Jaime Munguia’s march towards a shot at becoming a two-weight world champion was rarely troubled in his third-round stoppage win over D’Mitrius Ballard last night.
In his 39th fight the former WBO super-welterweight champion returned home to fight in Tijuana for the first time since July 2017. On that night he knocked out Jose Miguel Lopez Medina and then 10 months later he would pick up the world title against Sadam Ali.
Now campaigning at 160lbs Munguia is now in the position as number one contender for the WBO and WBC middleweight titles. Ballard had hoped to be an obstacle that the local hero could not overcome and in the first two rounds the 28-year-old Maryland fighter gave a good account of himself.
Despite the cacophony of noise created by a pro-Munguia crowd of over 10,000 people Ballard never once looked fazed from ring walk to hands being thrown. Chants of “MUNGUIA, MUNGUIA” carried itself around the venue like a Mexican wave but Ballard kept his composure and kept up the jab exchange that he and Munguia were sharing. Neither man was troubled overall, a stiff jab to Ballard’s body and a right hand from the favourite that went missing were other highlights in the opener.
Ballard was doing enough to keep Munguia at bay before he had to try and contain the first significant moment of the fight. A right to the body then a left hook warmed up everyone. Ballard began to back up and after the first minute of round two there seemed to be a moment of realisation as to what lay ahead. As the chants continued the American tried his own attacks but was in retreat once again when Munguia went from one-twos to adding a third shot. Back came Ballard but his shots tasted air as his opponent’s head movement brought a roar of appreciation from his fans.
The third round started very much in Ballard’s favour. A trio of jabs followed by a right hand was a reminder to Munguia that he wasn’t going anywhere. However, Munguia retaliated with a burst of nearly 10 punches that started the countdown to victory. The pace of the fight quickened, and the atmosphere was turned up. A left to the body then a check left hook had Ballard’s body bending and then travelling towards the ropes. A four-punch assault had him down and, on his stomach, as if he had consumed one too many tequilas. Munguia, a fighter full of action and relentlessness, got going immediately landing to body and landed a huge left hook while Ballard’s chin was in the air. A moment everyone knew this was to be 39 and 0 for the Mexican. The unbeaten run of Ballard’s career had no chance of maintaining itself. His body was limp, the fists had no response and two more shots from Munguia, not as damaging as the afore mentioned left hook was enough for referee Juan Jose Ramirez to intervene and prevent the beaten man from being severely hurt.
Munguia and his team, led in the corner by the legendary former three-weight world champion Erik Morales, were thrilled by the display with promoter Oscar De La Hoya beaming from ear to ear.
The time has now come for Munguia to take sterner tests. There is yet to be a marquee name or seismic win on his record but a shot at the WBO title, currently held by Demetrius Andrade who appears to be moving to 168lbs, or the WBC which is in the hands of Jermall Charlo should happen this year.
“We’re ready for those other fights. We’re ready for title shots, we’re ready for the best ones, the best fighters, whoever comes,” Munguia told DAZN’s Chris Mannix afterwards.