San Diego, Calif., January 26, 2019 –Takeshi Inoue of Japan (13-1-1, 7 KOs) took the fight to Jaime Munguia of Mexico (32-0. 26 KOs) in Houston, resulting in a wild, all-action brawl in front of an appreciative crowd at the Toyota Center Saturday.
Munguia battled his way to a unanimous decision win over Inoue, with scores of 120-108 and 119-110, a near shutout. He retains his WBO super welterweight title. The scorecards in no way reflect the toe-to-toe action in this super welterweight fight.
Inoue employed the right game plan, coming right at Munguia from the opening bell. It was his goal to turn the fight into a close quarters brawl, taking away the taller Munguia’s ability to fight behind his strong jab at distance. His early aggression threw Munguia off his game, taking him several rounds to regroup.
Inoue was willing to take a punch to deliver his own, and after a few rounds it became clear why it was working. Inoue has a granite chin. Despite getting hit with power shots to the body and the head, Inoue hardly even flinched. As Munguia finally began finding his way and engaging in the firefight, Inoue took punches from Munguia that dropped previous opponents like his win over Sadam Ali.
Munguia hurts but can’t stop Inoue
In the tenth round, the best fight round all night long, the determined Inoue delivered his best power shots, and to his credit Munguia weathered them well. Near the end of the round, Munguia landed several flush power punches to the head, rocking Inoue. But he refused to his the canvas and survived the round.
Both men made it to the final bell on their feet, but the credit goes to Inoue for showing tremendous determination to keep coming forward, looking for the chance to stop the champion and win the fight. It’s a shame the judges couldn’t see fit to give Inoue at least a few more rounds in the fight, but round by round scoring demands an independent assessment and not a cumulative one.
“It was a great fight, he was a great warrior,” said Munguia of Inoue. “I was surprised by him, he did great. I won the fight, I’ll take the title.”
Inoue takes the respect of American fans home to Japan
Munguia may have won on the scorecards, but Inoue will go home with a lot of respect from American fight fans who will look forward to seeing him again. The fight had the flavor of the 2015 Fight of the Year between Francisco Vargas and Takeshi Miura.
Munguia is only 22, and this experience provided valuable lessons as he moves up to middleweight and faces bigger, stronger opponents. He will not be able to mow them down. He needs to learn to use his jab and develop smarter defensive skills.
Asked if his performance had anything to do with trouble making the 154 pound weight limit, Munguia said “I don’t think so. There was no problem making weight. I have no problem fighting a few more times at 154, then moving up to 160.”
Munguia has a mandatory defense against Australia’s Dennis Hogan (28-1-1, 7 KOs). It could take place on the Canelo Alvarez vs. Daniel Jacobs undercard on May 4.
You can believe it, Can Xu delivers a win
Can “Monster” Xu of China (16-2, 2 KOs) not only won the WBA ‘regular’ featherweight title in a wildly entertaining fight against Jesus Rojas of Puerto Rico (26-3-2, 19 KOs), he won over a lot of new fans in Texas. In his second fight in the U.S., Xu showed more offense and more will than in recent fights. While Xu has never displayed raw power, he was relentless in his forward attack against Rojas, who was more than willing to engage. But surprisingly, Rojas couldn’t find a way to stop the Chinese fighter. Xu was elated to hear scores of 118-110, 117, and 116-112 read in his favor.
“This is my second time coming to the USA to fight. Before coming here, I knew it would be a very hard fight. I respect my opponent Rojas, he is very strong, very tough,” said Xu. With a devoted group of Chinese fans cheering him on, Xu was asked where his inspired performance came from. “It’s from China, I am Chinese!” said Xu. “ I know I can defend his punch, even thought his punch is very strong. I just punch, defense, punch, defense.”
Xu is now in line as a WBA mandatory challenger, in line for a fight against one of the division’s world titleholders, likely Leo Santa Cruz.
Vergil Ortiz remains undefeated and ready for a title fight
Texas native Vergil Ortiz Jr. of Dallas (12-0, 13 KOs) kept his perfect record and his stoppage streak alive with a fifth round TKO win over Jesus Valdez Barrayan of Sonora, Mexico (24-5-1, 12 KOs). Barrayan gave Ortiz as tough a fight as anyone he has faced. He refused to yield and he refused to give up.
Barrayan suffered a cut over his left eye, and by the fifth round, both Barrayan’s corner and the ringside physician gave in to the inevitable outcome and chose to protect Barrayan from any more damage in a losing cause.
Ortiz will take the win, but wasn’t entirely happy with the result.
“I felt like I could have done better. I didn’t go how I wanted it to go,” said Ortiz. “But this is how I learn. I hope my fans enjoyed it, I couldn’t do without you.
“I gotta give credit to him. He has tremendous heart, he has a lot of balls. As a fighter I really respect him. I can only respect him for what he did in there,” said Ortiz of Barrayan.
Ortiz proclaimed himself ready for a title shot, calling on his promoter Oscar De La Hoya to make it happen. De La Hoya said, “He looked good. He’s a hard worker, he’s always in great shape. I’d love to put together another card in Houston with Vergil Oritz headlining as a world champion, those are the plans.” Texas fight fans, hold the Golden Boy to it.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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