over the fighter’s objections, right before the 10th and final round started. As upsetting as that was to the Baltimore boxer, losing her titles by split decision was worse, especially since it appeared she had done enough to retain them. Judge Ed Pearson had it 97-93 for Crews Dezurn, as did I, but was overruled by Glen Crocker’s 97-93 and Juan Ocampo’s 98-92 for Jimenez. John Schorle refereed.
Both looked far from polished as they flailed away wildly. The skill level was not first-rate but the entertainment value was.
Local Hector Tanajara won a unanimous 10-round decision over Mexico’s three-time world title challenger Juan Carlos Burgos by scores of 99-91 (Ruben Carrion) and 97-92 (Joel Elizondo and Ellis Johnson). Wilfredo Esperon refereed.
Burgos landed well to the body, but Tanajara, boxing in his hometown for the first time, was too strong and quick over the course of the match.
Austin, Texas’ Travell Mazion admitted that he did not expect the left hook to the liver to hurt seasoned Mexican Fernando Castaneda to the extent that it did. Castaneda went down, struggled up and then fell to the canvas in agony where he was counted out by referee Rafael Ramos at 58 seconds of the opening round of a 10.
A barrage of blows from San Antonio’s Joshua Franco had Guadalajara’s Jose Burgos in serious trouble when referee Ramos stepped in at 2-13 of the ninth round of their 10. Franco had been in control throughout.
Dallas’ George Rincon dropped Buenos Aires’ Diego Perez three times in the opening round of a scheduled six before it was stopped by Esperon at 2-53.
The Verdict Munguia makes his first move at middleweight.
Jaime Munguia (159 1/2lbs), 35-0 (28), w rsf 11 Gary O’Sullivan (159 1/2lbs), 30-4 (21); Alejandra Jimenez (164 1/2lbs), 13-0-1 (9), w pts 10 Franchon Crews Dezurn (168lbs), 6-2 (2); Hector Tanajara (134 1/2lbs), 19-0 (5), w pts 10 Juan Carlos Burgos (134 1/2lbs), 33-4-2 (21); Joshua Franco (115lbs), 16-1-2 (8), w rsf 9 Jose Burgos (114lbs), 17-3 (14); Travell Mazion (153 1/2lbs), 17-0 (13), w rsf 1 Fernando Castaneda (159lbs), 26-14-1 (17); George Rincon (139 1/2lbs), 10-0 (7), w rsf 1 Diego Perez (142lbs), 13-10-1 (11); Hector Valdez (121 1/2lbs), 12-0 (8), w rsf 3 Luis Rios (122lbs), 25-6-1 (17); James Wilkins (129 1/2lbs), 9-1 (6), w rsf 6 James Early (129lbs), 4-6; Tristan Kalkreuth (184lbs), 4-0 (3), w rsf 1 Blake LaCaze (182lbs), 4-8-2 (2).