By Miguel Maravilla
Undefeated middleweight and former junior middleweight world champion Jaime Munguía (38-0, 30 KOs) of is in the final phases of his preparation as he takes on undefeated D’Mitrius Ballard (21-0-1, 13 KO’s) next Saturday night at the Playas Plaza Monumental in Tijuana, Mexico live on DAZN. It will be a homecoming fight for Tijuana-native Munguia.
“The truth is, I’m very excited to be back home in Tijuana after 6-7 years. It’s great and I always wanted to come back here to fight, ”Munguia told Fightnews.com®.
The last time Munguia fought at home was over four years ago in 2017, as he scored a third-round knockout over Jose Miguel Lopez.
“I feel very proud to be fighting here in this city and thank the fans that have supported me throughout my career,” Munguia said.
Coming off an exciting unanimous decision over Gabriel Rosado this past November in Anaheim as Munguia fought a very tough Rosado giving the fans their money’s worth. Prior to that fight, he fought a very tough Kamil Szremeta in scoring a sixth-round stoppage as he fought twice in 2021.
“It was a very tough fight. Rosado always comes to fight. Now I am ready to take on the next challenge in D’Mitrius Ballard. ”
Ballard fought the same night on the Munguia-Rosado undercard in Anaheim, California as he won a unanimous decision over Paul Valenzuela. His only blemish came prior to his win over Valenzuela, a draw to Brazilian Yamaguchi Falcao back in December of 2019.
“I have seen him fight. He is complicated, he fights the typical American style, flashy, elusive, strong. He is undefeated, ”Munguia said. “His style is complicated because he slips and dips his shoulder. A good counter puncher but we should be able to defeat him. “
To prepare for Ballard, Munguia once again held his camp at the Otomi Ceremonial Center in the Temoaya mountains in the state of Mexico, working with his trainer fellow Tijuana fighter and great, former 4 division world champion and Hall of Famer Erik Morales.
“This is the sixth time I train here in Otomi. I have had great work, Erik and I are coming up with the perfect strategy, ”Munguia said. “It’s great training here, I’m very focused here, it’s secluded and there are no distractions. Now it’s just putting in the work. ”
For his trainer Morales, this was the best way to cope with the recent loss of his son Jose Fernando Morales as he sadly passed away in December. Munguia is dedicating this fight to Morales’s late son.
“Erik is a strong person. He is focused on having me ready for this fight. Without a doubt, in this camp we have been very united, ”Munguia commented. “The truth Erik needed his space. I just told him that he can count on me for anything, and I love him. I really appreciate him. I will always be here for Erik, ”
This fight is reminiscent of the same event his trainer, Erik Morales had in his reign as champion when he fought Junior Jones at the very same venue back in 1998. That night Morales scored a fourth-round knockout over the former world champion Jones as Munguia plans to give his fans a spectacular victory.
“Without a doubt, these are some good times for Tijuana and Mexican boxing. Tijuana has a great fan base and boxing tradition. The most boxing fights take place here, it’s a boxing hotbed. Now I return to fight in Tijuana, ”Munguia said.
2022 promises to be a great year for Munguia as the best is yet to come for the 25-year-old. Prior to winning his first world title, Munguia’s name was mentioned as a possible replacement for Gennady “GGG” Golovkin after his original opponent Saul “Canelo” Alvarez withdrew from there originally planned rematch taking place 5 de Mayo weekend back in 2018.
Instead, Munguia and his team passed on the fight with Golovkin. A few weeks later, Munguia answered the call to take on Sadam Ali as a replacement for Liam Smith. Munguia took the fight and would go on to win, scoring a devastating knockout over Ali, winning the WBO junior middleweight title.
“I defended my title multiple times and have had the opportunity to fight in many great places. I am ready for all the challenges that are out there, ”Munguia said.
There is no question that Munguia has since become one of the best in campaigning at 154 and now 160. Ranked number one by the WBC, rated second by the WBA, first by the WBO, and twelfth by the IBF. Munguia lurks in the division for a world title as champions Jermall Charlo (WBC), Ryota Murata (WBA), Gennady Golovkin (IBF), and Demetrius Andrade (WBO) stand at the top of the middleweight division.
“I am ready to fight the best,” Munguia declared.
If all goes well next Saturday night against Ballard, Munguia looks to land a big fight in his 2022 campaign.
“God willing everything goes well in this fight and the best is yet to come. This will be a great year for me, ”Munguia concluded.
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