One of the most feared fighters in the sport of boxing Gennady Golovkin defends his IBO and WBA world middleweight titles against tough English challenger Martin Murray under the lights at the Salles des etoiles on the Côte d’Azur in Monte Carlo, Monaco on February 21st.
GGG has ripped his way through the rankings gaining knockout after knockout win on his way to the IBO and WBA titles. The emphatic nature of his victories has the American boxing scene raving about the man from Karaganda and his clinical work within the squared circle. Despite the fact that he is yet to beat a truly world class fighter, he is expected to breeze past Martin Murray; merely a ‘stay busy’ opponent as he waits to strike at bigger opportunities against the likes of Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto- the current WBC champion.
The Kazakh hitman and his team must surely be aware of the dangers of believing in your own hype though. Although he is not regarded as a big puncher, Murray is big and strong at the weight, something which may help him to endure the apparent freakish knockout power of GGG. Murray’s durability means that to date he hasn’t been knocked out or down in his professional career. Whilst many of Golovkin’s opponents have been beaten into submission with an unbearable yet deadly calculated pressure, Murray has vowed to stand up to him physically.
The St Helen’s man will also be keen to avoid the tag of the nearly man; the perennial challenger. This is his third shot at a world title. In 2011, he drew against Felix Sturm in Germany in his first attempt in an extremely close fight. Had he been in his home country he may have been the one to benefit. His second shot at a world title also came on foreign soil against Sergio Martinez in his native Buenos Aires, Argentina. Similar to this fight, Murray was viewed as the ideal opponent for ‘Maravilla’s’ homecoming but the Argentine hero quickly found out that Murray had more about him than he might have first thought when he was knocked down in the eighth round. He fought back to earn a points decision but the raucous and partisan home crowd played there part in his victory. Again Murray may well have emerged victorious had it been staged on home or neutral turf.
However unfortunate he feels the decisions were, those experiences of matching bona fide world champions can only be an aid to Murray as he prepares for this fight. They will certainly be more of a benefit to him than his recent bouts. He has won his last four consecutive bouts since losing to Martinez in April 2013, but all four of his recent opponents have been a significant step down in class and are simply incomparable to Golovkin.
Golovkin may look to exploit the body as Murray likes to maintain a conventionally high, amateur style, defensive guard. If Golovkin can blast through Murray with the consummate ease with which he has previously been winning then he will really confirm his superiority in the middleweight division and leave the rest paling into insignificance. He may then have to look at moving up to the super middleweight division where there would be a multitude of huge and lucrative fights for him.
Gennady Golovkin: W31 KO28 LO D0 KO%90.32
Martin Murray: W29 12KO L1 D1 KO%38.71