It didn’t take long for Jaime Munguia to establish himself among the leading middleweight contenders.

Reaching the level of respect he enjoyed as a WBO junior middleweight titlist, however, will require more work.

“I know that people are waiting on me to fight a middleweight champion.” Munguia acknowledged to “I don’t take offense to not getting credit as one of the top middleweights.”

Those who feel that way about the 25-year-old Tijuana native likely won’t change their stance regardless of how things play out this weekend. Munguia (37-0, 30KO) is set for his fourth fight at middleweight, the latest coming versus veteran trialhorse Gabriel Rosado (26-13-1, 15KOs) this Saturday on DAZN from the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

Munguia is currently riding a four-fight knockout streak, including three in a row since moving up to middleweight. His debut at the weight produced mixed results, stopping Ireland’s Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in the eleventh round last January at Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Munguia proved to quickly adapt to the weight on the other side of the pandemic, overcoming a stiff challenge from Tureano Johnson to earn a stoppage win after seven rounds.

The most impressive post-title reign victory to date came in his most recent performance, when Munguia tore through former title challenger Kamil Szeremeta this past June 19 at Don Haskins Center on the campus of The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). The same show saw Philadelphia’s Rosado deliver a Knockout and Upset of the Year candidate after icing previously unbeaten Bektemir ‘Bek Bully’ Melikuziev inside of three rounds in the chief support.

Momentum from the card, coupled with prior discussion between camps of a future fight led to piecing together this weekend’s headliner. Munguia is favored to win though not expected to roll through the battle-tested Rosado. What is expected of the unbeaten Mexican is an eventual step up in class, particularly as the number-one contender to both the WBC and WBO titles held, respectively, by Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22KOs) and Demetrius Andrade (30-0, 18KOs).

A title eliminator with three-time title challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-3, 10KOs) was previously ordered by the WBC, though such a matchup could eventually become a fight for the middleweight title or at least an interim belt. Charlo is on the short list of candidates to next land a dream assignment versus undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-1-2, 39KOs), an opportunity that would require a move up in weight.

Andrade is due to make the fifth defense of his title versus Ireland’s Jason Quigley (19-1, 14KOs) just six days after Munguia-Rosado and is forever in need of a willing opponent at middleweight.

Also looming ahead is the winner of the rumored title unification bout between IBF middleweight titlist Gennadiy Golovkin (41-1-1, 36KOs) and WBA claimant Ryota Murata (16-2, 13KOs) tentatively scheduled for December 29 at Saitama (Japan) Super Arena.

Regardless of the direction, there remain plenty of options for Munguia as long as he emerges with a win this weekend.  

“I know it’s going to take me beating one of the other champions or a really big name to earn everyone’s respect at this weight,” notes Munguia. “That is what I plan to do. I feel really good at this weight and I know that the time has come to face the best. One year from now, you will be talking to the middleweight champion of the world.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for Twitter: @JakeNDaBox