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Munguia powers through Rosado in career win

The punch that could ruin everything for Jaime Munguia always seemed to be lurking around the corner. From tight angles or a fleeting blind spot, veteran Gabriel Rosado was looking to throw the big, thudding punch that could upend a rising prospect’s career.

On Saturday night, Munguia didn’t just escape unharmed. The middleweight turned in the type of performance that could propel him to a title shot very soon.

Munguia powered through one of boxing’s toughest veterans and cruised to a unanimous decision victory — 118-110, 119-109, 117-111 — at Anaheim’s Honda Center. In an all-action fight, Munguia weathered Rosado’s best attack to pick up perhaps the most impressive win of his professional career.

“This was my toughest fight so far against Gabriel Rosado because of the way that he would tie up,” Munguia said through an interpreter in his postfight interview on DAZN. “But I think it was a great fight that everyone enjoyed.”

From the first round, Rosado’s game plan seemed pretty simple: Rough up the 25-year-old Mexican fighter on the inside and wait until there was an opening for a big counterpunch. In the first half of the bout, that seemed to work. Rosado (26-14-1, 15 KOs) had a few punches that appeared to stun Munguia (38-0, 30 KOs) for brief moments.

Rosado’s best shot came at the end of the eighth round, when he caught Munguia with a straight right hand. Those flurries led the Philadelphia native to believe he was more competitive than the scorecards indicated.

“I thought the fight was a lot closer,” Rosado said afterward. “He never hurt me, but I hurt him, for sure. It was obvious that I hurt him.”

But while Munguia perhaps never hurt Rosado, Munguia dominated down the stretch. In three of the last five rounds, Munguia landed more than 50% of his power shots, according to CompuBox. He connected on 48% of those big punches throughout the whole fight.

And while Rosado, 35, kept searching for a big right hand that could hurt or perhaps put Munguia down, the younger fighter kept coming up the middle as Rosado faded significantly in the late rounds. Munguia closed any windows Rosado was peeking through in hopes of landing a magical punch.

“The adjustment I had to make is to get a little closer, not to fall in his game plan or to his distance, because that’s when he was getting me a bit,” Munguia said.

Since Munguia moved up to middleweight in January 2020, he lacked the type of victory that showed he can contend for a title in the 160-pound division. Saturday’s victor said he wanted a crack at one of the four major titles in the near future, a shot that seems more realistic after taking Rosado’s best punches in a resounding performance.

“We’re ready for a world title in the coming year or an elimination bout,” Munguia said. “We’re ready for each of those things.”

ESPN Boxing

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EltasZone Sportswriters, Sports Analysts, Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from The Zone Team
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