This weekend’s boxing schedule is packed! Not with anything particularly great, but it’s PACKED!
Friday night will see Hiroto Kyoguchi defend his 108 lb title against Esteban Bermudez, then across the world on Saturday we’ll have such blockbusters as Jaime Munguia vs Jimmy Kelly, Edgar Berlanga vs Roamer Alexis Angulo, Trevor Bryan vs Daniel Dubois, and Richard Riakporhe vs Fabio Turchi!
Anyway, we’ve taken time from our lives to make some predictions. Here they are.
Jaime Munguia vs Jimmy Kelly
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage for Munguia vs Kelly on Saturday, June 11, starting at 8 pm ET.
Scott Christ (34-18)
The fight’s promoter has no idea who the B-side here is. I do! Because despite not being “the biggest fight fan ever” like the fight’s promoter, I have seen Jimmy Kelly fight.
I saw Liam Smith beat the stuffing out of him in a ridiculous 154 lb title fight in 2015, when Kelly got the appointment as an opponent despite being nowhere near a contender. He definitely improved after that, and gave Dennis Hogan a decent fight in 2018, losing a decision. He upset Kanat Islam last time out, a legitimately solid win for him at 160.
This fight is happening at “super middleweight,” which I suspect just means a contract weight that ain’t 160 but probably won’t be a full 168. Kelly is very game, he comes to fight, he will try his best. He might want to not go right at Munguia, but Munguia probably will make him sooner than later. Munguia is fun to watch, but he needs better opponents. This is getting ridiculous. Munguia TKO-6
Wil Esco (39-13)
For a fighter who’s about to enter his 40th professional fight you would think Jaime Munguia should be well prepared to swim in the deep end of the talent pool by now, but alas it’s not to be.
So just how good is Jaime Munguia? Well, he’s pretty good, no doubt, but I just don’t see how opponents like Jimmy Kelly are going to bring the best out of him. I suppose still only being 25 years old means that Munguia still has plenty of time ahead of him, but I do worry that if he gets too comfortable resting on his laurels while taking on second-tier opposition it may only hinder his growth. Or perhaps Golden Boy knows more than we do and they already have a firm grasp of what Munguia’s ceiling is and are matching him appropriately to keep from getting him exposed. I suppose we’ll never know with absolute certainty if the bigger fights for Munguia never materialize. For now, though, Kelly is the type of fighter Munguia should feast on. Munguia TKO-5
John Hansen (40-12)
Back in early September of 2006, when Bad Left Hook was less than three months old, I was lucky enough to live in one of the seven cities where Idiocracy got a one week theatrical release. The studio that released it did no publicity, offered no advance screenings for reviews, and the ticket I bought only identified the movie as “Untitled Mike Judge Project.”
20th Century Fox dumped Idiocracy as briefly and anonymously as possible, and only to satisfy a contractual obligation. It didn’t matter, as Idiocracy found an enormous cult following once it hit home video. And, like Catch-22 and Sophie’s Choice, it lives on as a part of the English language, arguably over and above the impact it made as a work of art.
Three months later, I went to a store (because that was a thing that people still did back in 2006) to buy a CD (because that was a way that people acquired music back in 2006). On December 29th of that year, I spent hard American currency on True Magic from Mos Def. It looked like a bootleg copy. Clear plastic case, and not a jewel case, but a cloudy plastic one. No artwork. No booklet. No credits. Just a lonely, two-color disc jammed in a cheap, ugly box.
It wasn’t the worst day for buying music of my life (that would be a double-barrel shotgun blast to the heart on June 24, 2003), but it was probably the second worst. The album was unfathomably bad. Most of it didn’t even sound like it had been properly mixed or mastered. Eventually, I found out that Mos Def had just slapped it together and did the bare minimum to dump it out in order to satisfy a contractual obligation to his record company.
Saturday, Jaime Munguia fights Jimmy Kelly. Jimmy Kelly has losses to Dennis Hogan and Liam “Beefy” Smith. Both of those men have already lost to Jaime Munguia. Officially, at least, in the case of Hogan. Both Munguia and Kelly are middleweights. But neither is going to have to bother with straining to make 160 pounds, because this is officially a super middleweight fight.
I’ve learned what a minimum effort to satisfy a contractual obligation looks like. If you tune in on Saturday night, you’ll get a chance to experience it for yourself. In this instance, it’s going to be more like idiocracy than Idiocracy.
And, if anyone knows Mos Def, tell him he owes me money. Munguia KO-4
Patrick Stumberg (41-11)
The most charitable interpretation of Munguia’s inexplicably mismanaged career is that it’s being run by committee. The Charlo debacle suggests that there he’s got too many cooks in the kitchen, meaning any plan for progression gets boiled down into that which is most universally palatable among them: protecting his “star power” by letting him feast on non-threatening opponents. As long as the sanctioning bodies continue to rank him highly no matter how many eliminators he blows off, there’s no reason for them to stop.
That’s not meant to exonerate him, of course; there’s nothing stopping him from putting his foot down. I still remember Leo Santa Cruz, once a beloved action star who seemingly fought twice as often as his peers, steadily tanking his reputation by “leaving it up to his team.” Public opinion already seems to be turning against Munguia, and if he wants to retain any semblance of relevance, he needs to start giving Oscar and the rest of the rabble some ultimatums.
Anyway, he’s going to kick Kelly’s ass. Munguia KO-3
Edgar Berlanga vs Roamer Alexis Angulo
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage for Berlanga vs Angulo on Saturday, June 11, starting at 11 pm ET.
Berlanga’s knockout streak never convinced me that he was a can’t-miss blue chipper, but the way those stoppages largely came — without the Puerto Rican slugger seeming to chase them — suggested to me that he could be a legitimate contender.
After his last three fights, I’m a lot iffier, as most are. He dominated Demond Nicholson over eight, and then basically “got past” Marcelo Coceres and Steve Rolls. Those are competent, solid veteran fighters, but a guy called the “Chosen One” was expected to do a lot more. He didn’t look like a bad fighter, but he didn’t look like a guy good enough to be a headliner on ESPN in showcase fights, not someone where you’re excited just to tune in.
During the Inoue-Kambosos show on ESPN+ on Tuesday morning, ESPN ran a promo spot for this that was all Joe Tessitore screaming during his KO streak, which now feels like ancient history, and nothing from the entire ESPN team basically taking a dump on Berlanga’s potential in the Rolls fight. The commentary was so brutal that it felt like a hit job, in all honesty, but here he is, headlining again.
Anyway, I think he’ll get the nod here, but this is a dangerous fight unless he’s made some marked improvements. Angulo is no top contender, but it took David Benavidez 10 rounds to get him out of there, and his only other loss was to Zurdo Ramirez in a world title fight. He upset Anthony Sims Jr, who was also an unbeaten prospect of somewhat questionable ceiling, in early 2020. And Angulo can punch. I’m taking Berlanga by razor thin margins with maybe some controversy about the scores. Berlanga SD-10
I can’t help but feel like the buzz surrounding Edgar Berlanga has dropped off considerably since his streak of first round knockouts ended. Berlanga hasn’t scored a stoppage in three consecutive fights and as his level of competition has increased marginally his performances haven’t been nearly as impressive.
Berlanga is a bruising puncher, but he’s not great on his feet and I seriously wonder if he has the tactics to set up his KO power against more capable opponents. If I were to just gauge things for Berlanga right now, I think he’s starting to max out his potential where he can win but won’t necessarily be doing it in captivating fashion. I’ll still give Berlanga the edge here against Angulo, but I think he’ll struggle greatly against fighters of a slightly better caliber. For now, though, Berlanga takes a win on the cards. Berlanga UD-10
I feel like I did more than my share in my Munguia-Kelly “pick.” So, I’ll keep this short and direct, and leave it to the other guys to carry on a new Bad Left Hook tradition and discuss How Good Is Edgar Berlanga, Really?
As I said in this week’s podcast, even if Berlanga is only pretty good, that’s still pretty good. He hasn’t looked great lately, but he still keeps winning.
This one is a ten round fight, and Angulo already showed durability, if not competitiveness, when he went to ten or more against two superior power punching super middleweight opponents in Zurdo Ramirez and David Benavidez. So, put me down for Berlanga, but at the full distance. Berlanga UD-10
Sorry, had to get the image out of my head.
One weird thing I’ve noticed in combat sports is that believing you’re invincible can help you be invincible. That definitely seemed to be the case for Berlanga; his laundry list of technical issues didn’t matter when he stepped into the ring with absolute certainty that no matter what his opponent tried, he’d smash them in three minutes or less. Now that the veneer is gone, it seems like he’s struggling to deal with his own mortality, and he just doesn’t have the tools to fight like a mortal man.
Luckily for him, Angulo doesn’t figure to test him much. Unlike Steve Rolls, Angulo’s going to be a fairly easy target; he marches forward with power punches and doesn’t do a whole lot else. If there’s one thing we can still trust Berlanga to do, it’s plant his feet and throw bombs. The jury’s out on whether he can actually stop Angulo, who spent 10 rounds getting his shit pushed in by the division’s meanest puncher without ever hitting the deck, but he can probably do enough damage to make the veteran shell up and ride things out. Berlanga UD-10
Hiroto Kyoguchi vs Esteban Bermudez
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage for Kyoguchi vs Bermudez on Friday, June 10, starting at 8 pm ET.
- Scott: Kyoguchi TKO-8
- Wil: Kyoguchi UD-12
- John: Kyoguchi TKO-9
- Patrick: Kyoguchi TKO-9
Richard Riakporhe vs Fabio Turchi
- Scott: Riakporhe UD-12
- Wil: Riakporhe TKO-6
- John: Riakporhe UD-12
- Patrick: Riakporhe TKO-5
Trevor Bryan vs Daniel Dubois
Bad Left Hook will have live coverage for Bryan vs Dubois on Saturday, June 11, starting at 4 pm ET.
- Scott: Dubois TKO-3
- Wil: Dubois TKO-7
- John: Dubois TKO-6
- Patrick: Dubois KO-1