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‘Proud’ Canelo Alvarez retains titles, hands challenger 1st loss — PHOTOS

Updated May 4, 2024 - 11:28 pm

If Jaime Munguia didn’t have the full attention of Canelo Alvarez entering Saturday night’s super middleweight title bout at T-Mobile Arena, he certainly got it in the early rounds.

Once Alvarez found himself in a fight, he knew what to do.

The result was a unanimous-decision victory for Alvarez (61-2-2, 39 knockouts), who remained the undisputed champion and handed Munguia the first loss of his career.

Alvarez won on the scorecards 117-110, 116-111 and 115-112 to retain all five of his belts.

“I took my time,” Alvarez said. “I have a lot of experience. Munguia is a great fighter. He’s strong and smart. But I have 12 rounds to win the fight, and I did. I did really good, and I’m proud of it.”

Munguia (43-1, 34 KOs) was all over the champion early, controlling tempo and distance and ending the third round with a flurry that backed Alvarez into the corner and had the capacity crowd of 17,492 on its feet.

Alvarez, who spent much more of the week feuding with Munguia’s promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, had seen enough.

He stopped Munguia in his tracks with a big right hand early in the fourth round that slowed the challenger down. A minute later, he followed a clean left hand with a short right uppercut that sent Munguia to the canvas for the first time in his career.

It was a different fight from there, as Alvarez once again showed his technical mastery.

Cruising in final rounds

Munguia still had his moments, but he didn’t have the same speed or power he carried early in the bout, and he wasn’t able to do nearly the damage working the body that he did in the first three rounds.

Alvarez picked his spots for a right hand that still has plenty of power and prevented Munguia from finding the angles he had been able to exploit early in the fight.

The result was what looked like a cruise-control victory for Alvarez, but was anything but for about 10 minutes early 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 has a lot of experience. I started well, but he’s a fighter who creates a lot of problems.”

Undercard

In the co-main event, WBC interim welterweight champion Mario Barrios (29-2, 18 KOs) scored a third-round knockdown of Fabian Andres Maidana (22-3, 16 KOs) and held on through some tricky moments in the middle rounds to score a unanimous decision.

“It’s the ones you don’t see coming that are usually the hardest,” said Barrios, who entered the fight as a -1,200 favorite.

Barrios’ only losses came against world champions Keith Thurman and Gervonta Davis.

“I knew he came in for a hard fight, and he was a warrior like I thought he was,” Barrios said. “He fought hard for 12 rounds like I expected. Once my eye started swelling up it was hard to find my range, but we stuck to the fundamentals, tried to find openings and came out with the victory.”

Brandon Figueroa (25-1, 19 KOs) defended the WBC interim featherweight title with a knockout of Las Vegas native Jessie Magdaleno (29-3, 18 KOs).

Figueroa landed a left hand to the body just before the bell rang to end the ninth round, and Magdaelno was doubled over on his hands and knees as the referee’s count reached 10.

“I just had to be patient,” Figueroa said. “He was blocking the body shot with his arm, but I had to wear him down to get the opening. I waited, and I got it.”

Lithuanian Olympian Eimantas Stanionis (15-0, nine KOs) earned a unanimous-decision victory over Gabriel Maestre (6-1-1, five KOs) in the first fight on the main card.

Stanionis took over in the middle rounds and retained the WBA welterweight belt with a win over an opponent he defeated when they were amateurs nearly a decade ago.

The 29-year-old was just happy to be in action for the first time in nearly two years. An emergency appendectomy was followed by three postponed fights during that span.

“I know I said there would be no ring rust, but of course it’s different once you’re in the ring with all the lights,” he said. “It was very emotional to be back in the ring after such a long and frustrating time. It wasn’t my best performance. I’ll be back next time and better for sure.”

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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