When Jaime Munguia 30-0 (25) defended his WBO junior middleweight title against Liam Smith 26-2-1 (14) in Las Vegas on Saturday night no-one was watching more closely that WBO leading contender Dennis “Hurricane” Hogan 27-1-1 (7).
The Australian-based Irishman is licking his lips in anticipation of his shot at the WBO 154-pound crown and says that there are gaps in the undefeated Mexican power puncher’s game that he can’t wait to exploit.
“It was a great fight to watch. I felt it was a closer fight than what two of the judges saw, but overall a good scrap,” said Hogan, 33. “I’m excited to be next in line for Munguia because watching it we could pick holes in Munguia’s game that we will definitely exploit.”
It’s no secret that Munguia has heavy-hands or that he looks for the homerun hit with every shot he throws, but Hogan insists he isn’t fazed by the 21-year-old champion’s power.
“We knew he hits hard but against a good seasoned pro like Smith or like myself, that storm can be weathered,” explained Hogan.
“Munguia leaves himself open a lot and loves to come forward too, so we can work a very successful plan to counteract that and put it into play in a fight.”
The 12-round fight at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino was closely contested with England’s Smith starting well while Munguia fought more strongly down the stretch. Smith was on the canvas in the sixth round courtesy of a left hook but neither of them was noticeably hurt in the fast-paced bout that saw the champion throw 837 punches to the challenger’s 702.
“I felt that when Smith had his distance right he done well, but he became predictable after a few rounds because he only went forward and back and never zoned off left and right to make better angles and keep Munguia at bay,” assessed Hogan.
“And especially because Munguia wants to chase you down and cut you off where he can offload shots, it’s imperative to keep zoning off and don’t let him get set.”
After the final bell rang the judges’ scores were tallied and announced as 116-111, 119-108 and 117-110 all in favour of Munguia.
“A lot of times Smith ended up with his back to the ropes absorbing combinations and our plan wouldn’t allow that to happen,” continued Hogan. “As Munguia came in, we would break him down from range with excellent recovery from each exchange.
“It’s a fight I will have to be extremely fit for, but I will have everything on point on the night to take that title.”
In his last two bouts Hogan defeated WBO number three ranked Jimmy Kilrain Kelly 23-2 (9) of the UK on points over 12-rounds in April and WBO number seven Yuki Nonaka 31-10-3 (10) of Japan on points over 10 last October.