Did Saturday reignite a stagnant division?
By Gav Duthie: We have just visited an intriguing unification battle between 40 and 36 year year old Gennadiy Golovkin and Ryota Murata respectively. The IBF and WBA belts were on the line as well as a bigger prize of the trilogy fight against Canelo. This division has become the worst in boxing by my reckoning and big fights like this need to happen. The governing bodies need to start putting pressure on more unifications and good mandatories because at the moment there has been very little going on at 160lbs. We needed to see a top Golovkin performance to justify a Canelo trilogy and in parts we got that in others we didn’t. Golovkin however is still dangerous.
The division has strong champions but they are either making weak defences or none at all. The current champions before Saturday were:
WBC – Jermall Charlo 32-0 (22)
WBA -Ryota Murata 16-2 (13)
IBF – Gennadiy Golovkin 41-1-1 (36)
WBO -Demetrius Andrade 31-0 (19)
Charlo is currently fighting at a rate of once a year against the likes of Juan Montiel who had lost 4 before they fought and next Maciej Sulecki who has already been soundly beaten by Daniel Jacobs and Demetrius Andrade. Murata hadn’t been in the ring for 28 months and Golovkin a year and a half. Demetrius Andrade has been facing whatever Brit/Irish Eddie Hearn can fly over from the UK in the form of Luke Keeler, Liam Williams and Jason Quigley. Covid restrictions have been a factor and in Japan in particular but in general the division has been lacking in anything worth talking about.
Sergiy Derevyanchenko has played a part in competitive performances despite losing his last 3 but in general each defence if there is one is a 90/10 fight in the champions favour.
The fights that didn’t happen
Jermall Charlo v Demetrius Andrade
Many of the sports media couldn’t believe that a fight between two undefeated American champions couldn’t be made. Jermall Charlo and Demetrius Andrade’s association with different platforms made it impossible. PBC didn’t even seem to want to try. Back in the 90s when Chris Eubank Snr and Nigel Benn were in similar situations they created a rivalry that lasted for the ages. Unfortunately with Andrade moving up to 168lbs to fight Zach Parker it will likely never happen.
Demetrius Andrade v Jaime Munguía
Both fighters are with DAZN and Munguía has been number 1 with the WBO for a while. In all honesty I am shocked that this didn’t happen. It was a fight that was easy to make and would have benefitted both fighters. For Andrade he needed a big win and Munguía needed a title shot. It would have also been a fun fight to watch.
Gennady Golovkin v Jaime Munguía
As a Golovkin fan I would much rather see this fight than a Canelo trilogy. Golovkin seemed so much slower with his feet against Murata. His hands were also slower but he was still strong and accurate. Canelo is better and Golovkin is worse. A 3rd fight takes away from what Golovkin achieved against Canelo in the first fight. Its too late now, Munguía however is an offensive machine but he can get hit. Golovkin could cement his legacy with a win like that. Munguia is ranked #2 with the WBA where Golovkin is now champion.
Demetrius Andrade v Chris Eubank Jnr
When I think of the fighters that came over from the UK and Ireland to face Andrade for his middleweight title it gave the American less credibility with the 3 wins combined than if he had beaten Eubank Jnr. Chris has never won a proper world title but he has beaten former world champions and is a big name in his own right as well as being the son of a legend. I have always been interested in this fight although I fancy Andrade would have won.
Chris Eubank Jnr v Various
Eubank is ranked #1 with the WBA, #3 with the WBC and #4 with the WBO. This could have lined up with fights against Golovkin, Murata, Andrade, Munguia, Alimkhanuly but instead we are talking about him fighting Kell Brook for some reason. Eubank is 32 and still never held a proper world title. He is now trained by Roy Jones Jnr and his name carries weight. If not now then when will he have a significant fight against anyone in this division.
What we are getting
Demetrius Andrade has seemingly had enough of Matchroom, DAZN and the middleweight division so is moving up to face Zach Parker for the WBO interim title. In doing this he hopes to face Canelo. He hasn’t yet given up his 160lb belt though so in the meantime Zhanibek Alimkhanuly is facing UK fighter Danny Dignum who he should easily overwhelm. If Canelo gets through his Bivol fight it is most likely that the Golovkin trilogy will be a 168lb fight or a catchweight. Michael Zerafa is facing Isaac Hardman in a domestic clash. Erislandy Lara is 39 but has nothing scheduled. Shane Mosley Jnr defeated Gabe Rosado at 168 but seems keen on looking for opportunities at 160 if belts become available. Jaime Munguia looks set to face Daniel Jacobs at a possible catchweight or he may even move up to 160lbs.
Even with Golovkin becoming unified champion again this division doesn’t seem to be improving in terms of interest. Whatever happens next GGG will retire soon as will Murata most likely. Charlo may move up as well as Andrade although the younger Charlo may move up after Castano. This division could definitely benefit from a world boxing super series to make champions and contenders fight each other.
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