Boxing trainer Robert Garcia has high hopes for his lightweight charge Raymond ‘Danger’ Muratalla despite a substandard performance in his previous bout against Xolisani Ndongeni.

Muratalla won a unanimous decision in March, but the 27-year-old saw his four-fight knockout streak end and he had to settle for winning on points through scores of 97-93, 99-91 and 98-92.

Muratalla (20-0, 16 KOs) was originally set to face Agustin Quintana, but Ndongeni (32-5,19 KOs) filled in as a late-minute sub. The bout’s contracted weight took place at 137 pounds as opposed to the lightweight limit of 135. Muratalla was coming off a dominant eight-round knockout of Diego Torres, which saw Muratalla’s world ranking improve. He is ranked No. 2 by the WBC, No. 4 by the WBO, and No. 5 by the IBF.

“We are working [on his return]. It looks like we have something planned for July,” said Garcia.

Ndongeni, 34, had just been stopped by Arnold Barboza Jr. at junior welterweight and was on a career-worst two-fight losing streak. Muratalla was a sizable favorite with Muratalla being a 16-1 favorite. So, when the fight went to a decision and Muratalla lost a few rounds in the fight it made some scratch their head about the potential and ceiling of Muratalla.

Garcia is optimistic that the performance will help Muratalla land his big fight.

“I think that always helps especially when it comes to the opponents, the fighters, the champions,” said Garcia. “And it wasn’t that he looked bad, he still looked good, won most of the fight, but yeah, it wasn’t one of his best performances.”

Though Garcia wouldn’t elaborate on what might have led to the performance being an atypical of Muratalla, he did give a slight new detail.

“I know one hundred percent that he wasn’t ready, he had some personal problems,” said Garcia. “No excuses, that wasn’t his best performance, but he still managed to win most of the rounds and win a unanimous decision, but he will come back strong.”

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