Canelo Alvarez vs. Jaime Munguia preview and prediction

Canelo Alvarez vs. Jaime Munguia will fight on May 4 in Las Vegas, NV.
Canelo Alvarez v Jaime Munguia - Press Conference
Canelo Alvarez v Jaime Munguia - Press Conference / Cris Esqueda/Golden Boy/GettyImages

The pseudo-holiday of May 5 has become a key weekend for boxing. Some of the most significant and highest-grossing matches have taken place on the weekend. Over the last decade, the fighter most associated with fighting on the holiday has been Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs). 

On May 4, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Alvarez will defend his undisputed super middleweight championship against the undefeated Jaime Munguia (43-0, 34 KOs). The fight between two natives of Mexico will be Alvarez's first time taking on a fellow countryman since 2017 when he faced Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The event will be a Premier Boxing Champions PPV presented on Prime Video. 

Munguia wasn't the opponent fans were clamoring for, as the overwhelming majority of boxing enthusiasts were demanding a fight between Alvarez and two-time super middleweight titleholder David Benavidez. 

As the sport's prominent money-maker, Alvarez doesn't currently prioritize a fight with Benavidez. Although not the first choice of fans, Munguia's high-volume fighting style should lend itself to an action-packed battle with moments of drama, something missing from Alvarez's previous encounter with Jermell Charlo.

Throughout his career, Munguia has participated in quite a few back-and-forth brawls. In the summer of 2023, in Munguia's first match at super middleweight, he faced the always-competitive Sergiy Derevyanchenko. 

In a fight filled with momentum shifts and numerous rounds of trading blows, it came down to the wire for a winner to emerge. A body shot in the 12th and final round by Munguia made the difference in the scoring. The unanimous decision for Munguia would be recognized as the 2023 Fight of the Year by the Boxing Writer's Association of America. 

Battles between Mexican fighters have a history of being entertaining and memorable encounters. Many are regarded as some of the greatest in the annals of the sweet science.

"We're going to see a great fight on May 4," Alvarez said on the first episode of Amazon Prime Sports' Gloves Off. "Two Mexicans who have a winning mentality, who never quit. He's been doing great. This is a kid that deserves the opportunity to fight me for the undisputed championship."

Heading into the match, Alvarez is a heavy favorite. Draft Kings has the current undisputed super middleweight champion, a -525 favorite. The odds in favor of Alvarez aren't surprising. While Munguia does hold an undefeated record, the former super welterweight champion has only recently been taken seriously. 

Following five defenses of his WBO super welterweight title, Munguia moved up to middleweight in 2020. During his tenure in the division, Munguia's career plateaued as he became the WBO's number-one contender and mandatory for then-titleholder Demetrius Andrade. 

Due to either a lack of confidence or a belief that Andrade was a bad style match-up for him, Munguia didn't challenge for the title. The perception of an absence to test himself, even with a potential world title opportunity, led many to dismiss the young fighter as more of a promotional novelty than a real contender. 

With the most important fight of his career in front of him, the 27-year-old Munguia is using his status as an underdog as fuel to prove doubters wrong. He views the fight with Alvarez as the first step in cementing a legacy as one of Mexico's greatest fighters. 

"Well, the truth is that motivates me," Munguia said in episode two of the Prime Video Sports series Gloves Off. "It motivates me to keep going and keep working, and the next time, I will be the A side, the favorite fighter. 

"We have worked too hard for the results and the record we have. Day by day we keep working and trying to grow and be better. This is daily, to continue triumphing and reaping more victories. This is to create a legacy with the name Munguia."

Munguia is now under the tutelage of one of the most acclaimed trainers in boxing, Freddie Roach, after a tenure with Hall-of-Fame fighter and fellow Tijuana, Mexico native Erik Morales. The two began working together earlier this year against John Ryder. 

Ryder is a common opponent with Alvarez, who went the distance with the undisputed champion in May 2023. Improving upon Alvarez's performance, Munguia dropped the usually durable Ryder four times en route to a ninth-round stoppage. This performance set the stage for a showdown with Alvarez. 

"Hands down, this has been my best training camp," Munguia said during a Los Angeles media workout. Working with the legend Freddie Roach has really motivated me. He has raised my confidence and helped me so much."

Alvarez, now at 33, with over 60 fights on his ledger, finds himself playing the position of a veteran with a plethora of big fight experience. The four-division champion reached the apex of his career when he stopped Caleb Plant in November 2021 to become the undisputed super middleweight champion in an 11-month span. One wouldn't categorize Alvarez as an old fighter, but since the match with Plant, he has had inconsistent showings.

A return to the light heavyweight division in May 2022 resulted in Alvarez suffering his first loss in almost ten years at the hands of Dmitry Bivol. Following the defeat to Bivol, he has won three fights, with his most recent bout against Charlo arguably being the most impressive. With almost any fight at his disposal, there are questions surrounding Alvarez's motivation to continue to fight. 

"Defending my undisputed title is very important for me," said Alvarez. "This is all about making history. I want my legacy to be that I made history again and again. That's what motivates me to keep defending my belts and giving great fights to the fans."

Canelo Alvarez vs. Jaime Munguia prediction

Although under different circumstances, Alvarez against Munguia is in a similar position to  Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he faced a much younger Alvarez in 2013. He is one of the top fighters in the sport, but he looks ripe for the picking, with a change of guard imminent for boxing. 

Following the rematch with Golovkin, Alvarez seemingly corrected the mistakes he was known for earlier in his career, the most prevalent of which was fighting in spots. To be successful, Munguia will need to dictate the pace of the fight and not allow Alvarez to rest. Munguia's high-volume attacking style should present Alvarez with problems, especially in swing rounds, during which a judge could score for either fighter. 

Munguia will need to be careful when exchanging with Alvarez. In recent fights, Munguia has shown defensive lapses. Alvarez's timing, along with an iron chin, will be factors Munguia will have to be prepared to handle.

The fight should be Alvarez's most exciting and fan-pleasing since his rematch with Golovkin. Munguia will go down fighting and have multiple moments of success where he outworks Alvarez. But, the undisputed champion will leave the ring with his titles still intact. Alvarez may not be at his peak anymore, but he still has enough left in the tank to overcome Munguia's challenge. 

Prediction: Canelo Alvarez via decision.


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