Jaime Munguia and his U.S. promoter either believe they have more time on the clock or are in damage control mode.
Both could very well be the case.
Upon reports that Tijuana’s Munguia’s side fumbled the snap on a discussed challenge of WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22KOs), both Munguia and promoter Oscar De La Hoya—a Hall of Fame former six-division titlist and founder/chairman of Golden Boy Promotions—took to social media to claim the fight will still being discussed. Charlo and Munguia were in advanced talks for a fight targeted for June 18 in Houston, only for such negotiations to suddenly hit a wall.
A report from ESPN.com boxing insider Mike Coppinger noted that the main sticking point was on which platform to air the title fight. The offer was made by TGB Promotions on behalf of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), with the intention to air on Showtime—the current home for nearly all of PBC’s premium content. Golden Boy—the U.S. promoter for Munguia (39-0, 31KOs, with Zanfer Boxing taking the lead in Mexico—has done its business exclusively with DAZN since December 2018, hoping to have the platform involved in an offered joint pay-per-view.
“Finalizing Charlo vs Munguia is top priority,” De La Hoya stated Saturday afternoon on social media, shortly after news broke of the reported fallout. “Golden Boy remains committed to our partner DAZN. DAZN Boxing understands the magnitude of this fight and is willing and able to collaborate with Showtime Sports to get this done.
“I hope Showtime is on board.”
It was also claimed in the ESPN.com report that such negotiations also included a rematch clause. Had Charlo lost and exercised the clause, Munguia and his side would have been in position to bring the fight to DAZN. This point was addressed by the Showtime side.
“Simple, fair solution: as the champion, and the side initiating the deal & paying for the fight, the Charlo side/TGB chooses the network for the first fight,” insisted Stephen Espinoza, president of sports and event programming for Showtime. “If Munguia wins, then GB/Munguia controls the rematch & can take it to DAZN or whatever other network they choose.”
The fight was in discussion for at least three weeks, shortly after Munguia’s third-round knockout of unbeaten D’Mitrius Ballard last February 19 in his Tijuana hometown. Rumors of the potential matchup first circulated when Espinoza teased through the media that fans would be very pleased with who the network had in mind as the opponent for Charlo’s next title defense.
Munguia—a former WBO junior middleweight titlist and current top-rated middleweight contender—was also considering an offer to next face Kazakhstan’s Janibek Alimkhnauly (11-0, 7KOs) in an interim middleweight fight as ordered by the WBO. The ten-day deadline passed without a deal in place, though with the WBO not only led to believe that Munguia was on board for the fight but also in the process of turning down the fight with Charlo.
Concerns arose when it was learned that the opposite was communicated to the other side, complete with Munguia and Zanfer Boxing president Fernando Beltran informing Mexican media that the fight was “90% done.” Their insistence was that Munguia was better off challenging for the title straightaway rather than entertaining an interim title fight or even a WBC final eliminator with Carlos Adames—the latter which could very well come into play.
The WBO grew tired of waiting on Munguia, announcing on Friday an ordered interim middleweight title fight between Alimkhanuly and England’s Danny Dignum (14-0-1, 8KOs). The development led many to believe that Munguia was a lock to next face Charlo, who aims to make the fifth defense of the title he has held since June 2019.
Munguia still believes that to be the case.
“Nothing is canceled yet,” Munguia claimed in an all-caps tweet Saturday afternoon. “We are still in negotiations. I think this fight is a priority for all my team and me.”
Munguia has won five straight at middleweight—all on DAZN—after abandoning his junior middleweight title reign at the end of 2019. He has served as the number-one contender with the WBC and the WBO, though twice declining to enforce his WBO mandatory status—to the chagrin of WBO middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade (31-0, 19KOs), who also fights on DAZN and has called for the fight ever since Munguia officially moved up in weight.
Showtime will announce its full spring and early summer schedule on Tuesday. It is expected to include at least the next fight date for Charlo, regardless of whether Munguia eventually comes to terms by then.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox