We can be bipolar, us boxing fans. We can get over-enthused off a win, and make too much of a loss.
Temperance, we don’t always have that on lockdown..
I’m pondering this as I mull tomorrow nights’ HBO lineup. 154 crown holder Jaime Munguia enjoyed a ticker tape parade of a reaction when he terrorized Sadam Ali…
..a few months ago, and this occurred, partially, because fans had low expectation of the Mexican. He was dismissed as a hype job in some circles, because people read that he’d been dismissed by the Nevada commission as a fill-in foe to fight GGG after Canelo had a beef ingestion issue.
Assumptions were made…and you know what happens when you make assumptions? You maybe don’t do your home work and instead react off emotion rather than evidence. (Yeah, this happens a lot more now, because of social media. We read a headline, and want to add our two cents, because shit, the world HAS TO KNOW WHAT MIKE WOODS THINKS ABOUT TRUMP’S LATEST GAFFE…and maybe we didn’t read more than the headline and let alone not knowing nuance, we might not even know the basics of the story.)
That’s my long winded preamble to come to this point…Maybe we made a bit too much of Munguia for his downing of Ali, in anointing him the new beast master who’ll conquer 154 and then thrash all comers at 160, while supplanting Canelo and any other seeker of top dog status in the exalted land of fistiana, Mexico. So, because of that, maybe we are under-scoring the chances for Liam Smith tomorrow night in the HBO main event. Maybe Munguia isn’t a beast master like we’ve built him up to be in our head, and this main event isn’t destined to be an exercise in pain management for the Brit Smith.
I checked in with the esteemed Jim Lampley…
..the Hall of Fame narrator, to get his sense of how he sees the Munguia-Smith tango, and the TV opener, which pits Puerto Rican super featherweight titlist Alberto Machado (19-0) versus Rafael Mensah (31-0, from Ghana; promoted by Don King, yes Don still has a stable, you thought he was done in 2014, but no).
You thinking, Jim, maybe we see a star shot tomorrow? A star already born fully fashioned into an attraction, a must see sort?
“Mike, Munguia was cosmic in our first meeting with him and he was even more so today. Answered every question thoughtfully and introspectively, often going to the second or third ramification or complexity in his response. I like Liam, terrific sportsman, and he was brave in getting to the ninth vs Canelo. I will be even more impressed if he can get to the sixth or seventh against the bigger, rangier Munguia. Over the long haul I think “Star” will be an understatement re Jaime. Think higher than that.”
Maybe my bipolarity construct was off base here. Maybe the buzz from the Munguia mugging of Ali was authentic, maybe collectively we got high off the aroma of magnificence in action?
And what of the stakes in the TV opener, Jim? “Stakes in first fight are that one is going to move toward recognition in that division and the other will take a step back. Machado, like Jaime, is exceptionally bright and quick to learn, and trainer Freddie Roach looks healthier and better than I have seen in a long time. Inspiring. Just too many advantages in that corner for me to pick Mensah. I see Machado UD or late stoppage.”
HBO is on air with fights, a two-fer, starting at 10 PM ET. And I’m hoping my lack of temperance is justified, and Munguia is what some advertise, a star now and soon to be even more huge an attractant. I look at pictures of him..
..and I see, I think, an intangible essence that suggests Lamps’ call is, as per usual, on target. We want to know now, but time will hold out on us a bit more.