Álvarez vs. Munguía is a classic clash of Mexican talent

Las Vegas's T-Mobile Arena will host a celebration of Mexican boxing this Cinco de Mayo weekend.

LAS VEGAS — This Saturday Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena will play host to one of the biggest nights in boxing as Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Álvarez defends his undisputed, super middleweight title against the undefeated challenger, Jaime Munguía. 

Having unified the WBA, WBC, IBF, and WBO super middleweight titles, all four belts will be on the line this Cinco de Mayo weekend as Álvarez makes his second title defense with the Premier Boxing Championship (PBC) organization, who have a three-fight deal with the Guadalajara native. His opponent, fellow Mexican boxer, Jaime Munguía, boasts a record of 43 wins, no losses, with 34 of those wins coming by way of knockout.

News of the Álvarez-Munguía fight has been met with some resistance from boxing fans, many of whom clammer for Canelo to step into the ring with 28-0, three-time former WBC super middleweight champion, David Benavidez. However, those critical of Canelo’s current opponent should rejoice in the fact that Munguía will be Álvarez’s first Mexican opponent in over seven years, and may potentially open him to future bouts with some of his home country’s top prospects. 

Álvarez, who has been famously vocal about his decision to not fight a fellow Mexican fighter out of respect for his country, believes his upcoming fight with Munguía will be “very important for Mexico”. Álvarez has commended Munguía’s demeanor in the lead-up to their clash, praising him for the respect he has shown throughout the promotional period. 

“Someone respectful like Munguía, someone who has earned this fight, it’s something that I’m glad we were able to make happen. … This is a great source of pride for me because it’s Mexico all over.”

Álvarez vs. Munguía Press Conference, by Esther Lin/ Premier Boxing Champions

This praise feels especially warm in comparison to the relations between Álvarez and Benavidez, whose fight discussions so far have been clouded with disrespect from both parties. In a conversation with Fight Hub TV, Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions, said that the disrespect shown by Benavidez’ team is the reason why a fight with Álvarez has failed to materialize.

“When you disrespect, you get no check, and I’m not saying that’s what happened, but I know from my perspective, if [they’re] disrespectful, they’re not eating at this table if I got any say so about it — that’s not gonna happen.”

Despite the back-and-forth with Benavidez, Álvarez has found himself a challenger, and on May 4th Jaime Munguía will be the one to stand opposite him in the ring. Munguía has clearly chosen the correct path towards securing a fight with Álvarez, proving that the champion values respect above other, perhaps more sensational, methods of fight promotion.

At May 1st’s final press conference, Álvarez emphasized the importance of this fight — not only for the fans — but for the country of Mexico. “This is going to be a great Mexican war. Munguia and I both come to win, but I am going to win and win decisively. The fans are really going to enjoy Saturday night and I’m proud to make history with two Mexican fighters fighting for all four belts.”

In many ways, the relationship of respect between the two fighters is representative of this Saturday’s night of boxing: a noble and gallant clash of Mexican talent, but above all, a celebration of the two fighters’ home country.