June 10th, Toyota Arena, Ontario, California.
And the 2023 Fight of the Year.
It was a hot day in Ontario on June 10, and the action inside the ring when super middleweight warriors Jaime Munguia and Sergiy Derevyanchenko rumbled, was scorching. For 12 sensational rounds of warfare, the unbeaten Mexican star in the making slugged it out with the experienced Ukrainian fighter who was, the thinking went, past his best at age 37 and was sporting a 14-4(10) record.
But these two men, at different stages of their respective careers, brought out the best in each other, this as they gave us this year’s best action fight, and this year’s best fight, period. Over the course of 36 minutes, Munguia, aged 26 and taking on the toughest test thus far in his 41-0(33) pro career, slung out a ton of leather. Derevyanchenko threw just as much back, and it was closer than close. There were no dull rounds to sit through, instead each and every round was edge of your seat stuff. Round five was incredible, perhaps worthy of the Round of the Year gong.
These two men laid it all on the line, their heart and chin tested hard. The trading was something to behold, the often recklessness of the attacks from both sides more so. Some fights, they take the two fighters and we fans to some place special. This was one such fight/battle to the end/slugfest. Erik Morales, who trained Munguia at the time, and who gave us so many savagely entertaining ring wars during his career, would have been proud to have been involved in this fight.
In the end, courtesy of a last-round body shot knockdown he managed to pull out, Munguia pulled out the win, this via scores of 115-112, 114-113, 114-113. Had there been no knockdown in the 12th round, the fight would have been scored a draw. And nobody would have complained. As it was, Derevyanchenko, who had previously dropped close, even debatable decisions in fights with Gennady Golovkin and Daniel Jacobs, felt hard done by on the cards.
A rematch was immediately spoken of, but so far, it’s not been made (Munguia will return to action against John Ryder in January, with Derevyanchenko to appear on the card against TBA, so who knows, maybe the sequel will happen?)
Munguia is always fun to watch, as is Derevyanchenko. In the ring together, these two gave us something epic. Together, Munguia and Derevyanchenko gave us the 2023 Fight of the Year.