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Jaime Munguia looking to make big impression with new trainer Erik Morales

Erik Morales and Jaime Munguia look for a successful trainer-fighter debut next month.

Tom Hogan-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

It’s easy to think that WBO junior middleweight titleholder Jaime Munguia is stepping his competition down a bit when he takes to the ring again on Sept. 14 to face Patrick Allottey, but that partially comes from hindsight.

You have to remember that when Munguia faced Dennis Hogan on April 13 in Monterrey, Mexico, he was supposed to win easily and move on to a big opponent. Hogan was just a mandatory challenger, one of the many in boxing whose path to “earning” a world title shot was plenty questionable. Nobody expected what happened to happen.

Hogan gave Munguia fits, deserving the victory in the eyes of many only to have it taken from him on majority decision scores from judges Richard Levine, Rocky Young, and Waleska Roldan.

Post-fight, there was controversy not just about the scoring, but a lack of drug testing and various other complaints made by Team Hogan. Being boxing, and being that Dennis Hogan wasn’t supposed to be competitive in the first place, pretty much all of this fell on deaf ears with anyone who might be able to do something.

The 22-year-old Munguia (33-0, 26 KO) has far more skeptical eyes on him as a result of that fight. A year ago at this time, Munguia had come pretty much out of nowhere to trounce Sadam Ali, winning his first world title, and then score a very solid and earned victory over former titleholder Liam Smith. He was gearing up to defend his belt again against Brandon Cook on Sept. 15, part of the Canelo-Golovkin II card in Las Vegas, a big spot on a big card. He would wipe Cook out in three and keep the hype train rolling.

This year, Munguia started off fine, beating Takeshi Inoue by decision in January, but the Hogan fight raised a lot of legitimate questions about Munguia’s ceiling and his preparation. On the latter count, he’s parted with trainer Robert Alcazar and replaced him with Hall of Famer Erik Morales, a great fighter but just getting his feet wet as a chief second.

Munguia’s first test with Morales will come Sept. 14 on DAZN, live from Carson, California, as he defends his belt against Ghanaian veteran Patrick Allotey (40-3, 30 KO), a 28-year-old with a fluffed-up record, ranked No. 140 in the world by BoxRec. Even compared to Hogan’s pre-fight credentials, Allottey is a soft touch, and that’s clearly by design.

“I feel very happy to be the main event for this Mexican Independence Day fight,” Munguia said at a press conference on Tuesday. “It’s going to be a great day for boxing and a great day for Mexico.

“My desire on September 14th is to demonstrate everything I’ve been learning with my new trainer Erik Morales. I have a great fighter in front of me and we are going to show it in the ring.”

Morales, now 42 and seven years removed from the last fight of his career, also hopes for good results with the new pairing.

“I’m very grateful to be working with Munguia. He’s a great fighter and a young fighter with a lot of desire to show,” Morales said. “It reminds me of when I was younger. He has been improving over our last two months of working together. I assure you that the Munguia you know will be different, but will also deliver the same explosive style he has. We are showing him and guiding him.”

Munguia made his name on physically bullying opposition, overwhelming guys like Ali and Cook especially with raw power and aggression. But Hogan showed he can be outboxed.

The key going forward for Munguia will not be to change him entirely — that never works, fighters have their own styles, either naturally or how they were initially taught, and at the core, they are who they are. What he can do, though, is tweak that, fine-tune the skills and gifts he has, and become smarter and more complete. Jaime Munguia is never going to be a master technician, but at 22 there’s every reason to believe he can be better at what he does well than he has been so far.

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