By Sean Jones: Former 4 time world title challenger Martin Murray is picking Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (37-0, 33 KOs) to stop Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (49-1-1, 34 KOs) in their crucial middleweight fight in 11 days from now on September 16 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Murray, 34, thinks Canelo has been sly with the way he’s waited until Golovkin hasn’t looked good in his last 2 fights before finally agreeing to fight him.
Murray says that if Canelo had fought Triple G before his fights against Danny Jacobs and Kell Brook, the boxing fans would pick him for sure to beat the Mexican star. But with Golovkin looking “beatable” against Jacobs and Brook, he says this has people thinking that Canelo can win. However, Murray says he knows how good Golovkin is after fighting him, and he doesn’t think Canelo will be able to hang with him. Murray is predicting a late stoppage for Golovkin.
Golovkin knocked out Murray in the 11th round in their fight on February 21, 2015. Golovkin dropped Murray 3 times in the fight in dropping him twice in round 4, and another time in the 10th. That’s the only time in Murray’s 10-year pro career that he’s been knocked out, and he’s been inside the ring with some hard punchers in George Groves, Sergio Martinez, Arthur Abraham and Gabriel Rosado.
“It was a tough fight,” said Martin Murray to BoxNation about his fight with Golovkin in 2015. “I think what makes him standout is he’s good at everything. He takes a shot well. He fights, and he hits hard. His variety, which is something that surprised me most about him…We started off in the 1st round, and he hit me, I anticipated this big, heavy banger. So when he hit me first, I thought, ‘I can deal with this,’ but it was the relentless pressure with him,” said Murray.
Golovkin did a good job of mixing up his punches well against Murray. He was hitting Murray with hooks, straight rights, jabs and uppercuts. Murray was having a hard time blocking all the incoming shots from GGG. Murray did have a few tricks up his sleeves to try and negate Golovkin’s power. Murray used a lot of clinching in the early rounds to keep Golovkin from getting his shots off. When Golovkin adapted by stepping back each time Murray would attempt to hold him, this led to Murray trying to beat Golovkin combination punching. This too failed, as Golovkin was able to connect with big shots that took the air out of Murray’s sails. Starting in the 4th, Murray began to use a lot of movement to survive. This worked well for Murray, since it prevented Golovkin couldn’t get to him. We saw Kell Brook and Danny Jacobs both use the Murray blueprint in how to survive against Golovkin by moving frequently. It’s not a style that will win rounds, but it helps fighters survive and avoid punishment.
”Again, the thing that surprised me most about him was the variety,” said Murray about Triple G. ”I didn’t know where the shots were coming from. With someone on you constantly, I was hitting him with good shots and he’s just taking them, because he takes a shot extremely well, eventually he breaks you down,” said Murray.
The variety of Golovkin’s punches will be important when he gets inside the ring with Canelo, because the red-headed Mexican star is good at learning where his opponent is going to throw his punches and then block and move his head to get out of the way of his shots. But if Canelo is constantly guessing wrong, then he’s going to be in trouble against GGG on September 16. If Golovkin goes to the body when Canelo is ducking and leaning back like he always does, he’s going to get hurt. Canelo makes it hard for his opponents to land their head shots due to all the head movement he uses, but he’s terrible at avoiding body shots. That’s not unexpected. Short, wide body fighters like Canelo are never good at avoiding body shots. When you have fighters that’s really heavy in the upper body, they’re never going o be good at avoiding body shots. The only thing Canelo can try to do is dissuade Golovkin from throwing to his midsection by countering him each time he tries to land anything. I don’t think Golovkin is too worried about Canelo’s power, because he’s not as powerful as some of the guys that he’s already beaten like Danny Jacobs, David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens. All 3 of those fighters can punch harder than Canelo. Gabriel Rosado can probably punch as hard as Canelo. Those 2 are about even in the power department. Rosado doesn’t have Canelo’s hand speed, boxing or his defensive skills.
”When I felt [George] Groves, I felt Groves’ power more,” said Murray. ”Golovkin has a better jab for me. It’s solid. Golovkin’s distance is just right. Every shot he hits you with is solid. He’s shooting that solid jab, and he’s got good power in his right hand. I feel Groves has more power in one punch. I didn’t know where the shots were coming from, and when every shot is hard and you don’t know where it’s coming from, you get hit with shots you don’t see,” said Murray.
Groves is big a super middleweight, who would probably be more at home in the light heavyweight division than he is at 168. That explains why he hits harder than Golovkin. Groves does hit hard with a single shot, but he fades quickly and he doesn’t possess a good jab like Golovkin does. Groves doesn’t have a great chin though. We’ve seen Groves get stopped twice by Carl Froch, and beaten by Badou Jack. Groves hasn’t lost recently, which is good news for his boxing career, but then again he hasn’t fought anyone good for a long time. Golovkin would be a really bad fight for Groves with the pressure that he likes to put on his opponents.
”The right hand he knocked me down with in the 4th, it changed the complexion of the fight,” said Murray in still talking about the Golovkin fight. ”He’s got a great left hook to the body. When he hits you, just ride it out. After 2 or 3 rounds, he was throwing, but he wasn’t landing. I started talking to him. But as I stepped back to the side, he swung this big right hand that I wasn’t expecting. I thought I was out of range and he just swung his big right, which I didn’t see. The pain, I felt like I was having a baby. The pain that appeared throughout my body was ridiculous. Little things like that. You don’t see where the punches are coming from,” said Murray.
That was a nice body shot that Golovkin knocked Murray down with in the 4th round. It’s a credit to Murray that he was able to get up from the knockdown and survive the round, because he looked finished. Murray was knocked down once more by Triple G before the round ended. It looked like GGG was trying to let Murray hang around longer rather than finishing him off. Golovkin didn’t seem to have any sense of urgency to knock Murray out the way he could have. Golovkin fought the same way against Danny Jacobs. He treated him like he was just letting him hang around for as long as possible just to get rounds in. Of course, some boxing fans believe Golovkin purposefully didn’t knock Jacobs out so that he could lure Canelo Alvarez’s promoters at Golden Boy to let their most popular fighter finally take the fight with Golovkin.
We’ll never know for sure if that’s what Golovkin did, because if he was to admit that he curried Jacobs for the full 12 rounds in order to get the Canelo fight, it would anger a lot of boxing fans that bet money on the Golovkin vs. Jacobs fight. They wouldn’t be too pleased to learn that Golovkin intentionally let Jacobs go the full distance so that he could get Golden Boy to finally give him the chance to fight their No.1 money fighter in their stable. Golovkin wouldn’t be trusted by some boxing fans if they found out that he carried Jacobs for the full fight to make himself look vulnerable against him.
It’s hard to look at how easily Dmitry Pirog beat Jacobs in 2010, and no think Golovkin carried the New Yorker. Pirog was a good fighter, but he wasn’t seen as being in the class of Golovkin. Incidentally, Pirog’s career ended when he on the verge of fighting Golovkin in a big fight in 2010. Pirog suffered a weight lifting injury that finished his career. Pirog made it look easy beating Jacobs. He took the shots that Jacobs threw, but he was pounding him and schooling him during the fight. Pirog seemed to be enjoying himself in beating Jacobs. There was no fear at all in Pirog. He looked happy and totally unconcerned with Jacobs’ power shots that he took on occasion.
”[He’s] just emotionless. ‘Okay, but I know I’m going to get you,’” said Murray in describing what Golovkin was like in the ring. ”I hit him in the 8th round on the button, and he just stepped back, nodded and came right back. It’s like he’s in there doing a job and can’t let things affect him. He’s in there getting things done. I felt like this is going to be a long night. There’s an aura about him being in the ring with him. You think this is going to be a hard fight,” said Murray.
Murray got a lot cocky when he found some success in the 8th round. Murray had survived the first half of the fight despite getting dropped 2 times in round 4, and it looked like Golovkin was slowing down and tiring. He wasn’t able to finish Murray with his big power shots, partly due to the movement that he was using. But when Murray started throwing power shots in the 8th, Golovkin started to land some really nice shots. In round 10, Golovkin knocked Murray down once again. That was the beginning of the end for Murray, as he was tired and unable to move as much as he had before. In the 11th, Golovkin trapped Murray against the ropes and took him out with a flurry of power shots to the head. The referee had to step in to stop the contest to save Murray.
”I think it’s a good fight. I’m picking Golovkin,” said Murray in giving his prediction of the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight. ”I know what it’s like being in there with him. I think Canelo has been quite clever the way he’s done it, waiting a couple of fights. I think the last 2 fights, he’s looked beatable,” said Murray about Golovkin. ”Kell Brook, even though he gave a lot of weight away, he took quite a few shots off Kell, and apparently there was a rumor he had a cold. But no more so than his last fight with [Daniel] Jacobs, he looked beatable,” said Murray.
Golovkin could have made the Brook fight super easy if he’d wanted to by jabbing him like he’d done against David Lemieux, but he wanted to knock him out quickly. When you’re going for a FAST knockout like Golovkin was trying to do, you can’t just play it safe and box. You’ve got to go after your opponent, which is what Golovkin did.
”I don’t know if Golovkin underestimated him, because [Dmitry] Pirog knocked him out,” said Murray. ”But let’s not forget how good Jacobs is. Jacobs is he second best middleweight in the world. I fought him in the amateurs. He’s an unbelievable fighter, and he fought out of that skin that night. So, I think a couple of fights ago, a lot of people would have been saying Golovkin, but I’m going with Golovkin by late stoppage. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Canelo did it on points,” said Murray.
Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions had better hope that Golovkin has lost something from his game, being that if he’s able to get back to the level he was at just prior to the Kell Brook fight against Dominic Wade, Canelo won’t last. He’ll be toyed with by Triple G just like Floyd Mayweather Jr. toyed with Canelo. That’s something that a lot of boxing fans haven’t thought too much about. If Golovkin chooses to jab Canelo from long range, he could turn him into the same fighter that Mayweather beat in 2013. At the same time, Canelo looked VERY beatable in his fight against Liam Smith last September. That was just 1 year ago. If you look at a replay of that fight, Smith was giving Canelo fits in the first 4 rounds of that fight before he faded. Of course, there are a lot of ifs involved in the Canelo-Smith fight, as Smith would have had a good chance of winning if he hadn’t lost his engine with the fast pace that he’d set out for himself. That was Smith’s game plan to beat Canelo. He wanted to set a fast pace that Canelo’s couldn’t keep up with. Smith partially succeeded with his plan, as Canelo had to take rest breaks against the ropes because he tired out. Smith didn’t have the stamina to properly fulfill his game plan. If Golovkin tries the same approach in his fight with Canelo, it’ll be intriguing to see if he can succeed with that game plan. No one has ever knocked Canelo out. It would be a big feather for Golovkin to stick in his cap if he became the first guy to KO Canelo. It would likely increase the chances for Golovkin to get a rematch with Canelo. If Canelo wins, he’s likely going to move on if it’s a close win or if he takes a beating in the process of winning. Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy won’t want his career to be shortened by fighting Golovkin 2 or 3 times.