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Martin Murray vs. Nuhu Lawal tonight


By Scott Gilfoid: #13 WBC super middleweight contender Martin Murray (33-4-1, 16 KOs) will be inside the ring tonight against the potentially difficult replacement opponent Nuhu Lawal (23-0, 13 KOs) in a 12 round fight in Monte Carlo. Lawal wouldn’t be much of a problem for the talented contenders in the 168lb division, but for the 34-year-old Murray, he would be a bit of a headache.

One thing that makes me see this as an easy win for Murray was the way his promoter Eddie Hearn was going on about how good Lawal was, and how great of a replacement he was for Dmitry Chudinov, who pulled out of his fight with Murray. When I see Hearn getting excited about Lawal, it tells me that this is a sick mismatch tonight. But as bad Murray has looked lately, I don’t think you can count out anyone.

It would have been nice if Hearn at least picked out a top 15 contender at 168 to fight Murray instead of a middleweight, but I can understand how it might be a problem to find a quality opponent willing to come in and fight Murray on less than one week’s notice. Unless the money was really good, they wouldn’t likely do it.

Beating Murray would be good for anyone’s career though, because he’s technically still a contender at this point in his career, and he’s been world championship fights four times. Unfortunately, Murray lost three of them with one of the fights being a draw. I thought his management did a great job of getting him the last three title shots, because I don’t think he deserved either of those in my opinion. I don’t think Murray deserved the first title shot either against Felix Sturm in 2011. Murray fought Sturm to a draw. To get that title shot, Murray had beaten Nick Blackwell, John Anderson Carvalho, Peter Mitrevski Jr., and Carlos Nascimento. I didn’t rate those guys as being talented enough fighters for Murray to get a title shot.

It’s been bad news for Murray in trying to get an opponent for tonight’s fight. Murray was originally scheduled to fight former WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham, but he pulled out of the fight with an injury. Murray was then scheduled to fight Chudinov, but he pulled out with an illness. Now Murray is scheduled to fight unbeaten little known 2nd tier fighter Lawal. What a disappointment. Murray has nothing to gain and everything to lose with this fight.

Murray said this to about how tough of a time he’s had in trying to get opponents for tonight’s fight card in Monte Carlo:

“Originally it was Abraham – Abraham pulled out. Chudinov pulled out last night and we’re fighting this one now. It is what it is, there’s nothing I can do, just stay focused,” said Murray. “I’ve had a great training camp, everything has gone well. A good win on Saturday, kind of puts me back in the mix, puts this year to bed, which hasn’t been a good year for me, and focus on 2017.”

Murray lost his last fight against George Groves last June by a 12 round unanimous decision. It was a winnable fight for Murray, but he couldn’t get his offense untracked. Each time he would start having some success in letting his hands go, he would suddenly stop throwing shots and just cover up. Murray ended up spending so much time just hiding behind his high guard that he gave away the fight in losing by the scores 118-110, 118-110 and 118-110.

The boxing fans didn’t seem to be too happy with the lack of two-way action in the fight, as there wasn’t much cheering. Murray was covering up like a sparring partner virtually the entire fight, letting Groves tee off on him. Frankly, it was boring to watch. Murray should have at least given it a try and gone out on his shield in putting in some effort to get the win instead of him just covering up all night long. I’m just saying.

I expect Murray to beat Lawal tonight, because he’s got a big size and power advantage over him. Lawal appears to be around 5’7”, and no bigger than Miguel Cotto. Murray should have a tremendous size advantage over him tonight. Never the less, for Murray to get yet another title shot, he’s going to need to beat some solid contenders, because I don’t see him getting pushed up the rankings quickly this time.

Murray is well connected with Eddie Hearn as his promoter, so I suspect he can maybe get him another title shot. But it’s going to be forlorn if Murray gets another crack at a title if he doesn’t actually beat someone decent this time around. When you see other contenders NOT getting title shots despite them being ranked above Murray and working hard and not getting beaten, it looks funny that they’re not getting the chances and someone who has failed four times IS getting the chances over and over.

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