Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Canelo Álvarez triumphs over Jaime Munguía at Cinco de Mayo match in Vegas

Facing a Mexican-born opponent for the first time in seven years, Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez retained his status as the world’s undisputed super middleweight champion with a unanimous, 12-round decision over Jaime Munguía in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The all-Mexican boxing match on Cinco de Mayo weekend left the 33-year-old Guadalajara native with a record of 61 wins, including 39 by knockout, in 65 career fights, along with two losses and two ties.

Álvarez improved his record against undefeated fighters to 10-2-1, as Munguía came into the bout with a record of 43-0-0, including 34 wins by knockout.

The 27-year-old native of Tijuana was the more aggressive boxer the first three rounds, even getting Álvarez into the ropes in the third. But after Munguía was sent to the canvas late in the fourth round, the tenor of the fight changed and Álvarez assumed control despite being seven years older and 10 centimeters shorter than his opponent.

The victory marked Álvarez’s fourth straight title defense, and the second straight in which he was clearly the stronger and more effective boxer, showing that he remains one of the sport’s all-time greats.

However, the question of whether he can knock anyone out at this stage of his career won’t go away: The soon-to-be 34-year-old (his birthday is July 18) hasn’t delivered a knockout since defeating Caleb Plant in 2021 — a span of five matches.

Canelo sits on a white couch, facing the camera
Álvarez has only suffered two losses in his 65 career fights. (Showtime)

Still, ESPN rates Álvarez as its fourth-best boxer across all weight classes, and he is the 168-pound world champ of the top four pro boxing confederations: World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Organization (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF).

Álvarez was circumspect regarding what he might do next, saying he’ll return to the ring “if the money is right.”

“I’ve fought everyone and I can do what I want,” he said.

The three judges of Saturday night’s fight scored the bout 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 in favor of Álvarez.

The crowd of 17,492 at T-Mobile Arena was fairly evenly split between the two competitors. Contested on May 4, the fight was presented within the framework of Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

“This win means a lot,” Álvarez said. “I’m glad that I gave him this opportunity. Munguía is a great guy and a great champion. He’s going to have a great career. I’m very proud that all the Mexicans are here watching us.”

Álvarez hadn’t faced a Mexican-born opponent since dominating Julio César Chávez Jr. on May 6, 2017.

On Saturday night, Álvarez celebrated his victory at the exclusive Zouk club in Las Vegas, along with his wife, Fernanda Gómez, and eldest daughter, Emily Canela. Mexican singers Luis R. Conríquez,  Eduin Caz and Lenin Ramírez were said to be at the post-fight party, but Mexican singer Peso Pluma reportedly was not.

However, Peso Pluma was definitely at the fight, and not simply as a spectator. He spent a lot of time with Álvarez, including in the locker room before the fight and in the ring alongside the boxer as he awaited the judge’s decision.

With reports from Récord, Infobae, AP, El Economista and ESPN

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