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Golovkin to fight in March, possibly against Murata

Gennady Golovkin

By Sean Jones: Gennady Golovkin will be returning to the ring between March and May for a possible fight against WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Ryota Murata (14-1, 11 KOs) in Tokyo, Japan, according to ESPN.

While Canelo Alvarez has already quickly scheduled a fight against WBA World super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding on December 15, Golovkin is taking his time finding his next opponent. Golovkin needed more time off than Canelo because of the cut that he suffered, and the punishment he took to the head and body. Golovkin didn’t do as good a job of getting out of the way of Canelo’s shots as he did with him. However, Canelo was the one that was badly hurt in the fight in getting stunned by big shots from Golovkin in the 10th and 11th rounds.

The World Boxing Council wants Golovkin to face WBC interim middleweight champion Jermall Charlo (24-0, 21 KOs) so that he can earn a trilogy fight with Saul Canelo Alvarez, but that’s not something that the Kazakhstan star is entertaining. He’s looking in another direction towards a lucrative fight against Murata rather than having to fight his way to a third fight against Canelo, who he arguably has beaten twice already in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler is in negotiations with ESPN Showtime and DAZN to sign with one of those platforms now that his contract with HBO has expired. HBO is no longer going to be broadcasting boxing after the end of the year, which has left exciting fighters like Golovkin, Jaime Munguia, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez in need of a home.

If Golovkin signs with DAZN, it probably won’t be for anything close to the $365 million, 5-year, 11-fight deal that Saul Canelo Alvarez received from them on Wednesday with his new contract. With the money DAZN is paying to Canelo and Matchroom Boxing USA, they might not have anything left over to give to GGG, who would obviously want top dollar to sign with them considering that he’s seen as the true winner by fans in his last two fights with Canelo.

Golovkin’s next opponent, WBA World middleweight champion Ryota Murata, will be defending his title this Saturday night on October 20 on ESPN against #3 WBA Rob Brant (23-1, 16 KOs) at the Park Theater, in Las Vegas, Nevada. If Murata, 32, wins the fight, then GGG’s promoter Loeffler will be looking to lockup a deal with his co-promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank to setup a fight in possibly March between the two in Tokyo, Japan. 2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata is a huge star in Japan, and he brings in tremendous ratings when fighting there.

“After the Murata fight, if he wins on Saturday, he becomes a very interesting opponent,” Loeffler said to “Gennady has always enjoyed fighting internationally. We know what GGG brings to the table and Murata brings monster ratings in Japan and he is very popular. I would say he has distinguished himself as the front-runner if he can win on Saturday night,” Loeffler said.

Murata was one of the names that Loeffler wanted to match against Golovkin before his recent loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez in their rematch on September 15 in Las Vegas. But now that Golovkin has lost to Canelo, albeit by a controversial decision, the negotiations between GGG and Murata are going to be a little different. Golovkin is no longer the WBA/WBC middleweight title. He’s now facing a champion in Murata, who holds the secondary World Boxing Association 160 lb title. Canelo holds the main WBA title, which is viewed by fans as the only one that counts. Golovkin vs. Murata is more about the two fighters than it is about the secondary WBA title that the Japanese star holds.

Unfortunately for Golovkin, Murata isn’t a sure thing to defeat defeat the 28-year-old Brant this Saturday. Murata has already lost to Hassan N’Dam, and Brant is a level above him in talent. Murata isn’t fighting in his home country against Brant. The fight is taking place in Las Vegas, and it’s not going to be easy for him to win this fight. A loss for Murata will likely spoil Loeffler and Golovkin’s plans of fighting the Japanese fighter in the near term. Golovkin would need to look in another direction by going after the winner of the Demetrius Andrade vs. Walter Kautondokwa fight or the Daniel Jacobs vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko fight on October 27. Golovkin and Loeffler have got to hope that Murata gets past Brant, because it’ll be a huge let down if he loses the fight. It would mean that Golovkin would likely need to go in another direction against one of those other fighters. Ideally, it would be nice if Canelo elected to fight him next after he fights WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Rocky Fielding on December 15, but that’s not likely to happen. Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions will have him either defend his WBA super middleweight title that he wins off of Fielding or have him move back down to 160 to defend his WBA title against Golden Boy fighter David Lemieux. What we won’t see is Canelo moving back down to 160 to defend his WBC middleweight title against his mandatory challenger Jermall Charlo. It’ believed by fans that Canelo doesn’t want any of that smoke from Charlo, and he’ll resist the notion of fighting him with all his might.

“Murata fights this weekend and he is a very attractive option if he beats Brant,” Loeffler said. “I have a good relationship with Mr. Honda and Top Rank, and that fight seems like it is very makeable.”

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum wants the Murata vs. Golovkin fight, so that makes it pretty much a sure thing that the fight will happen if things workout well for the Japanese star this Saturday night against Rob Brant in Las Vegas, Nevada. Golovkin-Murata will make for an interesting fight in Japan.

Arum thinks Golovkin won both fights against Canelo, and he’s still excited about making the Murata-Golovkin fight despite the Kazakhstan fighter’s loss to Alvarez. Arum knows that the Japanese boxing fans will flock to come see Golovkin and Murata fight at the Tokyo Dome in Japan.

As for Canelo, he’s going to need to decide whether he’s a middleweight or a super middleweight. If he’s going to fight at 160, then he needs to move back down to 160 and do his job of defending his WBA and WBC titles against all comers, starting with Jermall Charlo. Canelo shouldn’t depend on Golovkin to do his hard work for him in facing his WBC mandatory Charlo. If Canelo doesn’t want any of that work, then he should vacate his WBC title and let someone grab it who is willing to fight Charlo.

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