Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim sees the super middleweight debut of Jaime Munguia. The Mexican is dropped into 168 pound waters pretty gently though, with a twelve rounder with Jimmy ‘Kilrain’ Kelly his first assignment at the weight.
DAZN televise the Golden Boy Promotions clash between Munguia and Kelly live.
Munguia (39-0, 31 KOs) may hold one of the longest current unbeaten streaks in the sport, but since moving to middleweight from super welterweight, his career has largely stalled, mainly due to his calibre of opposition.
The 25-year-old first came to wider prominence in May 2018, when he ripped the WBO super welterweight belt from Sadam Ali in a ruthless four round stoppage win, and then impressively defended against Liam Smith on the cards just two months later.
Four successful defences followed before a move to middleweight, and that move began with a January 2020 eleventh round halting of Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in San Antonio.
That has been much the level of opposition since, with back-to-back sixth round retirement wins over Tureano Johnson and Kamil Szeremeta, proceeding a wide points victory over Gabe Rosado in November last year.
The Mexican’s last appearance came in February back in his homeland, where he halted D’Mitrius Ballard in three rounds.
Munguia has only gained a WBO Intercontinental strap in his time at 160 pounds, and it is unclear whether this move in weight is a permanent one.
View this post on Instagram
Kelly (26-2, 10 KOs) isn’t expected to provide many answers. The 29-year-old man was a mainstay of the Manchester small hall circuit, but after winning a WBO Intercontinental belt at super welterweight, he was catapulted into a WBO title shot in December 2015, stopped in seven by Liam Smith.
Seven comeback wins followed and Kelly was then undone out in Australia, losing a decision to Dennis Hogan.
View this post on Instagram
He has won three straight since that setback, his last a majority nod against Kanat Islam in February, in which he claimed the vacant WBO Global belt at middleweight.
Prediction: It’s not entirely clear what the plans are going forward for Munguia, but a fight with Jimmy ‘Kilrain’ Kelly will do little to wet the fans’ appetites. The Mexican should move on swiftly here, and can halt the Englishman before halfway.
In a lightweight ten rounder, Oscar Duarte Jurado is in with Filipino contender, Mark Bernaldez.
Jurado (22-1-1, 17 KOs) is on a run of seven straight wins in Mexico after a May 2019 split decision loss to Adrian Estrella, while Bernaldez (23-5, 17 KOs) is coming off a three round stoppage defeat to Andres Cortes last November.
Prediction: Bernaldez has been halted three times in five defeats, and I expect Jurado to add to that tally.
At welterweight, Evan Anthony Sanchez (11-0, 6 KOs) should remain unbeaten in his eight round contest against Carlos Ortiz Cervantes (12-5, 12 KOs) and can win inside the distance.
Super welterweight prospect, Jorge Estrada Ramirez (2-0, 2 KOs) should also extend his winning run with an early win against debutant Hassan Coleman.
There’s a world title attraction on the undercard, where Costa Rica’s Yokasta Valle (24-2, KO9)defends her IBF Minimumweight title for a fifth time against inexperienced Californian, Lorraine Villalobos (5-3, KO2).
Valle fights in the USA for the first time, and has a lot more world title form than her opponent, and she should retain on points.