|Can Gennady Golovkin make Martin Murray his latest knockout victim?
By John J. Raspanti, Doghouse Boxing (Feb 11, 2015)
Quickly becoming the most popular fighter in the game, WBA and IBO middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin will be in search of consecutive knockout number nineteen on February 21 when he faces Martin Murray at the Salle des Étoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Nineteen knockouts in a row.
Are you kidding me?
That’s no typo.
On the surface, Golovkin's record is quite impressive.
He has entered the squared circle thirty one times and never come close to losing. He’s knocked out twenty eight opponents.
But the man has his critics, and I’m one of them.
He captured the WBA belt in 2010 by defeating one Nilson Julio Tapia. That same year, he also beat Kasiim Ouma, Lujon Simon, and Makoto Fuchigami. Two years later, he brutalized Gabriel Rosado, knocked the stuffing out of Nobuhiro Ishida, and stopped Matthew Macklin with a wicked body shot. Pretty good fighters for sure, but not in boxing’s top five.
Not that there's anything wrong with building up one‘s record. In the late 1930’s, Joe Louis campaigned in what was referred to as "The Bum of the Month Club." Louis knocked out a number of overmatched fighters.
After beating Curtis Stevens, Golovkin faced what many considered his toughest opponent to date,-- former champion Daniel Geale, who entered the bout ranked number four by the WBA.
Golovkin derailed Geale quickly. He stalked him—his baby face displaying no emotion.
Eight minutes later, it was over.
The victory was the most impressive of Golovkin’s career.
Last October, at a sold-out StubHub Arena in Carson,CA, Golovkin made Marco Antinio Rubio his eighteenth consecutive knockout victim. The end came in the second round.
Golovkin barely broke a sweat. After an uneventful opening stanza, he went to work in round two.
Rubio never saw the short uppercut that jolted him to his heels. Golovkin finished the job with a left hook off the side of Rubio's head. The Mexican veteran of sixty-seven fights took his time getting up. He didn't beat the count.
Golovkin took a bow in the center of the ring as nine thousand boxing fans serenaded him.
It was quite a show.
There are some who feel that Golovkin is the best fighter on the planet.
No. In my opinion, that honor still belongs to Floyd Mayweather. But, Golovkin is quickly becoming something akin to can’t-miss TV.
His fights are never boring. He always brings it. And of course, the man can flat-out punch.
Murray, who faces Golovkin in two weeks, knows this, but he refuses to be intimidated.
“It’s a tough fight, I’m under no illusions,” Murray said during a press conference last month. “Golovkin is a punching power machine, but I have the tools to beat him. I expect it will be tough and I’ll need to go through pain, but I’m prepared for that. Whatever it takes.”
Murray (29-1-1, 12 KOs) was showered with praise two years ago when he traveled to than former champion Sergio Martinez’s home turf in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and gave Martinez everything he could handle.
Not many picked Murray to win, but he matched Martinez punch for punch, even scoring a knockdown in round seven. The decision went to Martinez, but Murray won over a number of fans.
Murray isn’t a lazy fighter. He doesn’t wait. He likes to swarm and throw punches. His power is "iffy," but he’s durable and determined.
Though a substantial underdog, Murray is confident.
“Golovkin has two hands like me, but he’s not unbeatable,” Murray said. “I’m certainly not going to get into the ring fearing him. Never.”
The 32-year-old Golovkin respects Murray.
"Martin (Murray) is a worthy opponent and is the number one middleweight in Europe as of today,” said Golovkin. “I think it will be a fierce fight.”
Golovkin is reasonably fast and loaded with power. He’s very adept at cutting off the ring. He’s quietly intense. He sticks to his proven plan of observing his rival for maybe a round, and then going after him.
Murray’s style is tailor made for Golovkin. The Englishman will stay close and throw shots. Golovkin will remain patient and look for an opening. He’ll test the body and move up to the head.
Murray appears to be blessed with a strong chin. He likely won’t crumble when the Kazakhstan cruncher nails him. But he’s never shown the kind of power to make a home-run hitter like Golovkin respect him.
Can he stand up for 12 rounds?
I doubt it. I see Murray eventually toppling after sustaining some wicked shots to his anatomy.
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