If Saturday night was an audition for Jaime Munguia’s hopes of landing a showdown against Mexican icon Canelo Alvarez in May, the unbeaten slugger made one heck of a statement.
Munguia (43-0, 34 KOs) scored four knockdowns en route to a dominant ninth-round stoppage of the durable John Ryder (32-7, 18 KOs) inside the Footprint Center in Phoenix. The 35-year-old Ryder, who took Alvarez the 12-round distance last May, announced before the Munguia fight he would retire if defeated.
“It would truly be a great fight among Mexicans,” Munguia said, through a translator, about a possible fight with Alvarez. “If Canelo gives us a chance, it would be an honor to share the ring next to him.”
In his first fight with trainer Freddie Roach after fellow Hall of Famer Erik Morales chose to focus on a political career, the 27-year-old Munguia simply looked like a different fighter. The native of Mexico looked more mature and poised than at any other point in his pro career, which began at age 16 in 2013, and was lethal with combinations.
Munguia established himself early from distance with a very patient attack until a combination floored Ryder in the corner in Round 2. From there, Munguia went on the attack and outlanded Ryder, according to CompuBox, by a margin of 146 to 77 over the course of the fight.
“I’m very happy and I was ready for this,” Munguia said. “I know that I worked very, very hard for this. I know a lot of people didn’t believe in me but this is the result of hard work. We are ready for 168 [pounds].”
While Ryder was game throughout as he leaned on his well-respected chin, he was unable to produce a late rally similar to what he did against Alvarez.
Munguia scored his second knockdown in Round 4 on a counter jab that caught Ryder off balanced after squaring up. Each time Ryder would find success, often with a lead right hook, Munguia would come back to the body to create distance before surging forward behind noticeably improved technique.
“Last time, I was throwing punches like crazy but this time my timing was perfect,” Munguia said. “Ryder is a tough fighter, he is a hard-headed fighter. My hands actually hurt from punching him so much to the head.”
Munguia opened Round 8 in pursuit of a finish and visibly hurt Ryder with a big right cross until a well-timed counter from Ryder caused Munguia to circle away and seek shelter. The moment proved to be fleeting for Ryder as Round 9 became his reckoning.
Ryder ate a right cross to the top of the head and was floored on a second right that caught him while wobbling backwards. Munguia scored a second knockdown in the round, and fourth of the fight, moments later on a body shot.
Referee Wes Melton was unable to see Ryder’s corner attempting to throw in the towel, however. Even though Ryder was able to survive until the bell, his corner stopped the fight at the close of the round.
“I feel great. I’m motivated for the next fight,” Munguia said. “It’s going to be bigger and better than this one. I’m going to get better every time. We don’t know [the opponent] yet, there is nothing on the table. But we want the best of the best at 168 pounds. We will be a champion.”
Alvarez, 33, easily outpointed unified junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo last September in the fourth defense of his undisputed 168-pound title. He has recently been linked to rumors of a May return against Jermall Charlo, the WBC middleweight titleholder and twin brother of Jermell.