David Benavidez and Jaime Munguia both did what was expected of them on Saturday night, scoring main event wins on Showtime and DAZN, respectively, and leaving no doubt about who the better fighter was in those rings.
But now there’s a bigger question that awaits each man, and they’re coming in from different angles, with — I believe — far different chances at getting the biggest money fight possible in May of next year against Canelo Alvarez.
Did Benavidez or Munguia do enough to get the Canelo fight in May?
Benavidez’s win over Kyrone Davis and Munguia’s over Gabriel Rosado went to script, more or less. Both fighters were major favorites; Benavidez got the stoppage, Munguia won a one-sided if entertaining decision.
Benavidez (25-0, 22 KO) has the better chance at landing Canelo, probably. There’s been far more buzz about that as a potential next fight for the superstar undisputed champion, with Benavidez a former two-time titlist at 168 lbs, and still competing in that division. Most fans believe he is the last and biggest threat for Canelo at super middleweight, as he’s pretty much run roughshod unifying the division with wins over Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders, and Caleb Plant.
Stylistically, Benavidez is an attractive option, and he’s with Premier Boxing Champions and Showtime, who just promoted Canelo-Plant on Nov. 6, with Canelo expressing his happiness working with PBC for the first time. Alvarez isn’t signed with any promoter, because like Floyd Mayweather before him, he doesn’t have to be. He can take the best offers out there, and right now, PBC may have the best offer in Benavidez.
Munguia (38-0, 30 KO) is a Golden Boy fighter, which has a few layers as far as Canelo is concerned. On the one hand, Canelo might relish the opportunity to beat one of the few remaining main event fighters Golden Boy have on roster at the moment. On the other hand, Canelo may not want to work with them again any time soon. That wasn’t a situation that all fell apart at once; there had been reports of Canelo not wanting much to do with the Golden Boy brass, particularly Oscar De La Hoya, for a couple of years before they finally split in late 2020.
Munguia is also fighting at 160 lbs and would have to go up. While you may think he’d be more interested in winning a belt at middleweight before jumping to 168, an offer like a Canelo fight may simply never come around again, so if he were to get one, he might have to take the leap. If you lose to Canelo Alvarez at 168, big deal, that’s not going to stop you from fighting for a belt at 160 any more than Canelo losing to Floyd Mayweather in 2013 derailed his rise to superstardom.
But Munguia is a major darkhorse to land Canelo next, unless DAZN were to pony up huge money for an offer — or Triller, I guess, but a lot has changed for Triller in combat sports since those May reports of Golden Boy possibly jumping to work with them at the end of 2021. After the embarrassment of the Lopez-Kambosos situation and a pretty clear failure to deliver on their “one Tuesday a month at the Hulu Theater” deal, the flailing company are now trying to get people to believe they’ve invented the rules of BKFC but inside of a ... triangle.
In short, Benavidez was already a top option for May, and still will be, while Munguia is barely on the fringes of the conversation right now, even if Oscar De La Hoya occasionally likes to acknowledge the idea as something he wants to do.
Next for Kiko Martinez and Alycia Baumgardner after world title upsets?
It was an absolutely terrible night for reigning world titleholders in Sheffield, England, as both Kid Galahad and Terri Harper were upset and dropped their belts fighting in front of home fans who had come out to see them make defenses.
Galahad looked in control for about 14 minutes and 45 seconds of his fight with Kiko Martinez, and then it all crumbled. Martinez, the 35-year-old Spanish veteran who had absolutely been chosen for the fight because Galahad’s side thought he’d lose, cracked the titleholder with a right hand. Galahad went down, and he never recovered. He had no legs going back to his corner to end round five, and he had no legs coming out for round six; trainer Dominic Ingle had to be hoping for the sound of the bell to awaken his fighter and provide a miracle.
Didn’t happen. One more right hand, and Galahad was knocked out, and Kiko Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KO) became a two-division world champion at a point in his career where it was just assumed that was beyond his ability anymore.
Galahad (28-2, 17 KO) has a rematch clause and should probably be expected to take it — the fight could happen in the UK again, or it could go to Spain, where Matchroom have promoted and boxing does do some decent crowds. If anyone has earned a home world title defense, it’s Kiko Martinez. That’s not set in stone, but you have to figure Galahad is fuming with himself over switching off and getting caught, because that’s what happened. He dominated that fight for almost five entire rounds before he got drilled. But he did, and he lost — no controversy about that.
Alycia Baumgardner took the WBC junior lightweight title from Harper in arguably even more convincing fashion. While Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn believes the fight was competitive — and it was more competitive than Galahad-Martinez had been, sure — I didn’t see it that way, and notably neither did DAZN analyst Tony Bellew, if you want a fighter’s opinion instead of mine.
Baumgardner (11-1, 7 KO) put it on Harper (11-1-1, 6 KO) from the opening bell, and Harper never really got into the fight. Baumgardner looked relaxed, energetic, and extremely confident. Harper looked tense, flat, and unsure of herself once she got a taste of Baumgardner’s speed and movement. That’s not to say Terri landed nothing or didn’t have her moments, but I thought she’d lost all three rounds before she got knocked stiff standing and stopped in the fourth. She’d been hurt in the second, and Baumgardner might have been able to do even more then, but she laid off and waited for another opportunity.
The 27-year-old Baumgardner was a dangerous underdog coming in, I truly believed that and said it repeatedly on our site. And again, if you want something that isn’t my opinion, the odds were much closer for Harper-Baumgardner than for Galahad-Martinez, too, though Harper was still a solid favorite.
If I were in the position to give the fighters advice, I’d have very different presentations for Galahad and Harper. I’d tell Galahad to go for the immediate rematch; the loss to Martinez was very real, but he can beat Kiko, and was doing so fairly handily. He’s also 31 years old and in what should be his career’s prime. Not saying it’s now or never to regain a belt, but he’s the fighter he’s going to be, basically.
For Harper, I’d advise against going in against Baumgardner again straight away. Terri missed a year with a bad hand injury and could use a get-well win or two, get herself back on form, then go after a title again, be it Baumgardner or someone else. She’s also 25 and can still get better than she is right now. She’s had some really good nights — notably her title win over Eva Wahlstrom — and some tough ones, too, her controversial draw with Tasha Jonas and now this loss to Baumgardner, both of those fights exposing some of her flaws. Harper has time to take a breath, get back to work, and tighten up her defense especially.
For Baumgardner, she’ll have potential unification options with Mikaela Mayer and Hyun Mi Choi. The Mayer fight seems a no-brainer, and I bet Top Rank would love to have that one if they can do it. Mayer is now in a position where ESPN are having her headline, at least on ESPN+ shows, and a three-belt unification with a fellow American — who talks a good game, as does Mayer — could be the best fight out there for Mikaela at the moment.