Alvarez will fight Benavidez 'if money is right' after inflicting first defeat on Munguia

Mexican retains his undisputed super-middleweight world title with unanimous verdict over countryman in Las Vegas

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Saul “Canelo” Alvarez handed Jaime Munguia the first defeat of his career after securing a convincing unanimous decision in Las Vegas on Saturday night.

Alvarez, who received scores of 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 from the three judges to seal the win, sent his opponent to the canvas in the fourth round, the first knock-down of Munguia's career.

Victory takes the 33-year-old Mexican's record to 61-2-2 in what was his first fight since defeating American Jermell Charlo last year. It was the fourth time Alvarez has defended his WBC, WBO, IBF and WBA super-middleweight titles.

And the clamour is now once again growing for Alvarez to take on unbeaten countryman David Benavidez, although he has previously insisted that the 27-year-old, who has won 24 of his 28 fight by knockouts, “brings nothing to the table”.

After his victory in front of more than 17,000 fans at the T-Mobile Arena on Cinco de Mayo weekend, Alvarez was again asked whether a fight with Benavidez – a three-time WBC super-middleweight world champion who will step up to light-heavyweight next month – is on the cards.

“If the money's right … I can fight [Benavidez] right now,” he insisted. “I don't give a s***. It's only a matter of money at this point. Everybody is asking for everything.

“When I fought [Erislandy] Lara, Austin Trout, Miguel Angel Cotto, [Floyd] Mayweather, Billy Joe Saunders, GGG, everybody said I don't want to fight them, and I fought all of them. So right now … I can do whatever I want.

“When I retire, my numbers will say what position I'm in. I know there's a lot of great Mexican fighters in the past. But I'm the best who's fighting right now."

Munguia looked dangerous heading into the fight, boasting an undefeated record of 43-0, including 34 knockouts.

Meanwhile, Alvarez had won his three previous fights by decision but was searching for his first knockout win since having surgery on his left hand in 2022. His only two defeats have been against Mayweather and when he stepped up to light-heavyweight to take on Dmitry Bivol.

Munguia came out of the gates as the aggressor, even forcing Alvarez into the ropes in the third round.

But Alvarez responded in the fourth. After Munguia connected with a pair of solid rights Alvarez followed a left hook with a massive uppercut that sent his opponent to the canvas.

“You know, I take my time,” Alvarez said of his measured start. “I have a lot of experience. Jaime Munguia is a great fighter. He's strong. He's smart, but I take my time.”

Munguia briefly reclaimed the advantage in the ninth but the veteran responded in kind to his younger opponent’s combinations to keep the round level.

Munguia was frantic in the final round as he searched for a knockout, but Alvarez looked unfazed as he ultimately closed out the bout with a series of decisive blows.

“I'm very proud that all the Mexicans are here watching us,” said Alvarez, who has recorded 39 knockouts but none since he stopped Caleb Plant in the 11th round in 2021.

“He's a great fighter ... but he's a little slow. I can see every punch. Sometimes he got me because I get so confident … I did really good and I feel proud about it. I'm the best fighter right now for sure.”

Munguia – who has honed his aggressive style under the tutelage of long-time Manny Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach – admitted Alvarez had used his experience well in the fight.

“I came out strong and was winning the early rounds,” Munguia said through an interpreter. “I let my hands go, but he's a fighter with a lot of experience.

“The loss hurts because it's my first loss and I felt strong. There's no doubt I would have beaten anyone else tonight … He's a fighter who creates a lot of problems.”

Roach made his debut in Munguia’s corner in a win over John Ryder in January, and will now go back to the drawing board to prepare his young fighter for whatever promoter Oscar De La Hoya throws his way next.

“This experience for Jaime will take him to another level,” De La Hoya said. “He gains experience. He didn’t get schooled. He gained experience and becomes a better fighter.”

Updated: May 05, 2024, 11:20 AM