What We Learned At The Canelo-Munguia PPV Undercard Presser

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Five notable items that were brought to light at the Canelo Alvarez-Jaime Munguia PBC Pay-Per-View undercard press conference.

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Canelo vs. Munguia PREVIEW | May 4 | PBC PPV on Prime Video

Mario Barrios, Fabian Maidana, Brandon Figueroa, Jessie Magdaleno, Eimantas Stanionis and Gabriel Maestre spent time Thursday afternoon discussing their upcoming fights on the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Jaime Munguia PBC Pay-Per-View undercard Saturday, May 4, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. 

Five interesting things we learned from their virtual press conference for that upcoming Prime Video event are listed below.

1. Barrios wants the Stanionis-Maestre winner or Jaron Ennis if he defeats Maidana.

San Antonio’s Barrios (28-2, 18 KOs) will make his first defense versus Maidana of the WBC interim welterweight title that he won when he unanimously outpointed Yordenis Ugas (27-6, 12 KOs) in their 12-rounder on the Alvarez-Jermell Charlo pay-per-view card last September at T-Mobile Arena.

The winner between the heavily favored Barrios and Argentina’s Maidana (22-2, 16 KOs) will be elevated to full champion by the WBC if its welterweight champ, Terence Crawford, moves up to the junior middleweight division for his next fight. If Barrios beats Maidana, he would like to face Stanionis (14-0, 9 KOs, 1 NC) or Maestre (6-0-1, 5 KOs), who will fight for Stanionis’ WBA world 147-pound championship in the pay-per-view opener on the Alvarez-Munguia undercard (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).

Barrios also mentioned possibly boxing Ennis, the IBF welterweight champ.

“The welterweight division is a stacked division,” Barrios said. “We have a really exciting, you know, welterweight championship fight, you know, opening up the card, with Maestre and Stanionis. You know, they’re both tremendous fighters. Looking forward, you know, first thing I have to [do], you know, go in there and handle business, you know, with Fabian. … Whether it’s a unification fight between the [Staninois-Maestre] winner, whether it’s ‘Boots’ [Ennis], you know, I wanna fight the best in the division. I’ve always, you know, taken the hardest fights, you know, in my career. And, you know, that’s exactly what I intend on, you know, continuing.”

2. Maidana’s circuitous pursuit of a welterweight title has come full circle.

The younger brother of former welterweight and junior welterweight champ Marcos Maidana will finally fight for a 147-pound championship 2½ years after a cut suffered during a sparring session forced him to withdraw from his shot at Ugas’ WBA world welterweight crown in August 2021.

Cuba’s Ugas subsequently replaced an injured Errol Spence Jr. in the main event on that card. He upset Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision to solidify himself as the WBA’s legitimate welterweight champion that night at T-Mobile Arena. 

Barrios beat Ugas to capture the WBC interim championship in his last fight and will make his inaugural defense against the Argentinian underdog.

“Did it piss me off? Of course,” Maidana said of the cut that cost him a title shot against Ugas. “I was about to fight on a great card like Spence and Pacquiao. Things happened outside of my control, but God willing, everything happened the way it was meant to. And now look at me, fighting on the Canelo-Munguia [undercard], going for a title against Mario Barrios. So, you know, I’m focused on this great opportunity and not dwelling on the past.”

3. Figueroa expects to finally fight Rey Vargas if he gets past Magdaleno.

Figueroa patiently waited to challenge Vargas after Figueroa beat Mark Magsayo by unanimous decision to win the WBC interim featherweight title in March 2023 at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.

Mexico’s Vargas (36-1-1, 22 KOs) instead defended his WBC 126-pound championship against England’s Nick Ball (19-0-1, 11 KOs), who fought Vargas to a 12-round split draw in March. Rather than waiting around any longer to face Vargas, Figueroa accepted this 12-round bout versus Las Vegas’ Magdaleno on the Alvarez-Munguia undercard. 

I wanna fight the best in the division. Interim WBC Welterweight World Champion - Mario Barrios

Figueroa (24-1-1, 18 KOs) will end a 14-month layoff when he meets Magdaleno (29-2, 18 KOs). The Weslaco, Texas native hopes another victory secures his shot at Vargas later this year.

Figueroa would welcome a rematch against Stephen Fulton Jr., however, if the Vargas fight fails to materialize. The 27-year-old suffered his lone loss to Fulton (21-1, 8 KOs), who edged him by majority decision in a “Fight of the Year” candidate that took place in November 2021 at Park MGM’s Dolby Live in Las Vegas.

“I’ve been waiting for Rey Vargas [since] last year,” Figueroa said. “I’ve been training for months and months. But like I said, you know, I’ve been patient, this opportunity came and I took it. You know, I just said, ‘Let’s fight.’ I’ve been itching to fight. I’ve been itching to get back in the ring and give fans a great show. 

“And yeah, man, I mean, whatever. I just wanna fight the best of the best. I wanna fight the champions. And if Rey Vargas decides he wants to fight later this year, then let’s get it. If not, then Stephen Fulton. I mean, I’m just down to fight whoever’s down to fight, whoever’s down to make amazing, exciting fights, ‘Fight of the Year’ candidates.”

4. Stanionis, an unbeaten champion, feels like a forgotten fighter.

Two postponements and a third complete cancelation of Stanionis’ intriguing title defense against Vergil Ortiz Jr. has helped keep the unbeaten Lithuanian out of the ring for almost two years. Stanionis hasn’t fought since he outworked Russia’s Radzhab Butaev to win the WBA world 147-pound crown in April 2022 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Stanionis noted that his lengthy absence made him feel as though boxing fans forgot about him, which motivates him even more than usual to make an emphatic statement when he meets Maestre in the Alvarez-Munguia pay-per-view opener.

“It was really hard times,” Stanionis said. “You know, it was like, ‘What’s going on?’ You know, what I want is [to] just fight and they couldn’t get a date. So, they said, ‘Next month, next month, next month.’ It’s almost a year that they say, ‘Next month.’ So, it was hard, but I stayed disciplined, always training hard, you know, and I’m living the life like a professional. I just believe, you know, in faith and God willing, I will get the fight on May 4th. It’s not yet. I’m not in the ring, so I’ll be happy when I step in the ring.”

5. A motivated Maestre will get a chance to avenge his close loss to Stanionis in the amateurs.

The 37-year-old Maestre has wanted another crack at Stanionis since he lost a decision to Stanionis at the 2015 AIBA World Boxing Championships in Doha, Qatar.

Venezuela’s Maestre thought they might meet again at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, but Stanionis lost in the first round. 

Maestre viciously knocked out highly regarded American prospect Travon Marshall (9-1, 8 KOs) in the second round of his last fight August 12 at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, to move into position to challenge Stanionis. The winner could be promoted to full champion by the WBA if Crawford moves up to the 154-pound division.

“It is truly a privilege to fight against Stanionis,” Maestre said. “He’s a champion and I respect him a lot. I have been looking for this fight for a long time now. Funny how things come full circle. … We were together at the Olympics in Rio in 2016. And before that, we had a really, really tough, close fight at the Qatar World Cup back in 2015. It’s been worth the wait and I’m looking forward to seeing what Stanionis has now, almost a decade later.”

For a closer look at the entire Canelo vs Munguia pay-per-view card, check out our fight night page. 

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