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Preview: Jaime Munguia looks to avoid slip-up against Gabriel Rosado

Jaime Munguia is in prime position for a big fight, but cannot look past Gabriel Rosado on Saturday.

Jaime Munguia has to avoid upset against Gabriel Rosado
Jaime Munguia has to avoid upset against Gabriel Rosado
Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Main Event

Much like fellow weekend headliner David Benavidez, Jaime Munguia is perhaps right in line for a big fight next year, but he has an opponent to get through this weekend. Munguia faces Gabriel Rosado this Saturday night on DAZN.

Munguia (37-0, 30 KO) burst onto the scene in 2018, taking a short notice fight for the WBO 154 lb title against Sadam Ali, who had sent Miguel Cotto into retirement in his previous outing. Munguia dominated Ali from the outset and stopped him early in the fourth round to take the belt, coming halfway out of nowhere as a new potential Mexican superstar.

He showed his quality again in his next fight just two months later, winning a deserved decision over former titlist Liam Smith, who is still a contender at 154 to this day. And since then, that has stood as Munguia’s best win, as the brakes have been pumped just a bit, but not without Munguia showing an honesty and awareness that sometimes misses fighters who get a young star push.

Munguia won easy defenses against Brandon Cook and Takeshi Inoue, but had a ton of trouble with the sound and tricky Dennis Hogan, escaping via controversial decision in Monterrey. Munguia felt he’d done enough to win, but also known he hadn’t had the best showing, and hired Erik Morales as his new trainer.

Jaime did one more fight at 154, a smashing of over-matched Patrick Allotey, then moved up to middleweight, where he’s beaten Spike O’Sullivan, Tureano Johnson, and Kamil Szeremeta, all by stoppage (though the Johnson stoppage was due to a terrible lip cut). He’s still an aggressive, action fighter at heart, and he’s simply never going to be turned into a defensive specialist. Munguia still lumbers a bit, but has tightened up his overall game under Morales as the two have developed some chemistry, and has heavy hands and a big body at 160, even if it’s not the huge advantage he had at 154 most of the time.

Rosado (26-13-1, 15 KO) has been around the block twice over at this point. The 35-year-old native of Philadelphia earned his way in the sport, learning on the job once he turned pro in 2006. He was never coddled, never protected, and he never got to build up a shiny record, He suffered his first pro loss in his sixth fight, but all in all you have to say he’s done OK for himself for a guy who started 14-5 and has only gone 12-8-1 since then.

Records don’t always tell the story in boxing or even half of it. There are hundreds and hundreds of fighters out there right now with much shinier records than Rosado who couldn’t lace his boots. He’s a crafty, hard-nosed, skilled fighter who has gotten this matchup because he wiped out Bektemir “Bek the Bully” Melikuziev in June, on the Munguia-Szeremeta undercard. Melikuziev is a dangerous fighter at 168 lbs, but Rosado caught him and finished him with one brutal shot, rallying from being dropped in the first.

Munguia is definitely expected to win here; more often than not, obviously, Rosado doesn’t get the W in fights at this level. A few have been hard luck, and other times he was just out of his depth. Munguia’s a good fighter who brings pressure and, as Rosado has noted, isn’t going to be someone the veteran has to chase around.

At this stage of his career, Rosado fights smarter, not harder, unless the opponent makes him fight harder. If Munguia has the approach expected, it should be a banger, because “King Gabe” does not back down from a war if that’s what a fight is going to be.

Undercard

Jaime Munguia v Kamil Szeremeta Photo by Sye Williams/Golden Boy/Getty Images

Golden Boy undercards have a decent reputation in the last few years for providing solid entertainment if not always marquee bouts, and the “solid entertainment” will be the hope for this one.

Welterweight Alexis “Lex” Rocha (17-1, 11 KO) is the A-side of the co-feature, as he looks to win his second straight following a loss to Rashidi Ellis just over a year ago. The 24-year-old southpaw was out-foxed by the talented “Speedy” Rashidi, but has otherwise passed the tests he’s faced thus far, and has time to really get going.

He’ll be taking on Jeovanis Barraza (23-1, 15 KO), a 26-year-old Colombian with a very “Colombian” record, which is to say he’s inflated his wins and losses by trouncing mostly scrubs at home. He was the opponent for Gabriel Maestre’s pro debut in July 2019 and was stopped in the second round, but has won three straight.

Press releases call D’Mitrius Ballard a “middleweight contender,” but at 28 he hasn’t really made any strides in his pro career after a solid amateur run. Ballard (20-0-1, 13 KO) has been a pro for nearly nine years now, and has been fighting at the same middling level for about four of those now. In his last outing, he went to a draw with Yamaguchi Falcao, but that was also 23 months ago, and Falcao’s pro limitations had already been exposed a bit, too.

“Big Meech” isn’t stepping up any for this return to action, as he faces 34-year-old Mexican Paul Valenzuela Jr (26-9, 17 KO), who is best if at all known for losses — his last one came in 2019, when Steven Butler blitzed him out in just 38 seconds in Montreal. He’s also fought and lost to Khasan Baysangurov, Jaime Munguia, Tony Harrison, Wilky Campfort, Alantez Fox, Esquiva Falcao, and Alan Campa.

Valenzuela can crack a bit, and he winds up hanging around in fights every bit as often as he gets overwhelmed. If Ballard comes into this one rusty or just way too confident, he could get shocked. It’s unlikely, but the ingredients for the chance are there.

Lightweight prospect William Zepeda (23-0, 21 KO) will look to impress again, as he gets another Golden Boy slot after he beat up on previously undefeated Hector Tanajara Jr in July. Zepeda really turned some heads in that outing, and Golden Boy will probably be looking to make something out of him in a lightweight division that has a lot of hot talent.

He’ll be facing John Vincent Moralde (24-4, 13 KO), a young veteran at age 27 who has been a pro for 10 years. Moralde’s W-L record is uneven; his best opponents have pretty much all beaten him, including decision losses to Toka Kahn Clary and Jamel Herring, and stoppages against Xavier Martinez and Jose Enrique Vivas. If Zepeda looks like he did in July, it could be a short night for the Filipino.

Odds

Munguia is a sizable favorite, with DraftKings listing him at -700 for Saturday, with Rosado at +500. It’s not the first time Rosado has faced those sort of odds, though, and wouldn’t be the first time he defied them.

The undercard bouts are considered even more one-sided on paper:

  • Alexis Rocha -1100 vs Jeovanis Barraza +650
  • D’Mitrius Ballard -1100 vs Paul Valenzuela Jr +650
  • William Zepeda -4000 vs John Vincent Moralde +1300

How to Watch

Munguia vs Rosado streams live on DAZN this Saturday, November 13, beginning at 9 pm ET. Bad Left Hook will have full live coverage.

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