Photos: Ed Mulholland
By Eric Raskin
Jaime Munguia makes it easy for fight fans to latch onto him and get excited. Still three weeks shy of his 22nd birthday, the Mexican junior middleweight is 31-0 with 26 knockouts and refuses to be part of a dull round of boxing. And there’s no busier world-class fighter in the sport: He’s scored five victories in 2018 – and left himself time to try for a sixth.
Munguia got through quickly and easily enough against Brandon Cook in the final bout on the Golovkin-Alvarez 2 undercard that he could feasibly return within the next couple of months. Too big, too energetic, and too strong, the massive 154-pounder from Tijuana stopped Cook 63 seconds into the third round. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to save the Canadian fighter, who’d been knocked down moments earlier, following an avalanche of head and body punches along the ropes.
As dominant as he was, Munguia didn’t look sharp at all times. He frequently missed wildly or lunged in with his punches. But the 32-year-old Cook (20-2, 13 KOs) didn’t have the tools to make him pay. And by the end of the first round, when Munguia landed a right hand to the head and proceeded to tee off along the ropes until the bell rang, the younger man was in complete control.
Cook fought bravely, and at times aggressively, but his left eye was swelling and his flanks were targeted repeatedly. Munguia pummeled him in the corner at the end of the second round the same way he had in the first, then did serious damage in the third. He dropped Cook by landing big shots with both hands during an exchange about 30 seconds into the round. Cook rose, but he couldn’t keep the bigger man off and was hunched over and clearly out of his depth when Weeks made the decision to stop the fight.
It was just the rebound performance Munguia was looking for after being taken the distance by Liam Smith in July.
“In each fight, you see what you did well, what you didn’t do so well, you learn from each fight, and you implement it in the next one,” Munguia said afterward.
Munguia nearly landed a fight with Gennady Golovkin in May, and while he admits he has learning to do, he says he’s ready to pounce on an opportunity against either GGG or Canelo Alvarez if offered. “If it comes on the table again,” Munguia insisted, “I’ll take the fight.”