Ali vs Mungai – HBO Boxing is back this Saturday night with a main event featuring 154 pound WBO champion Sadam Ali defending his belt against Jaime Mungia. A second world title fight graces the card as 122 pounders Azat Hovhannisyan (14-2) and Rey Vargas (31-0) fight for Vargas’ WBC world title super bantmweight title
Ali (26-1) won the WBO world title at 154 pounds in December of 2017 when he decisioned Miguel Cotto. That win came as a surprise to most of the boxing world and here Ali is making his first title defense. Ali was scheduled to face England’s Liam Smith in his first title defense but Smith pulled out with a skin condition in late April.
So in steps Mexico’s undefeated Jaime Munguia (28-0) to face Ali. Munguia is an intriguing fighter, as the 21 year old is making his first fight outside of his home country. Despite turning pro at 16 years old, Munguia also packs an amateur record of nearly 150 fights onto his resume. With Ali spending most of his training camp preparing for the plodding Smith it will be interesting to see if Munguia brings any speed and power to the table. Munguia competed at 141 pounds as an amateur and he was a welterweight as a pro until he struggled to make weight.
But Ali has his own amateur pedigree to fall back on. Yes, he will have to deal with a fighter now who has nothing to lose. When he was facing Smith, he was facing a known quantity. Smith is best remembered by Americans as the opponent for Saul “Canelo” Alvarez back in September of 2016. Smith was stopped in that fight, as Alvarez packed the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Dallas. Smith’s career in the U.K is well documented and Ali is a fighter who will work a game plan. All of that is out the window now against Munguia. Ali has a chance to overcome some adversity in this fight and as you can see the odds makers are not ruling Munguia out as he is not a +2000 favorite.
At Super bantamweght Rey Vargas (31-0) of Mexico is set to defend his 122-pound belt for the third time when he faces Azat Hovhannisyan (14-2). Look for Vargas to show his pedigree against the workmanlike Hovhannisyan, who comes from a fighting family and will cone to make a fight of it.
The live event comes to us from the Turning Stone Casino just outside of Syracuse, New York and the seven fight card is promted by Oscar De La Hoya and his Golden Boy Promotions. GBP was supposed to hit the Turning Stone flush coming off the Gennady Golovkin vs Saul “Canelo” Alvarez HBO PPV but that superfight did not happen on May 5th. Golden Boy cash cow Alvarez ran into a positive steroid test and a sixth month suspension. It will be interesting to see if HBO and GBP mention the fiasco and what the message will be. Alvarez’ personal reputation has definitely taken a hit with all of this but in the twisted world of boxing, “Canelo” and GBP may actually make more money than ever upon his return.
Turning Stone Resort & Casino – Ali vs Mungai – Verona, New York – HBO
Super Welterweight 12 rounds –
Jaime Munguia +170
Sadam Ali -230
Super Bantamweight 12 rounds –
Azat Hovhannisyan +475
Rey Vargas -825
Ali vs Mungai / Check out more boxing news and features at The Sweet Science.
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