LAS VEGAS — Through just three fights on the world level, 21-year-old WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia continues to look like nothing but a problem for the 154-pound division.
Given a showcasing co-main event spot on Saturday’s Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin II pay-per-view card at T-Mobile Arena, Munguia (31-0, 26 KOs) dominated the smaller and overmatched Brandon Cook in a third-round TKO.
Munguia, a native of Mexico, first gained prominence when he nearly challenged Golovkin for his middleweight titles in May after Alvarez withdrew from their originally scheduled rematch following a pair of failed drug tests. After Munguia was rejected by the Nevada State Athletic Commission as an acceptable opponent, he used the preceding months to become one of boxing’s most promising action fighters on the rise.
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A knockout of then-champion Sadam Ali in May and a hard-fought decision win over Liam Smith in July led Munguia to a quick return against Cook, a native of Canada who came in as a heavy underdog. Towering over Cook as an extremely large 154-pounder, Munguia looked more like a light heavyweight as he outlanded his opponent 43 to 13, according to CompuBox, by focusing on the body.
Munguia also kept with the them of the PPV undercard by contributing a third early finish when he dropped Cook (20-2, 13 KOs) with a body shot in Round 3 and continued with his predatory attack along the ropes moments later until referee Tony Weeks jumped in to end the fight.
“My last fight, I wasn’t focused enough for that fight but this time I was focused,” Munguia said. “I think I’m always looking for the knockout and that was part of the problem. Now, I focused a little bit more and you are seeing the results now.”
Asked after the fight whether he would consider seeking an opportunity against a fighter as dangerous as Golovkin instead of continuing his steady growth at such a young age, the hungry Munguia didn’t back down.
“Each fight you see what you did well and didn’t do so well and you learn from each fight and bring it with you into the next fight,” Munguia said. “It’s a process. I’m learning other things and I’m still young but if [a Golovkin fight] comes on the table again, I’ll take the fight.”
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