It wasn’t that long ago that Jaime Munguia (31-0, 25 KOs) was flying under the radar of everyone in the boxing world.
Tonight, a fighter by the name of Brandon Cook (21-1, 13 KOs) looked to capitalize on a serendipitous moment, similar to the one Munguia was in when his attempt to fight Gennady Golovkin was shut down by the Nevada State Athletic Commission which then allowed him to take on Sadam Ali on short notice and capture the WBO Jr. Middleweight title.
After many failed attempts to secure a fight, including a failed attempt to fight Kell Brook of the UK, Cook set his sights on the rising Mexican star, Munguia.
The build-up to this fight was moderate, few boxing fans knew of Cook prior to tonight but he looked to change that by defeating the hard-hitting Mexican.
Unfortunately, Cook was in there against one of the hardest-hitting fighters in the division and he found that out very quickly. Prior to the fight, Cook had felt that Munguia and his team were going to underestimate him and that would be his demise.
The opening bout came and began fairly competitive as many first rounds do. It wasn’t until about the last fifteen seconds of the round that Cook found himself in a whirlwind of trouble as Munguia cornered him and began to thrown bombs to the body and head. Referee Tony Weeks kept a close eye on the amount of damage that Cook took in those few seconds and to the joy of Cook, the bell sounded and he had survived the first.
The bell rang and both fighters met at the center of the ring. Similar to the pace of the first round, both fighters tried to find their space and began to launch bombs with Munguia finding his target first. Munguia found his sweet spot and floored Cook midway through the second round. Cook took the count from Weeks but looked a bit shaken up, to say the least.
Shortly after, Cook would find himself stuck against the ropes once again and this time there was no bell to get him off the hook. After countless shots to his head and body, Tony Weeks called a halt to the action at 1:03 marker of the third round and Munguia successfully defended his WBO title.
“In my last fight I wasn’t completely focused in there but this time I was and I showed everyone what I can do and you see the results, ” said Munguia. “With each fight, little by little, you begin to see what you do right and what you do wrong in there and keep improving.”
Munguia finds himself a champion in one of the most stacked divisions in boxing today, with rivals Jarrett Hurd and Jermell Charlo longing at a chance to unify.
Munguia appears to still be green in certain aspects of his game but no one can argue his one-punch knockout power. Assuming he takes a few more fights to hone his skills, he may be a very strong force at Jr. Middleweight and even Middleweight in the future.
Munguia was asked if he would take on the likes of a Golovkin, should the opportunity present itself and without hesitation, the fiery Mexican says he’d most likely take the challenge. Whatever Munguia decides to do next, one thing is for sure, Munguia is someone to keep an eye on.
Header photo by Ed Mulholland/HBO