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Avila Perspective, Chap 160: Jaime Munguia vs Gabe Rosado and Adventures in Las Vegas

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  • Avila Perspective, Chap 160: Jaime Munguia vs Gabe Rosado and Adventures in Las Vegas

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    By David A. Avila

    Philadelphia-born Puerto Rican Gabe Rosado has had a lengthy and rather successful career as a prizefighter. Now he faces a young killer with an adamantium steel chin and power to spare in Mexico’s Jaime Munguia.

    “It’s a fight the fans want,” said Rosado.

    Undefeated Munguia (37-0, 30 KOs) puts his perfect record up against Rosado (26-13-1, 15 KOs) the wrecker of perfect records on Saturday Nov. 13, at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. DAZN will stream the Golden Boy Promotions card.

    Rosado seems to be the banana peel for top rated contenders. In his last forays he tripped up Bektemir Melikuziev by knockout and nearly toppled former world champion Daniel Jacobs. He’s no cupcake.

    "Freddie and I are coming off of some good momentum,” said Rosado who is trained by Freddie Roach in Los Angeles.

    Munguia trains with former great Erik “El Terrible” Morales in Tijuana. The former super welterweight world titlist moved up in weight and likes the middleweight division.

    "I feel like moving up to 160lbs was good for me, my body feels stronger and I feel better,” Munguia said during a press conference on Thursday. “I think teaming up with Erik has improved my technique, we have made a great team, and I have learned a lot from him. And I think this Saturday we will show off everything we have worked for and have learned."

    It's a loaded card especially if you like women’s boxing.

    Former flyweight world champion Arely Mucino (29-3-2, 10 KOs) of Mexico meets fellow Mexican Jacky Calvo (14-6-2) in a flyweight clash set for 10 three-minute rounds.

    Mucino, 32, is the only Mexican to claim world titles with the WBA, WBO, WBC and IBF organizations. She fought last March and won by decision. It was her first fight after two years. She was derailed by a leg injury and then the death of her father.

    Calvo, 25, has two draws against current WBC light flyweight titlist Yesenia Gomez and two split decision losses to current WBC super flyweight titlist Lourdes Juarez. Calvo can really fight.

    Also on the card are Alexis Rocha looking to rebound from his first loss and Diego De La Hoya.

    Doors open at 3 p.m. Bring vaccination cards or proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of the event.

    Adventures in Las Vegas

    Wow. Las Vegas.

    They call this desert resort of immense proportions “Sin City” because of its lustful invitations to the seven sins. But whenever the “big fight” occurs it becomes heaven for the boxing faithful. A gathering of lovers of the art.

    This time back-to-back nights of world championship prizefighting lured thousands to Las Vegas. First, Mikaela Mayer in a unification fight with Maiva Hamadouche on Friday, then Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in a clash with Caleb Plant for undisputed status on Saturday.

    Las Vegas was sizzling and crowds were busting the city’s seams wide open.

    Driving through the desert landscape for countless times in the past 40 years the changes are slight. Back in the 70s whenever I drove my candy apple blue 1970 Plymouth Roadrunner with its 426 hemi engine, the biggest danger was running over Jackrabbits.

    Those damn rabbits were everywhere until some smart person put up rabbit fences to keep them off the highway. Now, in 2021, the only critter I saw was a coyote that wisely waited until I passed it at 70 miles an hour.

    However, the city of Las Vegas changes every year. New buildings are erected and old monuments are taken down like the Riviera Hotel, gone. Even the Stratosphere is now called the Strat. Too many syllables I guess.

    Once I entered the city it was apparent many changes had taken place including the erection of Allegiant Stadium where the Las Vegas Raiders NFL team calls home. The black themed monolith now welcomes visitors into the inner sanctum of the casino city.

    Big fight week means reporters from all over the world were flying in from the United Kingdom, Russia, Italy, Japan, Philippines, Australia, Mexico, Argentina and New York.

    Devin and Jojo

    One of the first New Yorkers I saw was Paulie Malignaggi at an early press conference in the Venetian Hotel and Casino for Las Vegas fighter Devin Haney and Southern California’s Jojo Diaz. The British promotion company Matchroom Boxing staged an early morning gathering to announce this lightweight world title fight that takes place next month on December 4, at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

    Malignaggi now works for and interviewed both Diaz and Haney for their upcoming event. Few can handle an interview like Malignaggi. He’s cat-quick with an interview whether answering or asking. The former two-division world champion has always been one of the good guys of the sport. Just don’t cross him. Great as a fighter too. A very underrated prizefighter in my estimation.

    Also at the same press conference was Seniesa Estrada who recently grabbed a second division world title by defeating Tsunami Tenkai in a riveting light flyweight match last July. The speed and ferocity shown by those two warriors was incredible. On this morning Seniesa the model showed up. She had a photo shoot with one of the sponsors.

    Born and raised in East L.A. she was there to support her former sparring partner Jojo Diaz. They used to trade blows as kids in Hollenbeck Gym in Boyle Heights. Now, they are both world champions. Diaz will be trying to pass Estrada who has two division world titles. He’s looking to add a third division world title as a lightweight.

    Haney says that’s not going to happen.

    Diaz says we shall see.

    Haney and Diaz sparred verbally on social media. Now it’s real. They will fight each other and both are very happy about the confrontation. It’s a sizzling matchup. Their styles should mesh like mash potatoes and gravy.

    Who is going to mash and who’s going to be gravy?

    Jake and Company

    Jake Paul staged a press conference at the brand new Resorts World Las Vegas. The mammoth casino resort right next to Circus Circus and dwarfs the old casino hotel.

    Jake Paul and a giant Robot man hosted a press conference at the RedTail inside the new resort on Saturday morning, but Tommy Fury, the relative of Tyson Fury was a no- show due to a family emergency. Paul and Fury will be fighting each other on Dec. 18 in Tampa, Florida. Showtime pay-per-view will televise their fight along with the great Amanda Serrano facing Spain’s Miriam Gutierrez.

    Also present at the press conference was undisputed super lightweight champion Josh Taylor of the United Kingdom. The cat is unbelievably tall for 140-pound fighter.

    Taylor chatted with me and another reporter Raymundo Dioses about his recent operation to mend his leg. It makes sense for the Scottish fighter to heal properly before embarking on upcoming defenses and possibly moving up to welterweight.

    Soon after, the giant robot and his rather fetching assistant asked me to take a few photos of them in front of the bar. I took a few them and shot a selfie of me with them. Might as well.

    After the press conference we headed back to the MGM Grand to collect my press credential for the Canelo/Plant fight. The casino was packed wall to wall with mostly Mexican fans. The last time I saw this many Mexican fans in Las Vegas was when Oscar De La Hoya fought Ricardo Mayorga way back on May 6, 2006. That was a crazy night too.

    In front of the media center thousands of fans stood around the front door waiting for their hero to show up. It was a mad house.

    A few hundred reporters were already inside the media center though it was many hours before the fight card would commence.

    Three years had passed since I had attended a big Las Vegas fight card. The pandemic has taken the lives of a lot of my former colleagues. Inside I saw many who I had not seen in years. It was good to see all of them.

    My old friends Lee Samuels and Bill Caplan are two that I’ve known since 1993 when I first began covering major fight cards as a reporter for the LA Times. I had not seen them face to face for almost three years.

    Lee Samuels formerly worked as a news reporter in Philadelphia and has worked with Top Rank for three decades. He’s seen all the great fighters come and go like Marvelous Marvin Hagler, James “Lights Out” Toney and Manny Pacquiao.

    Bill Caplan worked for Top Rank, Golden Boy Promotions and now the WBC. He’s a good friend of heavyweight great George Foreman and has seen boxing since the days of Joe Louis. Everybody in the boxing world knows Caplan. He’s a legend and like Samuels two of the best human beings on the planet.

    Only in boxing can you find people like Lee Samuels and Bill Caplan. They are two of the reasons I love boxing.

    I also chatted a bit with writers Dylan Hernandez, Lance Pugmire, Norm Frauenheim and Felipe Leon inside the media room. Also inside were champions like Teofimo Lopez and Seniesa Estrada doing interviews with the many radio and podcast shows.

    That night Saul “Canelo” Alvarez defeated Caleb Plant by knockout and 16,000-plus fans roared loud enough to bring down the walls. I had not heard a sound like that since Juan Manuel Marquez shockingly knocked out Manny Pacquiao in 2012. It’s a unique roar.

    You never forget the sound of boxing.

    Fights to Watch

    Sat. DAZN 11 a.m. Kid Galahad (28-1) vs Kiko Martinez (42-10-2), Terri Harper (11-0-1) vs Alycia Baumgardner (10-1).

    Sat. DAZN 6 p.m. Jaime Munguia (37-0) vs Gabriel Rosado (26-13-1).

    Sat. Showtime 6 p.m. David Benavidez (24-0) vs Kyrone Davis (16-2-1).

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel