Undercard Recap: Before Canelo-GGG 2, a Night of Early Knockouts
Undercard Report: Undefeated Munguia Keeps Rolling Against Overwhelmed Cook
By Eric Raskin
Jaime Munguia makes it easy for fight fans to latch onto him and get excited. Still three weeks shy of his 22nd birthday, the Mexican junior middleweight is 31-0 with 26 knockouts and refuses to be part of a dull round of boxing. And there’s no busier world-class fighter in the sport: He’s scored five victories in 2018 – and left himself time to try for a sixth.
Munguia got through quickly and easily enough against Brandon Cook in the final bout on the Golovkin-Alvarez 2 undercard that he could feasibly return within the next couple of months. Too big, too energetic, and too strong, the massive 154-pounder from Tijuana stopped Cook 63 seconds into the third round. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to save the Canadian fighter, who’d been knocked down moments earlier, following an avalanche of head and body punches along the ropes.
As dominant as he was, Munguia didn’t look sharp at all times. He frequently missed wildly or lunged in with his punches. But the 32-year-old Cook (20-2, 13 KOs) didn’t have the tools to make him pay. And by the end of the first round, when Munguia landed a right hand to the head and proceeded to tee off along the ropes until the bell rang, the younger man was in complete control.
Cook fought bravely, and at times aggressively, but his left eye was swelling and his flanks were targeted repeatedly. Munguia pummeled him in the corner at the end of the second round the same way he had in the first, then did serious damage in the third. He dropped Cook by landing big shots with both hands during an exchange about 30 seconds into the round. Cook rose, but he couldn’t keep the bigger man off and was hunched over and clearly out of his depth when Weeks made the decision to stop the fight.
It was just the rebound performance Munguia was looking for after being taken the distance by Liam Smith in July.
“In each fight, you see what you did well, what you didn’t do so well, you learn from each fight, and you implement it in the next one,” Munguia said afterward.
Munguia nearly landed a fight with Gennady Golovkin in May, and while he admits he has learning to do, he says he’s ready to pounce on an opportunity against either GGG or Canelo Alvarez if offered. “If it comes on the table again,” Munguia insisted, “I’ll take the fight.”
Undercard Report: Lemieux Finishes the War of Words With His Fists
By Kieran Mulvaney
The war of words between David Lemieux and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan lasted several weeks. Their battle inside the ring was over in under three minutes. Lemieux came out of his corner at the opening bell, looking to inflict damage, firing fast flurries to head and body. O’Sullivan, meanwhile, held his hands raised high and tight to his face, eyeing an opportunity to land a telling blow of his own.
That opportunity never arrived: O’Sullivan (28-3, 20 KOs) was able to throw only 25 punches, landing just eight; Lemieux, in contrast, threw 79, and landed 22 of them. The only one that really mattered, though, was the final one: a left hook that exploded on O’Sullivan’s jaw just as the Irishman was connecting with a glancing jab to the Canadian’s face. O’Sullivan, about to unleash a right hand, saw his punch sail harmlessly over his opponent’s head as he tumbled down to his knees and then flat on the canvas, face-first. He hauled himself uncertainly back to his hands and knees, and looked up at referee Russell Mora, who waved off the contest without completing a count. The time was 2:44 of Round 1.
O’Sullivan continued to look dazed and confused, even as he stood up, with Mora placing a protective arm around his shoulder as Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) celebrated.
“I felt great,” said the winner in the ring afterward. “I’m in superb shape. I always like to give the fans a good fight, so I hope you’re happy. I was motivated by all the trash talk. I’m not the kind of guy who likes to talk trash. I respect my opponents. I keep it all in the ring.”
Undercard Report: Chocolatito Gets Back On Winning Track With Brutal KO
By Eric Raskin
The losing streak is over – and in emphatic fashion. Former four-division (and pound-for-pound) champ Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez scored his first victory in more than two years and flashed some of the old offensive brilliance as he disposed of Moises Fuentes with a vicious right hand in the fifth round of the GGG-Canelo 2 undercard opener.
This was the Chocolatito’s first bout in nearly 12 months, following back-to-back losses to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai – the first by controversial decision, the second by brutal fourth-round KO. Now 31 years old, questions swirled. Did the Nicaraguan have anything left?
It may have something to do with the opposition, but against Fuentes (25-6-1, 14 KOs), an easy target, the answer was yes. After a tentative start to the fight, Gonzalez started opening up in the final 30 seconds of the first round and never slowed down from there. A head clash opened a cut over Fuentes’ right eye in the second round, and the blood was clearly bothering him. Gonzalez’s nonstop combinations to the body and head only exacerbated his problems.
A left hook in the third nearly dropped Fuentes, but he stayed up after dipping low. He had no such recuperative powers in round five, when a sizzling right to the chin knocked the Mexican veteran unconscious before he even hit the canvas. It may be a Knockout of the Year contender – and for Chocolatito (47-2, 39 KOs), hopefully the start of a memorable comeback in the talent-loaded super flyweight division.