TV Picks of The Week: Canelo vs. Munguia Headlines Cinco De Mayo Weekend PPV

Pick It: Canelo Alvarez vs. Jaime Munguia

When to Watch: Saturday, May 4. The prelims, free for everyone, begin at 6 p.m. Eastern Time on Amazon’s website; the pay-per-view broadcast begins at 8 p.m. Eastern Time

How to watch: Pay-per-view streaming on Amazon’s Prime Video, DAZN, and, and also available for purchase via traditional cable and satellite outlets.

Why to Watch: For years, the fight date coinciding with Cinco De Mayo weekend has belonged to some of the biggest stars in boxing. In the past two decades, those main events have mostly  belonged to Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Manny Pacquiao and Canelo Alvarez.

Canelo first headlined this weekend in 2016, when he defeated Amir Khan (he was featured on Mayweather’s undercards in 2010 and 2012). Since then, he’s been atop shows against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in 2017, Daniel Jacobs in 2019, Billy Joe Saunders in 2021, Dmitrii Bivol in 2022 and John Ryder last year.

In that time, Canelo’s gone from a former junior middleweight titleholder to the lineal middleweight champ to the undisputed super middleweight champion (plus a brief addition of a title at 175 pounds). He remains one of the biggest superstars in the sport. Canelo is 33 years old now, has been boxing as a pro more than half of his life, and may be approaching the last of his prime years.

There are some who believe that Canelo’s best may already be behind him. 

His run from 2020-2021 was impressive, when he won all four world titles at super middleweight in less than 12 months, dominating Callum Smith, defeating Billy Joe Saunders and dispatching Caleb Plant. 

Canelo’s 2022 and 2023 weren’t as captivating. 

He stepped up to light heavyweight again but was outboxed by Bivol. He wrapped up his trilogy with Gennadiy Golovkin, winning a fight that lacked the fireworks of their first two meetings. And last year brought a pair of victories over John Ryder (a contender who retired earlier this year following a loss to Munguia) and Jermell Charlo (the 154-pound champion, who seemed outsized at 168).

That last victory brought the Guadalajara icon to 60-2-2 (39 KOs).

During these post-Plant years, many fans and observers — this writer included — have campaigned for Canelo to take on the man seen as his top challenger at super middleweight: David Benavidez. 

That’s still the fight we want most. That’s not what we’re getting this Saturday. But in lieu of that, Munguia is an acceptable opponent.

Munguia, a 27-year-old from Tijuana, also turned pro as a teen. Over the past decade he has gone 43-0 (34 KOs). Munguia’s past two fights saw him win a close decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko in a war that BoxingScene declared the Fight of the Year for 2023, and he then stopped Ryder in nine rounds this past January.

That has gotten Munguia ranked at #4 by ESPN, #4 by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and #5 by The Ring magazine.

Perhaps Munguia will be outmatched and outclassed by the champ. Or perhaps Munguia will catch Canelo at the right time and score a career-making upset. 

No matter the outcome, this should be a fun fight. And when we don’t get exactly what we want, the next best scenario is to get fights that still matter — and that we still enjoy.

That’s the main event. As for the undercard:

Mario Barrios vs. Fabian Maidana: Two years ago, it seemed as if Barrios had reached his ceiling following two consecutive defeats. First came an 11th-round stoppage loss to Gervonta Davis at junior welterweight in 2021, and then a unanimous decision defeat against welterweight Keith Thurman in 2022. But Barrios righted his course in 2023, notching two victories, including a wide decision over former titleholder Yordenis Ugas on the undercard of the Canelo Alvarez-Jermell Charlo pay-per-view. That brought the 28-year-old from San Antonio to 28-2 (18 KOs).

And that brings Barrios to this PPV undercard fight with Maidana, a 31-year-old from Argentina who is the younger brother of Marcos Maidana . Maidana, who is 22-2 (16 KOS), suffered those defeats in 2019 and 2021. And they came against less accomplished foes — Jaider Parra (32-2-1 at the time) and Francisco Mercado (5-1 at the time, now 8-4) — than those who beat Barrios. Maidana has picked up four straight wins since against nondescript opposition.

This fight is for the WBC’s interim welterweight belt that Barrios earned with the Ugas victory. The actual WBC title belongs to Terence Crawford. But if Crawford decides to remain at junior middleweight following his upcoming excursion there against 154-pound titleholder Israil Madrimov, then the winner of Barrios-Maidana would likely be elevated.

Brandon Figueroa vs. Jessie Magdaleno: This is a fight between two former 122-pound titleholders now competing at 126, each returning after about a year away. 

Figueroa, a 27-year-old from Weslaco, Texas, is the only person to defeat Luis Nery, stopping him on a body shot in 2021. Nery, of course, is set to face undisputed champ Naoya Inoue next week. As for Figueroa, he left the junior featherweight division behind after a highly competitive majority decision loss to Stephen Fulton in their 2021 unification bout. With an extra four pounds of relief on the scales, Figueroa has picked up a pair of wins, stopping Carlos Castro in six in July 2022 and then outpointing Mark Magsayo in March 2023. Figueroa is now 24-1-1 (18 KOs).

Magdaleno, a 32-year-old from Las Vegas, is 29-2 (18 KOs). His reign at 122 started with a win over Nonito Donaire in 2016 and ended with a knockout loss to Isaac Dogboe in 2018. Magdaleno moved up to featherweight and won four straight, but that streak ended in April 2023 against Raymond Ford, who dropped Magdaleno twice and won a wide decision. Ford has since won a world title.

Figueroa wants another major world title himself. He is currently the WBC’s interim titleholder at 126. The winner of Figueroa-Magdaleno is in position to challenge Rey Vargas — or will be elevated if Vargas vacates.

Eimantas Stanionis vs. Gabriel Maestre: Kicking off the pay-per-view undercard is this fight between welterweight contenders.

For Stanionis, 14-0 (9 KOs), this will be a return from a two-year layoff. His last fight was in April 2022, when he took a split decision over Radzhab Butaev to pick up the WBA’s “regular” welterweight belt. (The WBA’s “super” champ is currently the aforementioned Crawford.) 

Some of this layoff isn’t Stanionis’ fault. He had three separate dates with Vergil Ortiz Jr. scuttled. First, Stanionis had to have his appendix removed in early 2023. Then Ortiz pulled out of their April 2023 date with a case of rhabdomyolysis. Finally, the fight was called off for good when Ortiz fainted from dehydration days ahead of their July 2023 show. The 29-year-old represented Lithuania in the 2016 Olympics, losing in the second round of competition to eventual silver medalist Shakhram Giyasov. 

Maestre competed twice in the Olympics himself, representing Venezuela. He was sent packing in the third round of competition in the 2012 and 2016 tournaments, each time against the eventual gold medalist, Serik Sapiyev and Daniyar Yeleussinov, respectively. As a pro, Maestre is 6-0-1 (5 KOs), though many feel he benefited from an outright robbery of Mykal Fox in 2021. Maestre is 37, so time is of the essence.

The free preliminary undercard includes two junior middleweight fights: Jesus Ramos Jr. vs. Johan Gonzalez and Vito Mielnicki Jr. vs. Ronald Cruz.

More Fights to Watch

Thursday, May 2: Erik Bazinyan vs. Shakeel Phinn (ESPN+) 

Bazinyan is one of a handful of unbeaten super middleweights fighting out of Quebec for promoter Eye of the Tiger Management, alongside unbeaten contender Christian Mbilli and prospect Osleys Iglesias, plus a couple of others early in their development.

The 28-year-old, who is originally from Armenia, is now more than 10 years into his pro career and is 32-0 (23 KOs). Last year, trainer Marc Ramsay said that they wanted to refine Bazinyan a little more before putting him in with the top 168-pounders.

“We are in a zone where [Erik] is very highly ranked but he still has to learn a couple of little things to get ready for those fights, not only going for those fights but win[ning] those type of fights,” Ramsay told Anson Wainwright of last October. 

This will be Bazinyan’s third fight since that interview. He headlines at the Montreal Casino against Phinn, someone he’s friendly with. The 33-year-old from Quebec is 26-3-1 (17 KOs). One of those defeats came very early in Phinn’s career. The other two losses were against prospects who were unbeaten at the time and have fizzled since. Phinn spent two and a half years away after that 2019 setback, though the pandemic could account for part of that. Since returning in 2022, he’s won five straight.

If Bazinyan wins, don’t expect him to step in with Mbilli, as they share trainers. The question will be whether his team finally feels ready to step him up, and how soon that will be.

The undercard includes Thomas Chabot, a 24-year-old featherweight prospect from Quebec who is 9-0 (7 KOs). He faces Alfredo Jimenez Espino, a 25-year-old from Mexico who is 5-1-1 (2 KOs) and coming off a TKO loss last August.

Friday, May 3: Edward Vazquez vs. Daniel Bailey (DAZN, 9 p.m. Eastern Time)

This show, airing from the Owl’s Nest in Houston, pits the twice-beaten Vazquez against the once-beaten Bailey.

Vazquez is a 28-year-old junior lightweight from Fort Worth, Texas. He is 15-2 (3 KOs), and both of those losses came against familiar names. Vazquez dropped a split decision in 2022 to Raymond Ford, who has since gone on to win a featherweight world title. And Vazquez lost a majority decision last November to 130-pound titleholder Joe Cordina.

Bailey, a 27-year-old from Miami, is 13-1 (6 KOs). He suffered a second-round knockout to Jonathan Fierro in 2022 but has won three straight since.

The co-feature also involves junior lightweights: Maliek Montgomery, 17-0 (16 KOs), takes on Eridson Garcia, 18-1 (12 KOs).

Follow David Greisman on Twitter @FightingWords2. His book, “Fighting Words: The Heart and Heartbreak of Boxing,” is available on Amazon.