WBO Jr. Middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico is set for his first title defense against former world champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs) of England this Saturday at The Joint inside the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas. Munguia will look impress once again. “I’m very excited for this fight and very motivated to be fighting on HBO again,” Munguia said.

The 21-year-old started the year as a virtual unknown. He quietly made his U.S. debut last December in Las Vegas on the Micky Roman-Orlando Salido non-televised undercard stopping Paul Valenzuela Jr. in two rounds. Munguia went on to win his next two fights in Mexico by knockout.

Then things got interesting.

When the highly anticipated rematch between Canelo and Golovkin fell apart shortly before the scheduled May 5 date, “GGG” was left without an opponent. One of the names prominently mentioned for Golovkin was Jaime Munguia.

Fortunately for Munguia the Nevada State Athletic Commission denied the young Mexican prospect a shot at Golovkin. “Things happen for a reason but I don’t understand how the commission was able to approve Connor McGregor’s fight against Mayweather. Nevertheless, the potential fight against Gennady Golovkin really got my name out there. It allowed me to get the opportunity to fight for a world title. I’m grateful for that.

“I got the call to fight Sadam Ali with only two weeks’ notice. I knew my advantage was my reach and my power. I knew that he was a smaller fighter.” Munguia disposed of 2008 U.S Olympian Sadam Ali in four rounds to claim Ali’s WBO 154lb world title.

Munguia is trained by Oscar De La Hoya’s former trainer Robert Alcazar, who guided De La Hoya to multiple world titles. The duo trained in southern California in preparation for the Englishman and former champion Smith.

“We had a sensational training camp. We have a great team,” Munguia stated. “I feel good we had a good camp. So I feel very good, I’m coming into this fight one hundred percent,”

His opponent Smith since being stopped by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez back in September of 2016 has won three straight fights and is coming off back to back wins over Liam Williams. Smith was originally scheduled to take on Sadam Ali, but he withdrew from the May 12 fight due to a skin condition from an allergic reaction that forced him to pull out.

“I think that the only advantage that Liam Smith has is that he’s fought in big events before. But I have many fights under my belt. I have a lot of experience,” Munguia commented. “Him pulling out of the fight gave me the opportunity.”

Munguia has already expressed interest in a potential unification bout in the stacked and talented super welterweight division. Rival champions include WBC champ Jermell Charlo (31-0, 15 KOs) and unified WBA/IBF champ Jarret Hurd (22-0, 15 KOs)

“I would love to have a unify my titles in my weight class with Charlo or Hurd but I prefer Hurd.” Munguia concluded. “I feel very motivated now that I’m a world champion. Everyone is going to talk about me after this fight. This will open up more opportunities. After this fight everyone will compare me to Canelo and Golvokin. I want to be a great champion and a legend.”

Follow Miguel on Twitter @MigMaravilla

Photo by Hogan Photos

canelosmith_hoganphotos5Photo: Tom Hogan -Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

By Jeff Zimmerman and Miguel Maravilla at ringside

On Mexican Independence Weekend in Arlington, Texas, Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) claimed the WBO light middleweight title at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, with a 9th round KO of reigning world champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-1-1, 13 KOs). Canelo dropped Smith in the 7th, 8th and 9th rounds. The last was a left handed blast to the body that finally did in the tough Brit who sustained a body shot in the eight and an overhand right that also sent Smith to the canvas. The official time of the KO was 2:28 of the 9th round.

Canelo came out strong from the opening bell, as expected, but also Smith showed his willingness to exchange with the strong Mexican from Guadalajara. Canelo continually went to the body early but Smith countered with body and head shots of his own. In the latter rounds, Canelo laid against the ropes as Smith unleashed shots to the body and head of Canelo, but none that ever seemed to hurt Canelo as he countered with vicious upper cuts and devastating shots to the body that eventually took its toll and eventually put an end to an entertaining fight. 

Canelo was complimentary of Smith afterwards in the ring, “Liam Smith was a resilient fighter, he was tough, has a lot of heart. He thinks before he attacks, I could tell in the way he blocked in the way he approached me.”

Canelo added, “I was actually only using my left hand for the most part, making sure left hand was connecting with power. I hurt my right hand in the second round when I hit him in the head. The body shot, was what I focused on, making sure I worked his body down, and that is what secured the victory today.”

Smith was disappointed in defeat but also praised Canelo who walked away with his WBO belt. “If I would have waited a little longer and gotten more experience I would have been able to fight a guy like that better. I am very disappointed. Canelo was too good today, I needed better timing, and my timing was off tonight.”

The announced crowd of 51,240 was the largest of the three staged at Jerry World for a boxing event which broke the previous record of 50,944 for Manny Pacquiao vs. Joshua Clottey. It was loud and electric throughout which should bode well for a potential fight with GGG next year.



The way WBO Jr. Middleweight titlist Liam “Beefy” Smith sees things, Canelo Alvarez picked on the wrong guy.

Alvarez is one of boxing’s most popular stars and could have picked just about anybody to fight. But rather than giving the people what they want (and what he promised) — a showdown with unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin — Alvarez dumped his middleweight title and decided to drop down to junior middleweight, where he once unified two titles.

In doing so, Alvarez hand-picked Smith, an undefeated British fighter largely unknown and untested. But Smith is happy Alvarez called his name and was thrilled when he landed, by far, his biggest fight, even if it will take place in front of a pro-Alvarez crowd on Mexican Independence Day weekend.

Smith, 28, will make his third title defense when he faces Alvarez on Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, where he will aim for a gargantuan upset.

“I’m not stupid. I know on paper I’m the B-side of this fight. Canelo’s the big name,” said Smith, who will be boxing in the United States for the first time. “It’s always Canelo, and it’s Mexican Independence Day, so I know that. But I am the champion, and just looking back on that, that is one reason why I hope they’ll respect that I’m champion and be fair. If I win the fight, then make sure I get the decision.

“Give me the respect I deserve. I am the champion, even though I am the B-side in the fight. Canelo’s the big name, but I am the champion going in. … I took this fight. I’m not in a situation where I have nothing to lose in this fight. I’ve got a title to lose. So I’ve taken this fight because it’s an opportunity to make a name for myself and establish myself as one of the best fighters pound-for-pound in the world.”


He knows he is facing a formidable opponent in Mexico’s Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs), 26, who won the lineal title (albeit at 155 pounds) by decision against Miguel Cotto last November and retained it by massive sixth-round knockout of Smith’s countryman Amir Khan, a welterweight moving up, in May.

“Canelo is a very accurate puncher and has a great deal of variety in the ring,” Smith said. “I got to work with [welterweight titlist and recent Golovkin victim] Kell Brook to prepare. It feels very good to be on this big stage, and it’s one that I have asked to be on.

“I am going to show everyone that I can fight at a high magnitude and hopefully I’ll gain some more fans once I beat Canelo. Looking back at his last fight, I think Canelo’s attitude was thinking that he was going to grab the knockout sooner or later, and he wasn’t willing to box. I won’t let that be the case in this fight because I’ve got the ability to outbox him and put him in his place. Just because the writers and the boxing critics label me as the underdog isn’t my motivation. My family and their support is the only one I need. With this opportunity, I’m hoping for bigger and better fights to come my way.”

iFor the first time, both Canelo Alvarez and Liam Smith will fight at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys of the NFL. Bob Booth/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions

Smith trains at a gym owned by Khan but said he did not discuss what it was like for him to fight Alvarez. “I haven’t talked to him about the fight because what he can do well, I can do well, and what Amir failed to do in the ring, I will not fail to do,” Smith said. “I have my own skill set that I can excel in. I’m comfortable going toe to toe with Canelo, and let that be a warning to him come Saturday.”

Frank Warren, the Hall of Fame British promoter, has worked with Smith since he turned pro in 2008 and has seen his share of upsets. He said Saturday’s fight reminds him a bit of when big favorite Jeff Lacy traveled to England to meet Joe Calzaghe in a super middleweight title unification fight that Warren promoted.

“I am going to show everyone that I can fight at a high magnitude and hopefully I’ll gain some more fans once I beat Canelo.”  –Liam Smith

“Everybody was building up Jeff Lacy to be the next big thing and [Calzaghe] destroyed him,” Warren said. “I mean absolutely destroyed him.”

That’s not say that Warren believes Smith will destroy Alvarez, but he believes he has what it takes to notch a victory.

“I’ve always thought that [Smith] was an exceptional fighter and an exceptional British fighter. He’s won all his fights to date [other than a four-round draw in his sixth fight],” Warren said. “He’s on an eight-fight knockout roll, and I’ve never seen him up so much for a fight. He begged me for this fight, and we made it happen between all of us, and I can assure you when he gets there, there are going to be some serious fireworks.

“It’s going to be a real celebration for the Brits. It might be Mexican Independence Day, but it’s going to be the Brits are coming, and the Brits are going to come away still holding that belt. He’s so confident and all the time I’ve known him, I’ve never felt or doubted him or his ability. He’s one of those fighters, the bigger the occasion, the more you’ll get out of him.

i-1 WBO Junior middleweight titleholder Liam Smith, right, will defend his title against Canelo Alvarez on Saturday. Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Joe Gallagher trains Smith and is one of the most respected trainers in the United Kingdom. He said Smith is well-prepared to pull the upset.

“Liam Smith is a world champion, and he is doing what world champions do: defending his world title against one of the best fighters in the world,” Gallagher said. “Liam isn’t coming over here to be caught like a rabbit in the headlights. Liam Smith is a world champion and is going to take care of business on fight night.

“Smith is a serious threat. Liam Smith can box from the outside, he’s a great counterpuncher, can fight from the inside, has great shots from the inside and has a great temperament. These are some of my favorite characteristics of Liam Smith. I think he might shock a lot of people in just how great he is come Saturday night.”

Smith, of course, is planning for victory.

“It’s going to be give and take. Canelo’s going to have his moments. I’m not saying he’s not. But I’m going to have my moments,” Smith said. “Every time I think about the fight it gets me excited. It just gets me excited. So it’s one that I can’t wait for. It’s going to be a great fight.”

And should Smith win, Warren has a novel idea.

“We’ll be talking afterwards about when is Liam going to be fighting Golovkin,” he said. “Because that’s what they’re going to be talking about after this fight.”

Canelo Alvarez-Liam Smith

Lineup of TV bouts on Golden Boy’s card Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 ET) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas:

•Junior middleweights: Liam Smith (23-0-1, 13 KOs) vs. Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33 KOs), 12 rounds, for Smith’s world title

•Middleweights: Gabriel Rosado (23-9, 13 KOs) vs. Willie Monroe Jr. (20-2, 6 KOs), 12 rounds

•Featherweights: Joseph Diaz Jr. (21-0, 12 KOs) vs. Andrew Cancio (17-3-2, 13 KOs), 10 rounds

•Junior featherweights: Diego De La Hoya (15-0, 9 KOs) vs. Luis Orlando Del Valle (22-2, 16 KOs), 10 rounds



By Jeff Zimmerman
Photos: Stacey Verbeek –

Oscar De La Hoya and his golden boy Canelo Alvarez (47-1-1, 33KO) made their first stop today at the home of the Dallas Cowboys, A&T Stadium, for the first of their 2 city press tour that then takes them to London to announce Canelo’s fight with current WBO Jr Middleweight Champion Liam “Beefy” Smith (23-0-1, 13KO). De La Hoya, along with Dallas Cowboy’s Owner Jerry Jones and the camps of Canelo and Smith were on hand today to address the DFW media. The fight is scheduled for Saturday, September 17th at AT&T Stadium and on HBO PPV.

Today was somewhat subdued, however, because of the recent shooting of Dallas police officers which De La Hoya recognized in his opening remarks with a moment of silence. Because of the recent tragedy, today’s presser was a far cry from when De La Hoya was still on top of the boxing world as a fighter when he strolled through Dallas to promote his fight with Floyd Mayweather back in 2007 and was greeted with thousands of fans outside of American Airlines in Dallas only there to catch a glimpse of the Golden Boy.

Almost 10 years later, he now promotes the biggest draw in boxing Canelo Alvarez and there’s no doubt the two of them alone would have packed city streets for hours with adoring fans, but instead in this new world we live, Canelo celebrated his 26th birthday today in front of mostly DFW media, although he was greeted with mariachis, a cake and a Dallas Cowboys jersey.

But there’s no spectacle in sports like Jerry Jones’s Cowboy Stadium and it didn’t matter if the place was empty, De La Hoya was thrilled to bring Canelo to the Lone Star State once again.

“Not because Jerry is here and this is his arena, this is very, very impressive. I have never seen anything like this. I have never been in an arena that is so impressive. Every single seat, that seat way up there, you have a perfect view not only to the screen where the fighters will be 70 feet tall but to the ring right on the 50 yard line.”

De La Hoya added: “It’s such a beautiful arena. We are thrilled, we are honored, we are happy to be here.”

Unlike the always gregarious De La Hoya, Canelo is more serious and noted this was a business trip for him. He did address if it bothered him not getting the opportunity to fight Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in a mega bout that would have surely blown the roof off of Cowboy Stadium.

“No not one bit, things happen for a reason and unfortunately it didn’t happen, but it’s going to happen one day. At this time, we are focused on our fight right now.”

On whether this fight guarantees a future fight with GGG at AT&T Stadium.

“Everything is going in the right direction for that to be.”

De La Hoya plans to bring back Canelo to AT&T Stadium, but was hesitant to say if a fight with GGG would land here.

“Absolutely. This is a wonderful stadium, an incredible arena. First things first, you can’t win a Super Bowl before playing in the playoffs. A lot of teams don’t get to the Super Bowl because they lose. This is not an easy fight for both of them. It’s going to be a tough competitive fight, so we’ll have to wait and see.”

Dallas Cowboy’s Owner Jerry Jones was also front and center at the presser and is now an old pro of promoting big time boxing with two Manny Pacquiao fights under his belt back in 2010. Jones had his take on a potential Canelo versus GGG at his place.

“I think that’s coming, I think that’s coming. What we have is this [Canelo-Smith]. This will be, this could have some things that might not have. I understand the reputation and I don’t want to take anything away and I’m not going to say that it’s the same fight perception wise, but this fight could give everybody the expectation of what might come if that fight is staged. On the other hand, we may have a guy here in Smith that distinguishes himself.”

Canelo was criticized for not taking the fight with GGG and instead moving down to 154, shared his thoughts on GGG fighting Kell Brook, a welterweight.

“That’s why I recommend people don’t open their mouth and speak out because sometimes you bite your tongue.” Canelo did indicate he expect GGG to win the fight.

Canelo is not looking past Smith however.

“The goal is to win by KO but we are going to prepare ourselves for 12 rounds and if it comes it comes.”

Smith did his best to remind everyone he was the champion at 154 and he’s ready for Canelo.

“I’m champion, I’m coming here to make a name for myself in America that’s it and I’m not coming here for the money. I’m coming here to win, I don’t even want to say it, if I don’t win, I don’t think I’m going to lose, but if I don’t win, I will be absolutely devastated.

Smith added, “I’m not going to get out there and say I lost to a great champion and all that. I got massive respect for him as a fighter for what he has done for Mexican boxing, but that’s it. I am not in awe of him, I am not in fear of him, I’m coming here as a big 154, not a blown up 147 like Amir Khan. I am going to make him fight 3 minutes of every round. He better not overlook me.”

De La Hoya believes this has the potential for a great fight.

“It’s going to be an exciting fight, I believe once again a fight of the year candidate. Canelo Alvarez is a tremendous, tremendous puncher and boxer. Liam Smith is a champion for a reason. He’s undefeated for a reason. There’s a reason why the UK now has 14 world champions and Mexico only has 7. Canelo has to step up and Liam Smith has to give it his all. At the end of the day the fans are going to be the winners.”

Jones took it up many notches when he evoked the names Hagler and Hearns on what this fight could be like.

“I think we can have the classic fight, the competition between these two. While we can’t measure it right now, but still we have the potential that this thing will be toe to toe, maybe toe to toe like some of the great fights between Hagler, Hearns, some of those great fights. Those are that type of skills that are out there, of the age that can perform like that and they have it all out there, the incentives are there. And then we hope the atmosphere helps create that and so you add all that up and we should have a great event. It’s one you shouldn’t miss.”

Jerry continued, “I’m more fan of some sports than others but when I get a chance to see a match that is such as the Open golf match they had there Sunday, when I see something that is rare it sends a chill up me, it’s worth seeing. I got to watch the Triple Crown, I was at Belmont to watch the Triple Crown. I went up there specifically so I can send a chill up my spine. I’m a horse racing fan, but I don’t go to the races that much.”

Jones ever the promoter, is always looking to what’s next. He could even envision Manny Pacquiao coming back.

“Yes, yes very much, very much. It’s there and Bob knows very much how we feel and would welcome a fight.”

On the possibility of Pacquiao fighting Canelo at his home.

“Now that would be something to behold.”

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