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Jimmy Kelly: Aggression plays into Jaime Munguia’s strengths, I’ll stay loose

Jimmy Kelly will hope to shock the boxing world against Jaime Munguia on Saturday.

Jimmy Kelly is looking to shock the boxing world against Jaime Munguia
Jimmy Kelly is looking to shock the boxing world against Jaime Munguia
Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Jimmy Kelly has a big opportunity this coming Saturday, as he’ll face Jaime Munguia in a Golden Boy main event in Anaheim, live on DAZN.

The bout is advertised as a super middleweight fight, which may mean it’s at a full 168 or a catchweight between 160 and 168. Munguia, of course, is a middleweight contender and still planning to stay in that division, while Kelly is really a 154 lb fighter who did score a good middleweight win in February, upsetting Kanat Islam in Florida.

Kelly (26-2, 10 KO) is a massive underdog here, and while promoter Oscar De La Hoya may not know who he is, many of you may have seen Kelly lose a WBO junior middleweight title shot against Liam Smith in 2015, or to Dennis Hogan in 2018. Smith dominated and stopped Kelly, while Hogan won a clear decision in Australia.

The 29-year-old Kelly saw this fight come together on short notice, but says he’s feeling good ahead of time.

“I have been waiting for a good opportunity to happen,” he said at Wednesday’s media workout. “When the phone rang, even though it was only four weeks’ notice, I decided to do it. Fortunately I was already in training for a show so I felt comfortable saying yes.”

“I am feeling very good about my first time on the west coast,” he added, as the Florida bout in February was his first in the United States. “I feel settled in. I am looking forward to the opportunity.”

Munguia (39-0, 31 KO) is the younger man at 25, but a former titleholder at 154 who has established himself as a contender at 160. Kelly, who is listed as a +1400 underdog with Munguia an enormous -5000 favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, knows the challenge he’s up against.

“Jaime has a lot of experience, he’s unbeaten, he’s a big puncher,” he said. “I have trained accordingly and am looking forward to Saturday night.

“I focus on myself. I know some fighters have taken an aggressive approach and perhaps they have played into the hands of Munguia. Perhaps a loose approach is something to look at.”

For Jimmy Kelly, it’s the chance to rocket into relevance for a wider audience, and coming off the back of the best win of his career, his confidence should be solid. But he’s as big an underdog as he is for a reason, and it will take some doing to pull this upset.

Bad Left Hook will have live coverage for Munguia vs Kelly on Saturday, June 11, starting at 8 pm ET.

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