SAN DIEGO, February 20, 2015 – Boxing writers experience serious déjà vu reporting on middleweight champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin. It seems like we write the same previews of Golovkin’s bouts over and over.
Like those who’ve come before him, Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs) maintains he isn’t taking his next opponent, British middleweight Martin Murray (29-1-1, 12 KOs) for granted on Saturday in their matinee matchup in Monte Carlo. HBO will air the fight live at 5:45 p.m. Eastern Time. Golovkin went as far to say he wouldn’t be looking for a knockout against Murray at the final pre-fight news conference.
True, Golovkin cannot overlook the smart, tough, tested Murray. But, seriously, who are we kidding? Pick a name, any name. Curtis Stevens. Matthew Macklin. Daniel Geale. Marco Antonio Rubio. Golovkin’s opponents are called “warriors,” “no pushover,” and “toughest opponent yet” before every fight.
They say the same thing after they lose (and they have all lost): Golovkin’s the hardest puncher they’ve ever faced. During Golovkin’s fight with Geale, British super middleweight Carl Froch offered this advice: “Just swerve Golovkin like the plague, he punches like a mule. I don’t need to be in with him. Dangerous fight.”
Murray’s single loss came against middleweight champion Sergio Martinez in Martinez’s home country Argentina. Most observers felt Murray won. Murray knocked down but could not knock out an injury-plagued Martinez, and it lost him the fight.
Murray is a thinking fighter in the ring and makes the most of what he has to offer. He can’t deliver a knockout blow like Golovkin; his last TKO was four years ago, and he’s only had two outright knockout wins. Murray will need to fight a defensive, tactical contest. He must move and counter to survive.
Can he do this for 12 rounds? It’s highly doubtful. Golovkin is able to deliver wicked knockouts because he carefully sets himself up for success. Watch for what look like casual jabs and body shots in the early rounds. They hit their mark and they are effective in wearing his opponents down, which sets him up for knockout success. Golovkin cuts off the ring as well as anyone in boxing today. It is impossible to run and hide from him. Only an opponent with tremendous speed or power will ever challenge him, and Murray isn’t a guy with either of these attributes.
Golovkin often takes a round or two to get down to business. When he decides he’s had enough of a warm-up and have given the fans a look at him, he sets up and seemingly fires at will. In his last fight in October against Marco Antonio Rubio, Triple G wanted to put on a “big drama show” for his Mexican fans, and rushed right at Rubio. The fight was over in the second round. Murray should fear this possibility most of all.
Golovkin’s talent for highlight reel knockouts is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it has made him hands down the most exciting boxer in the sport today. It’s a curse because it has made all the big name fighters known to the general public too wary about getting in the ring with Golovkin. So much credit to Murray for begin willing to take the risk on Saturday.
At Friday’s weigh-in, Golovkin smiled and shook hands with Murray. Boxing is his job, a job he loves. It’s never personal with his opponents. People are fascinated by the contrast between Golovkin’s gracious manners and congeniality outside the ring, and the steely focus of an assassin inside the ring. Trainer Abel Sanchez says Triple G is a Jekyll and Hyde personality, becoming a completely different person inside the ring.
Both fighters made weight, Golovkin at 159.8 pounds and Murray at 159.9 pounds.
With every fight, “Triple G” nudges observers closer to declaring him among the best pound for pound boxers in the world. This bout sets up the rest of 2015, which should produce some bigger name competition. Golovkin is proving to be enough of a draw to make the risk vs. reward ratio worthwhile for the bigger names. My bet is on the one boxer who’s got the guts to face the best, Mexican star Canelo Alvarez.
It might take him a few more rounds than usual, but Golovkin should add the win over Murray. The only suspense in this fight is whether Golovkin will put another entry into the “Knockout of the Year” sweepstakes by the end of the bout. If Murray can make it into the middle rounds, it will be a moral victory. Murray should make Triple G work just hard enough to make it an entertaining fight to watch.
HBO World Championship Boxing, Golovkin vs. Murray, Saturday, February 21, 5:45 p.m. ET.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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