Alvarez floors Munguia, retains world championship via unanimous decision

Sean Sullivan @ ringside


Alvarez floors Munguia, retains world championship via unanimous decision

Canelo Alvarez W12 Jaime Munguia... Experience overcame youth in front of 17,492 feverish boxing fans at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as Saul "Canelo" Alvarez scored a fourth-round knockdown and went on to defeat Jaime Munguia by unanimous decision. Alvarez warded off a spirited effort from a much younger Munguia in an all-Mexican battle on Cinco De Mayo weekend.The official scores, 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112, enabled Alvarez to retain the undisputed world super middleweight championship. Alvarez (61-2-2) lost the first two rounds of the fight but took control in round three. Munguia, a former 154-pound title holder, suffered his first defeat in 44 pro fights. Munguia said afterwards, "he definitely beat me. The loss hurts."

“I feel proud of this fight. I think all the Mexicans and all the fans enjoyed it,” said Canelo, regarding the significance of the matchup. 

The PBC on Prime pay-per-view headliner was the first undisputed world title bout fought between two Mexicans since March 19, 1972, when Rafael Herrera defeated Ruben Olivares for the bantamweight championship in Mexico City. The four-division world champion Canelo is from Guadalajara, Jalisco, with Munguia, a WBO junior middleweight titlist, hailing from Tijuana, Baja California.
Canelo, 166.8 pounds, began by targeting the body of the taller Munguia, as the challenger used his longer reach to pump a stiff jab and move effectively. The Freddie Roach-trained Munguia was not at all in awe of the magnitude of this event nor of his world class opponent. Exhibiting an abundance of youthful energy, Munguia took advantage of Canelo’s slow start and economical punch output, throwing lots of wild combinations. In round three, as Canelo plodded forward, Munguia caught him flush with a series of power shots. 
Gaining confidence, Munguia, 167.4 lbs., was willing to trade punches with the Mexican legend. However, that decision cost Munguia in the fourth round when Canelo sent him to the canvas for the first time in his career with a left hook-right uppercut combination.
“I could have finished the fight, but I took my time,” said Canelo of the knockdown. “I don’t want to make mistakes.”
“When he hit me with the uppercut, I was more surprised than hurt. It was a good punch,” said Munguia. “I think I got desperate to recover after the knockdown and started to change my game. I was winning the first rounds, then after the knockdown, I started to fall to his game and he overcame me with his experience.”
Last year’s “Fight of the Year” war against Sergiy Derevyanchenko certainly helped prepare Munguia for a moment like this, as he recovered well from the knockdown and was game down the stretch. He just didn’t have the firepower to keep the granite-chinned Canelo off of him and the champion was always ready with a sharp counterpunch. Now in full control of the bout, Canelo appeared to stun Munguia multiple times with left hooks, overhand rights and right uppercuts. 
Munguia may have been visibly hurt by those punches, but he never faltered, pressing forward and fighting back. With a sense of urgency in the final round, Munguia looked to end strong with an extended rally. Canelo waited for the outburst to wane and landed counter hooks and overhand rights to assert his dominance in the closing moments.
After a dozen rounds of exciting action, Canelo defended his super middleweight throne for the seventh time, and fourth as undisputed champion, via unanimous decision. The judges tallied 117-110, 116-111, and 115-112, all for Canelo, now 61-2-2 (39 KOs). CompuBox had Canelo connecting on 234 of 536 punches thrown, with Munguia hitting the target 170 times out of 663 attempts. 
“Canelo is a fighter with a lot of experience. I thought I was winning the early rounds until I got caught in the fourth,” said Munguia, who suffered the first blemish on his now 43-1 (34 KOs) record. “I caught him with good punches and hurt him in some rounds. I believe he was bothered by my punches to the body. This was a great learning experience for me. I am going to come back from this stronger.”
“I thought Jaime fought well against the current face of boxing,” said Munguia’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya. “I take nothing away from Canelo, he’s a good fighter in the ring. This experience for Jaime will take him to another level. It’s just like Canelo against Mayweather. This is just the beginning for Jaime.”
In 2013, a 23-year-old Canelo took on a 36-year-old Floyd Mayweather Jr., who at the time was the pound-for-pound king and face of boxing. By then, the Mexican was a unified super welterweight champion, just not yet a superstar. Canelo lost, but gained experience at the elite level. Now, it was Munguia’s turn to be taught a lesson by a master craftsman.
Canelo expressed respect for his adversary, saying, “Munguia will definitely learn a lot. He did a good job and fought his hardest. He will be better for it. He was hurt and he still came forward and tried. I admire his bravery.”
For Canelo, this fight was reminiscent of Marvelous Marvin Hagler’s performance against John Mugabi. In his sixth year as middleweight world champion, making his twelfth title defense, Hagler was facing a 24-year-old undefeated knockout artist. Hagler turned back Mugabi’s challenge in impressive fashion, but not without showing moments of vulnerability.
In his 25th world title appearance, the 33-year-old Canelo, a pro since age 15, showed signs of aging and wear-and-tear, but he also proved that he still has plenty left in the tank to compete at the top level of the sport and dominate younger, fresher fighters.  “I knew Munguia would be tough. I did what I needed to do to win,” said Canelo. “He’s strong and he’s smart, but he’s a little slow. So I could do things fast, turn my punches and throw combinations. Every now and then, I caught him with my uppercut.”