Canelo Álvarez vs. Jaime Munguía: Keys to victory, prediction, what to expect in Mexican showdown

Canelo Álvarez vs. Jaime Munguía: Keys to victory, prediction, what to expect in Mexican showdown

Undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Álvarez puts his belts on line Saturday against undefeated Jaime MunguÍa at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

It’s an all-Mexican showdown of youth vs. experience on Cinco De Mayo weekend for all the marbles.

Canelo Álvarez will look to defend his undisputed super middleweight title for a fourth straight time Saturday (8 p.m. ET, DAZN PPV) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas against fellow Mexican and former super welterweight world champion Jaime Munguía, who seeks to snatch the torch from the legendary future Hall of Famer.

At just 27 years old, Jaime Munguía has already proven his mettle in the ring with 43 professional fights under his belt. While he’s faced some tough opponents, none can match Álvarez, the undisputed face of boxing and four-division world champion.

As the stage is set, the question remains: Will Álvarez continue his reign, or will the younger Mexican steal his thunder?

Here are the keys to victory for Álvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) and Munguía (43-0, 34 KOs), followed by a final prediction ahead of their high-stakes clash in Las Vegas.

Munguía is a beast. He’s swift and explosive but has glaring flaws. However, he has yet to face a fighter who can check him for his mistakes. Munguía destroyed John Ryder in January, but even when the Englishman was hurt, he consistently landed counter right hooks on Munguía. Why? Munguía likes to admire his work. And when that happens, he throws caution to the wind, drops his hands and doesn’t move his head. If Ryder had power, Munguía may have been on the mat. He cannot make these mistakes against Canelo, who could be out of his prime but remains one of the best counterpunchers in the sport. Munguía needs to be aggressive, but smart. He wants to avoid ending up like James Kirkland.

The 33-year-old Álvarez has struggled against slick boxers with good jabs, such as Floyd Mayweather Jr., Gennadiy Golovkin and Dmitry Bivol. Munguía isn’t exactly a “slick” fighter, but he has a good jab and follows up with high-volume combinations.

Munguía’s offense is his strength. He’s a big guy, and his 6-foot size could pose a problem for the 5-9 Álvarez, particularly early in the fight. Munguía must avoid staying in the pocket for too long or throwing too many punches in an exchange. There have been moments where Munguía has been too slow to get out of the pocket and has taken some shots on the way out. He must not try to reinvent the wheel, instead focusing on throwing a few shots and getting out of the way of those counters. Get Álvarez on the backfoot with the jab, and keep his hands up.

Let’s get it out there: Munguía is going to make mistakes in this fight. It’s up to Álvarez to make him pay. Both fighters tend to feel their opponent out in the opening round.

This is Munguía’s first significant fight on a major platform, and his nerves could work against him. This is a chance for Álvarez to give him a rude awakening to his level of professional prizefighting. Pressure him early, feint to the head and rip the body early.

Saul Canelo Álvarez

Will Canelo Álvarez be victorious on Saturday night? (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Will Munguía respond aggressively or will he be wise? That’s a good question. We don’t know. What we do know is that Álvarez typically has excellent defense. If Munguía gets hurt and overzealous as a result, that could fall right into Álvarez’s hands.

Álvarez isn’t the same fighter he was when he dominated at middleweight or when he went on a destructive rampage to win the undisputed 168-pound world championship in 2021.

He won’t be able to match Munguia’s speed. He’s the older fighter in this matchup, and he’s been in more wars. Álvarez has had stamina issues in the past, so he can’t necessarily get too overaggressive, either, because Munguía may try to maul him on the inside with precise power shots.

Munguía is younger, fresher and the physically stronger fighter of the two.

As he has gotten older, Álvarez has become more savvy in the ring. It’s the little things that will make a difference in this fight. Álvarez’s head movement is more elusive, and he’ll attack the body. He’ll also be the more accurate puncher.

Munguía is a really good fighter. He’s exciting because he hits and gets hit, but that’s also a problem. He takes a lot of unnecessary punishment, and Álvarez doesn’t.

I expect Munguía to put up a very good fight until Álvarez’s body of work catches up to him. Álvarez catches him late and gets a 10th-round TKO to continue his undisputed reign at 168.

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