In a harder-than-expected fight, former WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia (40-0, 32 KOs) stopped Jimmy ‘Kilrain’ Kelly (26-3, 10 KOs) in the fifth round of a scheduled 12-round fight at a catchweight of 165-lbs on Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
The British fighter Kelly was boxing beautifully through the first four rounds, taking Munguia to school with moves that he’d likely never seen before during his nine-year pro career
In the fifth round, Munguia’s power bailed him out, as he suddenly unleashed a booming look hook that flattened Kelly as if he’d been shot by a pistol. The punch came from out of nowhere and badly hurt the 29-year-old Kelly.
Kelly immediately got back to his feet but was dropped for a second time in the round from a big uppercut. Moments later, Munguia sent Kelly to the canvas for the third time in the room. This time, referee Thomas Taylor stepped in and halted the contest at 2:57 of the round.
It’s unclear whether Munguia was taking it easy on Kelly in this fight to get some rounds in, as he was a big favorite going into the contest. Munguia didn’t show the same effort tonight as we saw in his recent fights with Kamil Szeremeta and Gabe Rosado.
Munguia’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya wants to get him a title shot against WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo next, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll be successful.
De La Hoya didn’t give the media any idea of who his plan B is for Munguia to fight if he fails to get the Charlo fight. There are opponents that De La Hoya can easily get against fighters like Janibek Alimkhanuly, Chris Eubank Jr, Erislandy Lara, and Chris Adames.
Those would be very tough fights for Munguia, and he would have to fight much better against them than he did tonight against Kelly.
WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade would be another doable fight for Munguia, but again, he would need to raise his game considerably to have any shot at beating the undefeated champ.
If Munguia were willing to go all the way up to 168 for his next fight, he could get potential fights against David Benavidez, John Ryder, David Morrell Jr, Caleb Plant, Anthony Dirrell, and Jack Parker.
Those would be very tough outs for Munguia, and it’s questionable whether he could beat any of them.