EIGHT is the magic number in this week’s Las Vegas fight predictions. First, Canelo predicted that he would finish Jaime Munguia before that round. Now, Munguia’s trainer Freddie Roach has countered with an eighth-round KO prophecy of his own.

Snapping the legendary beard of Canelo, who has proven to be a difficult man to hurt during his time at the top, will not be easy. But a young, hungry, offensive specimen like Munguia might just be brave enough to step forward and take the fight to the veteran champion.

“My guy has a great jab and he uses it well. Just keep [Canelo] on the end of the jab and throw that power right hand and the fight will be over,” Roach told Boxing News.

While triangle theories in boxing are often downplayed or dismissed, Roach feels that their respective performances against a teak-tough common foe will hold the key to Saturday night’s T-Mobile Arena headliner. 

Jaime Munguia lands a right hand against John Ryder (Getty Images)

Canelo went the full 12 against a bloodied yet unbowed John Ryder in the Mexican’s 2023 homecoming. Munguia dominated Ryder earlier this year en route to a ninth-round stoppage, forcing the bruised Brit to later hang up his gloves.

“They have common opponents. And the one I watched mostly [Ryder], when my guy fought him, he knocked him down [multiple] times, and then when Canelo fought him, he won the decision. I just don’t believe he’s that big of a puncher,” suggested Roach.

Even during the embryonic stages of their trainer-fighter partnership, Roach, who for so long trained eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao, among a host of other world-class boxers, has been suitably impressed by what he’s already seen from 27-year-old Munguia.

“Every day he works. Whatever I say, he does. I had three sparring partners a day, 12 rounds every day. Monday, Wednesday, Friday [all] sparring days.

“He’s 100 per cent ready for this guy. I think he has the power to knock him out and the height and the reach. I really think he’s too much.”

Sampling huge fight weeks is nothing new for the grizzled Hall-Of-Fame trainer, but this Cinco de Mayo event build-up has even raised the hairs on the back of his neck. 

“It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” agreed Roach. “Two really good fighters, both from Mexico. A lot of Mexican crowds are gonna come in there. There might be some street fights, but you know what? It’s gonna be a great night.”