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Martin Murray fights Nuhu Lawal this Saturday


By Scott Gilfoid: Former three time world title challenger Martin Murray (33-4-1, 16 KOs) may have dodged a loss for this Saturday night with the news of the hard hitting Dmitry Chudinov pulling out of his fight with him due to an illness. Murray, 34, will now be facing little known 34-year-old German based Nigerian fighter Nuhu Lawal (23-0, 13 KOs) in a 12 round fight for the vacant WBA Continental super middleweight title at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo.

While Lawal does possess an unbeaten record in his five-year pro career, he’s not beaten any quality opponents. They’ve been obscure fighters. You can argue that the best of the bunch is Soufiene Ouerghu (10-4, 6 KOs), a guy that beat super middleweight contender Dominik Britsch by an eight round decision in 2014. Britsch will be fighting former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. next month on December 10 in Monterrey, Mexico.

Lawal is coming off of a 6th round knockout win over Istvan Szili last June. Lawal looked terrible in that fight.
Chudinov reportedly was sick with a virus and couldn’t take the fight.

In looking at some of Lawal’s past fights, what jumps out at me is a couple of things. Lawal isn’t that tall. His height isn’t listed, but looks no taller than 5’8”. He is very, very easy to hit. Lawal’s defense is nonexistent. He’s basically wide open for everything that his opponents throw at him. Lawal only uses his right hand. His left hand has no power at all, so he seems to rarely use it. He’s not that fast of hand, and he totally lacks punching power. Lawal does not look like a world class fighter to me. He looks like a 2nd tier guy all the way.

I’m not surprised that Lawal is a 2nd tier fighter; because there was no chance that Murray’s management would get a good fighter on just two days’ notice. It’s expected that a soft opponent would be found for Murray. What’s sad about the news is the fact that the boxing fans are going to see Murray facing another weak opponent.

It seems to me that Murray fights a lot of poor opponents in between getting beat. Murray steps up every once in a while and faces a good fighter like Gennady Golovkin. He then gets soundly beaten, and he then goes back to fighting a soft job rather than highly talented contenders.

Murray has suffered losses to George Groves, Arthur Abraham, Golovkin, and Sergio Martinez in the last three years. In between those losses, he’s beaten the following fighters: Jose Miguel Torres, Mizret Bajrektarevic, Dominica Spada, Max Bursak, Ishmael Tetteh and Siarhei Khamitski. With Murray, it’s either or. He’s either facing a good fighter and getting beaten or he’s facing fodder and padding his record. What Murray should be doing is fighting high quality contenders that can teach him something so that he doesn’t keep getting whipped each time he steps it up a class. I’m just saying. It’s just so, so sad how Murray fails to learn from his mistakes and improve his game.

“Four weeks before I boxed George I was flying in the gym,” said Murray to “If I’d fought him then the outcome would have been completely different. I peaked and then I got ill, I took a couple of courses of antibiotics leading into the fight, so when I fought there was nothing in me. I was shocking and I felt flat.”

Well, looking at how Murray fought against Groves, I don’t buy his excuses about being flat. As far as I can tell, Murray fought Groves like he fights everyone he faces. Murray hid behind his clam-shell guard and gave the fight away. I’ve seen Murray do that in the past, so this was nothing new for him. I don’t think it was a case of Murray being flat. I just think he didn’t want to mix it up with Groves. When Murray did let his hands go for any length of time, he would look winded almost immediately and would then need to go back to hiding behind his clam-shell guard. In other words, it was the same Murray as usual. The mind was willing but the flesh was weak.

Murray’s biggest flaw in his game is he spends virtually every minute of every round hiding behind his clam-shell guard and not throwing punches. I used to think that Murray did this because he had stamina problems and didn’t want to gas out by throwing punches. I now think it’s a case of Murray not trusting his chin to take shots. Instead of opening up his clam-shell to start throwing punches, Murray hides behind his clam-shell and gives away his fights by not throwing punches. Murray should have fixed that problem a long, long time ago, because he’s going nowhere in boxing with his present style of fighting.

Murray has had incredibly bad luck lately with his original opponent for Saturday night Arthur Abraham pulling out of the fight with an injury. Abraham was replaced by Chudinov, who now has pulled out of the fight himself. At this point, it hardly means much that Murray is still fighting on the card.

“I’d been training for the whole year basically, so that with the illness it took a lot out of me. I didn’t do anything in the first half of the fight but I still nearly pulled it out of the bag at the end,” said Murray about his loss to Groves last June.

What on earth is Murray blabbering about? He was EASILY beaten by Groves. That fight wasn’t close at all. I mean, Groves won the fight by the scores 118-110, 118-110 and 118-110. The judges were being very kind to Murray with those scores, because I had Groves winning 11 rounds to 1. It was a mismatch. Murray didn’t almost pull it out against Groves. Murray almost got knocked out in the fight. Groves had Murray badly hurt in the later rounds after hooking him with some shots around his high guard. Murray looked like he was on the brink of getting stopped.

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