HBO Sports returns to the vibrant junior middleweight division when one of 2018’s breakout stars defends his crown for the first time on HBO BOXING AFTER DARK: JAIME MUNGUIA VS. LIAM SMITH AND ALBERTO MACHADO VS. RAFAEL MENSAH, presented SATURDAY, JULY 21 at 10:00 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT) from the Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas. (photos by Tom Hogan/Hogan Photos)
The HBO Sports team will call all the action, which will be available in HDTV, closed-captioned for the hearing-impaired and presented in Spanish on HBO Latino.
Two months ago, Jaime Munguia (29-0, 25 KOs) made an impressive HBO debut, scoring a resounding fourth-round KO of junior middleweight titleholder Sadam Ali.
Now, the 25-year-old native of Tijuana, Baja Calif, Mexico defends his title against the UK’s formidable Liam Smith (26-1-1, 14 KOs), 29, in a 12-round clash that promises to produce fireworks.
The co-feature spotlights Alberto Machado (19-0, 16 KOs) defending his super featherweight title against No. 1 contender Rafael Mensah (31-0, 23 KOs) in a 12-round battle.
Machado, 27, hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico; Mensah, also 27, is a native of Accra, Ghana, and has 12 more pro bouts than the champ.
Alberto Machado is a champion who just won his title with a mild upset over Jezreel Corrales by knockout in his last fight. He’s 27 years old and has a very large reach of 72” for his weight class.
His opponent, Rafael Mensah, fights out of Ghana and not much is known about him except for his record. He’s never fought outside of Ghana but is the number one contender for the WBA Title.
Macahdo has been very active recently and fought three times in 2017 and four times in 2016. Mensah has also been active and fought three times in 2017 and twice in 2016, but his last two opponents that he beat had losing records.
Win two fights against below .500 opponents gets you a title shot in the WBA.
Machado had moderate success as an amateur and was a National Champion at the Junior Olympics. Mensah has no notable amateur accomplishments.
Machado has defeated the likes of Carlos Morales, Jezreel Corrales, Juan Jose Martinez, and Miguel Mendoza.
Mensah has defeated nobody of note, but opponents with good records that he has defeated include Fatiou Fassinou and Abdul Jabir.
Macahdo hasn’t been taking Mensah lightly. He stated at a recent press conference,” Rafael is the Number 1 contender for a reason. I’ve got great training at the Wild Card Boxing Club where everyone is very strong. I thank Freddie Roach for focusing on me for the past several weeks. I’m going back to Puerto Rico a world champion.”
Machado probably could probably take the unproven Mensah lightly and still be a heavy favorite.