In boxing, contention is about position.

Whether a fighter would be ‘favored’ to win one fight or another or not isn’t relevant. Getting a chance to find out is the only way anyone knows for sure.

Former junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia would be a sizable underdog against world super middleweight champion Saul Alvarez, leading contender David Benavidez, and likely a less sizable ‘dog against WBA sub-titlist David Morrell.

After his latest win though, Munguia sees both his fistic and merit stock raised and that means a step closer to opportunity. At just 27 years of age, that’s a nice place to be. That Munguia seems to be gradually evolving into a more rounded fighter makes his place more intriguing.

Munguia showed guts, stamina, and intensity in seizing victory last year over a tough Sergey Derevyanchenko. On Saturday, Munguia handed veteran John Ryder his first stoppage loss in more than eight years. Ryder is no world beater but he’s been the distance with Callum Smith, Daniel Jacobs, and Alvarez in those eight years. 

Working often behind his jab and working ferociously to the body, Munguia scored four knockdowns and got Ryder out of there in nine rounds. Does Munguia still get hit too much? Probably…but he’s now 43-0, the number one WBO contender, and within spitting distance of a crack at the WBC title as well. He looks better now than he did struggling against guys like Dennis Hogan a few years ago and he’s responding to this new uptick in competition. 

He won’t be favored when he gets his big shot, but if he stays the course a big shot is inevitable.

Futures: Munguia says he’s ready for Alvarez. He might be but like everyone else from 160-175 lbs., feeling ready is just another way to say ‘line forms to the right.’ Alvarez’s relationship with the PBC, and tempestuous relationship with his former promoters at Golden Boy, might mean Munguia has a while to wait in that line. 

If we’re judging on merit, everyone should be waiting behind Benavidez. 

There might be other options.

Munguia versus Edgar Berlanga would make money and is a notable fight in the division where Munguia would be favored. If Benavidez can’t get Alvarez, and some rumors suggest that fight could still be a ways off, why not Benavidez-Munguia? 

One thing we know we have with Munguia is good TV. Benavidez’s style is entertaining as hell. Munguia could also match well with Christian Mbilli or, in the not too distant future, Diego Pacheco. 

The question going forward will be: does Team Munguia keep the momentum going and pursue further evolution or do they start to play safe again and hope Alvarez comes around their way eventually? Time will tell.

Cliff’s Notes…

The Gabriella Fundora stoppage was absolutely correct…The Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk face-off interview was interesting. Even Fury seems bored by his own schtick and he seems to realize Usyk isn’t the least bit bothered by him…Anyone think Shakur Stevenson is really retired? That ploy is less meaningful when the last thing everyone remembers is the Edwin De Los Santos fight…Oscar Collazo is the most interesting strawweight in a decade…Haven’t seen it yet but word is the Omar Trinidad-Jose Perez fight is worth seeking out.    

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at