Mere days after it was announced that Liam Smith would not fight Sadam Ali for the WBO junior middleweight title, a replacement opponent has been announced.
Ali will now face undefeated Mexican boxer Jaime Munguia for the WBO title on May 12 in New York. The fight is still expected to headline an HBO world title doubleheader. Below is the announcement from HBO during the April 28 telecast of the Daniel Jacobs vs. Maciej Sulecki fight.
Smith, a former WBO champion at 154 pounds, recently announced that he suffered an illness that prevented him from training for more than a week. Smith said he was unable to properly prepare for a fight against Ali and said he would be ready to go for June if Ali had decided to not fight on May 12.
Munguia, who sports a 28-0 record but has fought against mostly low-level competition, was briefly considered to be a replacement opponent for Gennady Golovkin's planned May 5 fight after Canelo Alvarez was suspended for testing positive for clenbuterol. Golovkin vs. Munguia appeared to be set to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission rejected Munguia as a viable opponent for Golovkin. Munguia, the No. 4 junior middleweight in the WBO rankings. has not fought since knocking out former regional title challenger Johnny Navarrete in March.
The telecast will also feature Rey Vargas vs. Azat Hovhannisyan for the WBC super bantamweight title.