Canelo vs Munguia Predictions: Harder than expected win for Alvarez

 | 2nd May | 

5 mins read

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Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez defends his undisputed super middleweight championship against Jaime Munguia this Saturday, May 4. The blockbuster all-Mexico battle takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Cinco de Mayo weekend. DAZN will screen the bout. Here are my Canelo vs Munguia predictions ahead of one of the biggest fight nights of the year.

Canelo vs Munguia Tips

  • Canelo on points @ 5/6
  • Fight to go the distance - Yes @ 4/9

Canelo copped a fair amount of undue criticism for taking this fight. Much of it stemmed from the four-belt super middleweight ruler seemingly overlooking the challenge of the more-deserving David Benavidez. Purely through that prism, Munguia was a disappointing choice of opponent. But without the bias or disappointment over a Canelo-Benavidez showdown not taking place, Canelo-Munguia is actually a very good fight.

Munguia is 43-0 with 34 knockouts on his record. He is a former WBO light middleweight champion of the world, defending that belt five times before moving up in weight. At middleweight and super middleweight he has faced and defeated six men who have challenged for world titles. The Mexican also carries a number of attributes that could make this harder for Canelo than people expect.

Interestingly, Munguia has the exact same physical dimensions as the last man to defeat Alvarez. He stands six-feet-tall with a reach of 72-inches, the same measurements as WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. The Russian is a more technical fighter than Munguia and their styles aren’t close. But Munguia throws the same sort of sharp, rangy punches that Canelo had such trouble bypassing when he dropped a decision to Bivol in 2022. 

Munguia carries power and speed. He can fire those crisp jabs and long rights like a machine gun, even in the late rounds. He emptied the tank in a visceral 12th-round in his thriller with Sergiy Derevyanchenko, knocking his man down to pip him to a decision. Cynics will point out that without that knockdown, he would have lost on the scorecards. But that ability to summon his physical gifts through the fog of exhaustion makes him dangerous.

That vulnerability, rarely-glimpsed but present, is why many are picking Canelo to pull off a demolition job here. It is true that the flame-haired icon has fought a higher level of opposition than Munguia. Canelo was battling Floyd Mayweather when he was just 23 years old. He has beaten legends like Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Sergey Kovalev and Gennady Golovkin. The 33-year-old has ended the world title reigns of Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders, Caleb Plant, Austin Trout, Liam Smith and Rocky Fielding among others. 

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If fights were decided on pedigree alone, Munguia might not see the second round. But what is potential if not untapped pedigree? Munguia is six years younger than his opponent and his best days are surely ahead of him. Whether he wins or loses here you imagine there will be further world title chances in his future. 

That future seems likely to stretch a lot further than Canelo’s. At 33 years of age, we are surely approaching the final couple of chapters of one of modern boxing’s finest careers. If Alvarez were to retire tomorrow, his Hall of Fame enshrinement is guaranteed. He is world champion at four weights from light middleweight to light heavyweight. Canelo is the first undisputed super middleweight champion in history. He is a pay-per-view powerhouse and a genuine national hero. 

Which begs the question of if there are any other worlds for Canelo to conquer? In the past he stated an aim of moving up to cruiserweight, though his loss to Bivol put paid to those plans. Benavidez will go down as a missed opportunity if Alvarez never fights him. But beyond that, what is there left to do? Every accomplishment that will see the super middleweight king’s legacy live forever has already been collected.

Could that lead to complacency here? Quite possibly. Canelo’s last three fights have been fair soft touches, at least compared to his absolute tear through the division when unifying the crown in 2020-21. Golovkin was past-it by the time of their third fight in 2022. John Ryder is a couple of levels below Canelo. Interestingly, Munguia bettered Alvarez’s decision win over the Brit with a ninth-round knockout of Ryder in January. As for Jermell Charlo, the fact he was climbing two divisions to face Canelo blunted the impact of that win.

It has been hard to discern if Canelo is on the decline because, since Bivol, he has fought opponents that didn’t stretch him. Munguia will, I feel. I can see the younger man troubling Canelo with his speed, punch output and range. But ultimately he will succumb, as Alvarez establishes rhythm and works his way inside. I do feel we are nearing the day when Canelo ceases to be the force he once was. But I don’t feel the other shoe will drop on Saturday night. 

My pick is Canelo to take a decision at 5/6. I think it will be closer than many expect, with Munguia racking up some rounds behind a rapier jab and a thudding straight right. But when Canelo finds his distance and unloads, I think Munguia will start to unravel. Next stop: Benavidez?   

You can find all our latest boxing tips and analysis at our Betfred Insights Boxing page

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