Jaime Munguia considering Jermall Charlo WBC title fight or Alimkhanuly bout

Jaime Munguia has two choices, and nothing is going to come easy.

The former junior middleweight titleholder can challenge Janibek Alimkhanuly in a WBO title eliminator or face unbeaten WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.

However, the deadline for Golden Boy Promotions and Zanfer Boxing, Munguia's co-promoters, to reach a deal with Alimkhanuly's promoter, Bob Arum's Top Rank Inc., expired last week. As a result, the WBO is expected to announce a purse bid for No.1-ranked contender Munguia to fight No.2-rated Alimkhanuly, a southpaw who hails from Kazakhstan.

Demetrius Andrade (31-0, 19 KOs), who currently holds the WBO middleweight title, has not yet formally vacated the title, but it was reported as early as January 26 that he intends to release the belt. The unbeaten American is moving up to the super middleweight division to challenge Zach Parker (22-0, 16 KOs) in a WBO title eliminator on May 21 in England.

Mexico's Munguia (39-0, 31 KOs) is also the WBC's No.1-ranked challenger for Charlo's title. While the 25-year-old is not the mandatory challenger for the belt, that will not necessarily prevent a deal from being finalized. Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs), who like Munguia, is a former 154-pound beltholder, was in the running to face undisputed super middleweight world champion and pound-for-pound king Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) on May 7, but boxing's biggest star went the other way, inking a two-fight with DAZN to face WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) on May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and potentially arch-nemesis Gennadiy Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) in a third and likely final encounter in September.

Despite an ongoing legal matter for an alleged assault of a family member, Charlo is hopeful he can make a voluntary title defense now that he has been scrapped from the Canelo sweepstakes. The 31-year-old has struggled to remain active since moving to 160-pounds, fighting just twice in the last 18 months. Ring rust was perhaps a factor in his struggles in his most recent bout against Mexico's Juan Macias Montiel last June. Still, nevertheless, he was able to win a unanimous decision in his hometown of Houston.

Munguia, on the other hand, since arriving at middleweight, has fought five times in 26 months and has steadily improved in every fight under the tutelage of Hall of Famer Erik Morales. He is coming off an impressive third-round knockout of previously unbeaten D'Mitrius Ballard on February 19 in Tijuana, Munguia's hometown.

The rising star could be leaning towards a Charlo fight for obvious reasons when looking at risk vs. reward. He has the WBC title, and as aforementioned, he hasn't been as active. Alimkhanuly, while lesser-known, presents a formidable threat. While he has defeated the likes of Hassan N'Dam and Robert Brant, he lacks world championship status and notoriety. Even if Munguia were to lose to Charlo, he would get paid handsomely. But if a deal isn't made between Golden Boy and Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions, Munguia may have no choice but to face 'Qazaq Style.'

There remains the possibility that Andrade could change his mind. If he were to defeat Parker, he would have 10 days to decide whether he would like to pursue a run at super middleweight or move back down to 160-pounds.

If Andrade chooses to remain a super middleweight, in theory, the winner will become the mandatory challenger to face Alvarez.

However, the WBO also noted as part of its agreement with Andrade and Parker that the winner could be mandated to face an IBF, WBA, or WBC interim champion or mandatory challenger in their subsequent fight. Therefore, there is truly no guaranteed path to King Canelo.

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