The upcoming showdown between Terence Crawford and Shawn Porter may have overshadowed this fight that took place a week prior. However, I had high hopes for it, even if it was just for an intercontinental title, because of the man who holds it. Jaime Munguia defended his WBO Intercontinental Middleweight title against 15-year veteran Gabriel Rosado.
Jaime Munguia is someone I’m watching out for as potentially the next great Mexican champion, just like Canelo before him. Meanwhile, Gabriel Rosado is a name I hear every now and then, and I got to see for myself what he’s made of in this fight.
I haven’t been writing about combat sports, one of my biggest passions in life, on this website as often as I should be. In an effort to somehow rectify that, I wrote this blog post to record for posterity my thoughts on a fight that I think will lead to an exciting future for boxing.
Who Are Jaime Munguia and Gabriel Rosado?
I first heard of Jaime Munguia from analyst Luke Thomas when he guested in the Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show, calling him “arguably the biggest puncher in boxing (right now).” I find that to be an exaggeration, especially in a pro scene with Naoya Inoue in it. However, that’s still quite an endorsement by a pundit who is not employed by the theatrical trash fire that is ESPN.
He’s only 25 years old, but already has a 37-0 record with 30 KOs coming into this fight, boasting a knockout ratio of over 80%. Currently the WBO Intercontinental Middleweight Champion, the level of opposition he has faced thus far hasn’t been that high. He does own a unanimous decision win against Takeshi Inoue (no relation to the aforementioned Naoya Inoue), who recently fought Tim Tszyu, Kostya Tszyu’s son. Trained by Tijuana legend Erik Morales and managed by his father, he’s a bright prospect.
Meanwhile, ten years Munguia’s senior, Gabriel Rosado has the record of a journeyman, so he may not command much respect from critics. However, many of his losses were handed to him by some of the biggest names of the middleweight division like Gennady Golovkin, Peter Quillin, Jermell Charlo, David Lemieux, and Daniel Jacobs. He’s currently trained by Freddie Roach, who certainly knows a thing or two about Munguia’s coach.
I know Rosado from a reaction video on the GQ Sports YouTube channel, where he reacted to boxing movie scenes. He’s best known outside of boxing in the movie Creed as the protagonist’s first on-screen opponent. His hero is the late Arturo Gatti, which says a lot about his career and fighting style. It may be cliche to describe him as a warrior, but that’s what he is.
Jaime Munguia vs. Gabriel Rosado
It was a young Mexican rising star against a Puerto Rican veteran, like Canelo Alvarez versus Miguel Cotto almost six years ago. But this time, there was a clearer gap in both age and career trajectory and a bit less publicity. However, this fight had the likes of Oscar De La Hoya and Bernard Hopkins watching from ringside.
The significance of this fight may be understated, but I saw differently even before fight night. It’s one of those cases of “If you know, you know.” This wasn’t just some undercard match, but a main event. This card was assembled by DAZN because there’s genuine interest in the rise of a potential Mexican superstar, and this was considered his first big test.
All Munguia had to do was prove himself against a well-regarded veteran who has faced some of the best middleweights in the world.
It proved to be an action-packed fight from start to finish. Rosado took the fight to the kid and was answered with hard yet calculated shots in return. Munguia’s body work helped keep the older fighter from finding his pace. By the 4th round, I could see the difference between them. Munguia stayed relaxed, while Rosado looked like he had his work cut out for him. Despite that, he continued with what looked like his game plan—hit as many right hands as he could.
Rosado looked better in the middle rounds, seemingly needing to get warmed up and used to Munguia’s tendencies. But while he upped his activity during this time, especially in the 8th round, he was still being pushed back. Munguia was clearly the bigger man, and he used his size advantage in conjunction with high volume to keep Rosado tentative.
The veteran’s answer to this pressure is to employ his own experience and grit by imposing his own physicality against him. We saw a takedown in the 7th round as he did his best to not give Munguia the space he needed to throw his shots with full effect. He had to frustrate the kid and force him to make mistakes that could then be exploited. However, Munguia proved to be disciplined and didn’t let these tactics get the best of him.
By the late rounds, the only question left was whether Rosado would get knocked out. While weathered by his numerous wars throughout the years, the 35-year-old was still durable enough to withstand Munguia’s offense. Still high off the adrenaline and fury of battle, he expressed defiance against the judge’s scorecards in the post-fight interview, feeling that the gap between him and the victor was not so great.
But there was indeed a wide gap. The judges gave Munguia a unanimous decision win, and the Compubox stats backed it up. While Rosado may have felt that he left everything he could in the ring, Munguia threw 821 total punches with 40% accuracy as opposed to Rosado’s 551 total punches with 28% accuracy. It’s one of those fights wherein their faces told the story.
While he was outclassed, I think Rosado can still hold his head high being only one of eight opponents that this future Mexican superstar was not able to knock out. While it’s not the highest profile match of 2021, it was definitely one of the most exciting—a candidate for Fight of the Year.
What’s Next for Them?
According to BoxRec, Jaime Munguia is now ranked #5 in middleweight. As of this posting, the World Boxing Council has ordered a title eliminator between Munguia and Sergiy Derevyanchenko to determine who will challenge Jermell Charlo for his 160-pound belt. That puts him just two wins away from becoming a world champion
Perhaps this piece has been unfair to Gabriel Rosado, putting him in this perpetual underdog position. But at this stage in his career, while he’s still chasing the championship dream with everything he still got, he has been relegated to gatekeeper status in the middleweight division.
Maybe he’ll move weight classes, transition to somewhere else in the fight game like he did with Big Knockout Boxing in 2014, or pursue an acting career, but no one can say he’s done until either he himself says he’s absolutely done or Father Time does it for him.
Jaime Munguia certainly deserves more attention than the likes of Jake Paul. If you want to get more into boxing in a post-Pacquiao era, then you should watch out for the likes of Munguia, David Benavidez, Shakur Stevenson, Vergil Ortiz, and Teofimo Lopez.
After this, I’m investigating who might be Canelo’s last great challenge before he truly cements his GOAT status, at least in my book. Then again, Canelo has just petitioned to fight world cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu on a quest to become a five-weight champion.
Despite that, I’ll try to come up with an analysis of who I think is on the cusp of boxing superstardom once the mainstream audience becomes privy to his talent and power, hopefully enough to make Canelo think of fighting him at super middleweight, if he’s no longer willing to go back down to 160 pounds.
Have something to say? Do you agree or am I off-base? Did I miss a crucial detail or get something wrong? Please leave whatever reactions, questions, or suggestions you may have in the comment section below.
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