Jaime Munguia should consider himself very fortunate, if not downright lucky, to have retained his WBO junior middleweight title versus Dennis Hogan. While the three judges in Monterrey, Mexico, had him winning by scores of 114-114, 115-113 and 116-112, the majority of observers believe the challenger should have had his hands raised in victory.
For the time being, any discussion of the 22-year-old being in the mix with the elite at 154 and 160 pounds should be muted. On this night, he was troubled by the movement of Hogan, and in the late stages of the fight, when his size and strength were expected to take over, he faded down the stretch. Perhaps the strain of making 154 pounds had already caught up to Munguia.
"Truthfully, in my mind, as the (12th) round was coming to an end, I thought it might've been a draw," Munguia said. "I decided to come out in that last round and give it all and go for the victory."
While Munguia had a good last stanza, hurting Hogan a couple of times, you got the sense that it was the Irishman who had done the more effective work throughout, consistently beating Munguia to the punch and never really letting him settle for much of the night.
"He would never let me get into a rhythm," Munguia (33-0, 26 KOs) said. "But basically, we have to keep continuing our preparation."
After he struggled a bit in January versus Takeshi Inoue, who also took him the distance, it's clear that Munguia is still a work in progress.
"I learned a bit about getting frustrated in this fight, and that was one of the problems. Just like what happened the last time, and I think one of the things is I got a little bit tired, the issue with being 154, that could also be a problem," said Munguia, who said this could be his swan song in this division.
"It could be. Truthfully, we have to talk with my promoter. We'll see what happens," he said.
For Hogan, who came into this fight in peak physical condition and fought an intelligent, tactical fight, this was a bitter pill to swallow.
"I knew I won the fight. I know in my heart," Hogan said. "I'm so disappointed to train as hard as I did and for this to happen. I came here in good faith. I'm not going to disrespect anyone here, but apart from the people who scored it and allowed this decision to go through, everybody knows this is par for boxing."
Peter Kahn, an adviser to Hogan's team, told ESPN, "We are 100 percent protesting (the decision), and we're requesting a mandated rematch."
Whether Hogan will get another crack at Munguia remains to be seen.
"Dennis Hogan won the fight. He just didn't get the title,'' Khan said.
"If they offered us a rematch, I'd accept it straightaway," Hogan said before it was known his camp would request a mandated rematch.