GOLOVKIN – MURRAY: WHEN AN UNSTOPPABLE FORCE MEETS AN IMMOVABLE OBJECT

How do you stop a large comet navigating itself straight to earth, accelerating at a blistering speed and knocking everything in sight? From a distance it looks spectacular, gliding effortlessly through the atmosphere and making us look in awe. Close up, it is a different story. Its destructive nature is apparent and its results are sure to leave you in a state of shock. This is very similar to Middleweight sensation Gennady Golovkin, a systematic knockout machine. The juxtaposition of his humble character and destructive in ring dominance has excited crowds from New York to Monte Carlo. How can someone which such humility turn into a vicious architect in the ring? This ponderous question is the reason we watch him months after months. Tonight will be no different as we will be watching Golovkin take on tough British challenger Martin Murray at the Salle des Étoiles in Monaco.

If luck favours the brave it has certainly deserted Martin Murray. The Saint Helens man has been in the lion’s den, not once but twice when stepping up to face world level opposition. On both occasions Murray demonstrated his skills that lead him to the title shots and was inches away from sealing two mammoth victories against the ever valiant Felix Sturm and the legendary king, Sergio Martinez. On both occasion, however the results went in favour of the champions. The losses on the record was followed by ring inactivity and uninspiring opposition and things were beginning to look down for Murray as the motivation to go out and fight was concealed at the back of his mind.  This was until he signed a contract with South African promotional outfit Golden Gloves. Murray fought 3 times in 6 months, with the firm idea that he would once again fight for a world title. The British middleweight has many good traits when he steps in the ring, including a stiff jab, a high defence and lateral movement. However, his biggest asset is most definitely his toughness in trying to grind out a result. Not the biggest puncher with a 38% knockout ratio, the 32 Year old has got the fundamentals down to a tee and has the ability to follow a game plan no matter the context. In the middle stages of the fight with Sergio Martinez, Murray began to use his size and physical strength to walk down the champion in order to nullify his speed and combination punching ability. Doing this, the challenger expertly cut off the ring and was able to set himself into position to land numerous over hand right counters. In the 8th round with Martinez back pedalling to avoid in punches, Murray again was in a fantastic position and landed a right hand counter to send the hometown native on the canvas. Against Felix Sturm, the man from Saint Helens decided to go toe to toe to give little room as possible to the champion. This meant that, although Murray was on the end of some bruising shots he was clever in his punch output and shot selection. During the fight Murray would interchange from a head attack to an assault to the body, bypassing the high guard of Strum to weaken the resolute champion’s spirit. Whatever Sturm hit the challenger with was coming back, to make an all action affair.

The man in the other corner needs no introduction. Golovkin is reigning terror in the division to the extent that world class boxers in the same division tend to change the subject when his name is mentioned. Whereas Martin Murray is very good at certain things, Golovkin is excellent at them. His power, his shot selection, his balance and the effortless way in which he boxes is astounding. The Kazakh native is often compared to the middleweight Mike Tyson, but Golovkin does not strike fear into the heart of his opponents in his prefight humility. He instead strikes fear when he lands with his very first punch. For me the greatest trait that the champion has is the ability to cut off the ring and subsequently set traps. He ensures that there is no room for his opponents to hide, as if slowly suffocating them in a corner until they can take no more. A prime example of this was in his fight against Daniel Geale. The Australian was touted to be Triple G’s biggest threat as he was the best pure boxer that the champion had faced. The outcome, well it just added to the praise of Golovkin. The challenger used good upper body and lateral movement to try and fend off any attacks and to try and move into range to land his punches, something not many have done against Golovkin. At first glimpse it looked to be working but then the realisation appeared that everything Geale threw was causing no damage. Instead the tiring challenger found himself being trapped in an enclosing ring that must have felt like a phone box by the latter stages of the fight. The Kazakh was able to move in, use his long jab as a range finder and then unleash with a combination. In the 3rd round the Australian landed a straight right handed that grazed the face of the champion but astonishingly, the punch was immediately countered by an incredible right hook that dismantled the challenger. What Golovkin did was cut-off the ring so effectively that Geale had to retaliate by scrambling combinations, instead of moving out of range. What makes this man so incredibly superior to anyone in the sport is that not only is he a bludgeoning technician, he will make you fight to his game plan.

For Murray to win, he would need to take the fight to Golovkin and to try to use his lateral movement to avoid the oncoming assault. His game plan would have to be followed with the utmost discipline to make sure that he does not end up back pedalling and forcing Golovkin to cut off the ring. Another key to victory for the British Middleweight is to keep landing. If Golovkin has a weakness, it’s his defence. The Kazakh takes unnecessary punches that his granite chin saves him from, so even though Murray going for the stoppage is unlikely he will still be able to impress the judges by landing clean, scoring punches. The work rate has to be the best it has ever been and the 32 year old has to hit the floor running. The odds are stacked against Murray and for good reason too. Golovkin will be looking to land early and showcase his power. He will have to be patient and will probably look to counter Murray’s high, European style guard with an attack to the body, similar to the one that ended the fight against Matthew Macklin. If Murray’s game plan does get thrown out of the window I think Tripe G will show us all why he is an expert at cutting the ring off and will eventually land some big shots to eventually over power his opponent and retain his IBO and WBA Middleweight belt.