After years of criticism from boxing fans for what was viewed as a soft schedule for a fighter of his skill level, Jaime Munguia found himself in the toughest fight of his career this past June, outlasting Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a war. On Saturday, he’ll look to build on that fight when he takes on another stiff test in John Ryder in a super middleweight bout.
Munguia’s record is impressive on paper, at 42-0 with 33 knockouts. He won a world title in 2018, smashing through Sadam Ali in just four rounds to take the WBO light middleweight championship. Munguia followed that up with an impressive and hard-fought win over Liam Smith. Four more title defenses followed, none against fighters who were expected to give Munguia much of a challenge.
After moving up to middleweight and then super middleweight, Munguia cruised through fights against overmatched opponents. In only three of his fights after winning the WBO title against Ali was Munguia less than a -1000 favorite.
One of those fights came against Derevyanchenko in a bout that was one of the best of 2023. Derevyanchenko was able to get inside, push Munguia around and land hard shots throughout the fight. Munguia was able to score a big knockdown in Round 12, which allowed him to edge the scorecards, with the judges turning in final tallies of 115-112, 114-113, and 114-113.
Munguia now heads into the fight with Ryder as just a -375 favorite, likely a reaction to his struggles against Derevyanchenko, who was the much smaller man in the fight but still took advantage of Munguia’s defensive liabilities.
Ryder’s record is much less impressive on paper, with 32 wins in 38 fights, but he has faced tougher opposition that Munguia. That includes his most recent fight, in which Ryder lost to undisputed super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by unanimous decision in May 2023.
Ryder also fought Callum Smith for the WBA title in November 2019, also losing that championship bout by unanimous decision. That decision came with a fair bit of controversy as many scored the fight for Ryder but Smith took fairly wide scorecards of 116-112, 116-112, and 117-111.
Munguia vs. Smith fight card, odds
|Jaime Munguia -350
|John Ryder +275
|Oscar Collazo (c) -3000
|Reyneris Gutierrez +1100
|WBO minimumweight title
|Gabriela Fundora (c) -2000
|Christina Cruz +900
|IBF flyweight title
Date: Jan. 27 | Location: Footprint Center — Phoenix
Time: 10 p.m. ET
How to watch/stream: DAZN
This is a very solid fight, especially considering what both men do well. Ryder had success against Smith — and deserved to leave as world champion — by executing a very similar gameplan to what Derevyanchenko did against Munguia. Ryder is willing to push opponents around and exchange big shots and he’s proven his chin can hold up to getting clipped by big shots. Add in Munguia’s technique not being top-notch and his defense being very leaky and it’s not hard to see a clear path to victory for Ryder.
Munguia is a handful once he gets rolling and he’s not likely to suddenly have changed his style to be anything other than someone who wants to mix it up. The question is whether or not he can keep Ryder off his chest while keeping his own back off the ropes. Munguia should be the favorite coming in but this feels like the kind of fight where an upset is very much in play. Pick: John Ryder via SD