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Jaime Munguia ‘feels stronger’ for move up to middleweight division

The former 154-pound titleholder debuts at 160 on Saturday against Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan.

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.

Jaime Munguia is set to move up to the 160-pound division this Saturday, headlining a DAZN card from San Antonio’s Alamodome.

Most expect the former 154-pound titleholder to come out with the win, but the 23-year-old Mexican brawler isn’t getting ahead of himself, indicating he has respect for his Irish opponent, a tough battler who always comes to fight.

“Gary O’Sullivan comes with a strong desire to win and a strong mentality, which will make for a tougher fight,” Munguia said at a media workout on Tuesday. “He’s a high-level fighter with a lot of experience. Fighting against him in my first fight at middleweight is a great opportunity to get a lot of experience.”

“He’s very strong and has a strong right hand, so we have to be careful. He’s a fighter that goes forward and throws punches very fast. He’ll suddenly explode with fast combinations, so we have to make sure we’re aware of that with my guard up.”

The move up to 160 has been coming for a while, even though Munguia is still a very young fighter and a work in progress. He was always big at junior middleweight, and says — as he would — that he feels stronger in camp this time around.

“The move to middleweight has its benefits because I don’t have to lose as much weight,” Munguia said. “I feel good at this weight. I feel stronger. The plan is to one day fight for a world title in this division. But right now we are concentrated on the fight we have in front of us.”

Saturday’s fight will be Munguia’s second with the legendary fighter Erik Morales in his corner as head trainer. Morales speaks highly of Munguia, while also admitting there’s still plenty of work to be done with the youngster.

“We’re working on Munguia’s technique more than anything,” Morales said. “Munguia is a very responsible fighter. He has lots of energy and loves to work. He also wants to learn. That was one of the conditions I had before starting with him. I wanted to make sure that he wanted to learn, and he has shown that he is ready and willing to learn what I have to teach him.”

“It’s always good to have someone with a lot of experience in your corner,” Munguia said of Morales. “Morales was in a lot of great fights with some of the best fighters in the world, so it’s always good to have someone like him on my team. He’s not trying to change my style. I’m going to keep my style, but we’ve also been working on my defense, speed, and knowing when to throw punches.”

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