Jaime Munguia started slow but finished fast, thrilling a Tijuana crowd with a hard and heavy third round TKO against D’Mitrius Ballard.
Munguia (39-0, 31 KO) didn’t do much in the first round, as Ballard (21-1-1, 13 KO) moved and circled, snapping jabs while avoiding most of Munguia’s return fire. Munguia found his target more frequently in the second, closing distance and trapping Ballard against the ropes.
Ballard had a narrow path to victory against an opponent with the one-shot power of Munguia. He stayed on it for two rounds, but a savage Munguia left hook in the third bent Ballard’s head sideways and effectively brought an end to the night.
JAIME MUNGUÍA FINISHES THIS ONE EARLY #MunguiaBallard pic.twitter.com/dIhmwG8DmZ— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 20, 2022
Ballard got back up, but couldn’t recover. The referee stepped in after Ballard lost his mouthpiece and failed to fight back against an onslaught of Munguia power punches.
Afterwards, Munguia insisted on addressing the disturbing video from yesterday where he appeared disoriented and on the verge of losing consciousness immediately after making weight. According to his translator, Munguia said he didn’t feel faint at the weigh-in, he just wanted to lay down on the floor in a crowd of people to catch his breath.
Munguia didn’t directly respond to a question from Chris Mannix that left the door open to demand a championship shot or a big name opponent. He instead chose to celebrate how far he’s come in his career to headline a major event in Mexico.
"It's a dream come true" - @jaimemunguia15 #MunguiaBallard pic.twitter.com/Vv1jrhV3ps— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 20, 2022
William Zepeda KO-3 Luis Viedas
The co-feature was a procession of nonsense, where William Zepeda fought Luis Viedas as a late replacement for Yerel Siezar.
Viedas (29-12-1, 10 KO) slipped and twisted his knee early in the first round in a soaking wet corner that had already caused problems in the previous fight. Frankly, the blue corner spent most of the night looking like it was home to a broken pipe, and it’s very fortunate that no one was seriously injured.
In the second, Viedas was knocked down, but got up and was credited for a very debatable knockdown of his own against Zepeda (25-0, 23 KO). Zepeda, frustrated by the call, promptly shoved Viedas down, and was immediately penalized a point for it.
What is going on? #MunguiaBallard pic.twitter.com/tgBf5MrXd7— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 20, 2022
Viedas went down twice in the third and was counted out on the second one. Replays showed a legit knockdown, but one that also included a late hit to the body on Viedas when the man was on all fours. Could have been a disqualification, but not seen and not called, so it goes in the books as a KO.
William Zepeda finishes it in Round 3— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 20, 2022
25-0 with 23 KOs for El Camaron #MunguiaBallard pic.twitter.com/D2ZnNdc6jT
Zepeda is 25, and put on a good performance as part of the first Ring City show in November 2020 where he knocked out Roberto Ramirez. Since then he’s been a regular presence on Golden Boy undercards, piling up knockouts against opponents mostly beneath his level.
The softest recent touch would have been an undefeated Siezar, who has three previous fights against opponents with winning records, and those three winning opponents were a combined 58-50-10. Instead he fought a guy a step down from Siezar, and banked another knockout.
Zepeda has already shown he can handle much better opposition than what he’s been fed recently. Hopefully, he’ll start getting challengers that can really bring out the best in him.
Diego Torres UD-10 Jonathan Escobedo Martinez
Jonathan Escobedo Martinez gave us all a very entertaining and unexpected show, bringing the 13 fight knockout streak of Diego Torres to an end. Martinez (8-3-1, 2 KO), who was identified as Jonathan Escobedo on the broadcast, fought with toughness and heart, and gave any future Diego Torres opponents a potential roadmap to victory.
Torres (14-0, 13 KO) controlled things through the first half, patiently countering the constant forward motion of Martinez and tenderizing his face with power punches. Torres put a bruise under his right eye early, then cut Escobedo by his left eye in the fourth round.
The referee stopped the fight for a medical evaluation in the fifth, and Martinez was told he could continue for one more round. He threw like a madman to try and make it count, and it marked a turning point in the action.
It looked like Martinez scored a knockdown in the sixth, but it was ruled a slip. No real argument here, as the corner where it happened was soaking wet. But Torres, who’d never gone past the 6th round before, started to struggle with fatigue and accumulated body punches. Torres couldn’t keep his mouth closed, and lost his mouthpiece on more than one occasion as Martinez continued to march forward.
We saw another doctor check in the 8th round, and Martinez was allowed to continue again. He responded by knocking the shield out of the mouth of Torres, who was visibly fatigued and eating punches that he’d slipped and dodged earlier in the fight.
Torres took a point deduction for spitting out the mouthpiece in round 9. It may have been an accident, because Torres was breathing through his mouth for the entire second half of the fight. But it was one time too many, and the deduction wasn’t really controversial.
Diego Torres loses his mouthpiece for a third time and the referee deducts a point #MunguiaBallard pic.twitter.com/Y99LPESeab— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 20, 2022
Martinez swept the last half of the fight on my card, and the point deduction would have given him a shocking upset if the judges had seen it the same way.
They did not.
Diego Torres wins by UD and remains undefeated, but the Tijuana crowd wasn't having it #MunguiaBallard pic.twitter.com/PyzLBsNjqC— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 20, 2022
I will admit that the 10th round was very debatable, and underdog fever may have swayed my judgment. But all I can say about a card that gave Torres nine out of ten rounds is that the Tijuana bullfighting arena that hosted this fight was a proper setting for it. Because it was a steaming pile of bullshit.
Rafael Espinoza KO-1 Alie Laurel
The opener didn’t take long, as Rafael Espinoza notched a knockout at 1:37 of the first round.
Alie Laurel hasn’t won a fight in two years, but he’d never been stopped before. Tonight, Espinoza (18-0, 15 KO) caught Laurel (18-7-1, 11 KO) early with something that put Laurel on the canvas and left him pawing uncomfortably at his eye.
Laurel never looked right again, no pun intended, and went down for the second and final time shortly thereafter. Laurel took the ten count while rubbing at his eyes, and Espinoza earned a full night’s pay for half a round’s work.
1ST ROUND KO for Rafael Espinoza #MunguiaBallard pic.twitter.com/HYWrHkypEh— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 20, 2022