Gennadiy Golovkin’s performance against Ryota Murata last Saturday night has many fans doubtful that he’s going to be anything more than a small speed bump for Canelo Alvarez in September if the two meet for their trilogy match.
WBA middleweight champion Murata (16-3, 13 KOs) hurt Golovkin (42-1-1, 41 KOs) in the third round with a body shot, and was giving him loads of problems until he turned the fight around in the sixth round.
Golovkin hurt Murata with a right hand in the sixth, and then largely had his way for the remainder of the contest. In the ninth round, Golovkin caught Murata with a big right that dropped the Japanese star. Murata’s corner then threw in the towel to save their fighter.
A lot of boxing fans saw enough of the Golovkin-Murata fight to know the 40-year-old Golovkin stands zero chance of beating Canelo (52-1-2, 39 KOs) in the third fight on September 17th if the Mexican star gets past Dmitry Bivol on May 7th.
In terms of power and punch resistance, Golovkin looked good enough to give Canelo more problems than the weak super-middleweight champions that he focused on last year to become the undisputed champion at 168.
Canelo will need to deal with Golovkin that will stick around for the full 12 rounds, which means the Mexican star is going to need to eat a lot of jabs and power shots for him to get the victory.
The Murata fight could give Golovkin an advantage against Canelo because it gave him excellent practice for what he’s going to see from him in September.
Canelo will be pressuring Golovkin in the same way that Murata did, and focusing on throwing to the body as much as possible.
GGG looked rusty against Murata
“I thought Murata was in the fight. He did exactly what you need to do against Golovkin. Back him up, aim for the body, short right hands,” said Sergio Mora to the DAZN Boxing Show in reacting to Gennadiy Golovkin’s win over Ryota Murata last Saturday night.
“Murata had a game plan, he was following it, but to do that for 12 rounds is very difficult to do, even with a 40-year-old Golovkin. But for six rounds, it was a competitive, even fight, possibly 3-3.”
“Maybe not after three rounds, but after four or five, you start to wonder which of these two fighters is going to be the stronger fighter in the second half of the fight,” said Chris Mannix about the Golovkin vs. Murata contest.
“Murata is younger than Gennadiy. Gennadiy just turned 40 yesterday on Friday, so you had to wonder would this be the fight that he starts to fade. I’ll tell you what. Murata kind of went to school on the Canelo Alvarez playbook.
“He took the fight to Gennadiy Golovkin. Throughout Golovkin’s U.S fighting career very few fighters have done that, and Murata decided that even though he’s not the biggest puncher and maybe doesn’t have the best chin, he was going to take the fight straight to Golovkin. That was the best strategy to win. So, I admire the strategy.
“We just saw Golovkin, even at 40, have the better stamina to win a fight like that,” said Mannix. “In the third round, he landed a shot that visibly hurt Golovkin, causing him to take a deep breath.”
“Anytime a fighter is hurt to the body, you only need to touch them there once again, and he’s going to remind himself of that pain,” said Mora. “It comes back just like that. Golovkin, I noticed that body language, he was protecting that rib a little bit more once he got hit.”
“Murata had more success in the first half of the fight than I’ve seen any other fighter have against Golovkin since Canelo,” said Mannix. “Even before that, Golovkin, you’re not used to seeing him backed up.
“You’re not used to seeing him fight against the ropes like we did at times against Murata. The aura of invincibility around Gennadiy Golovkin is gone. Canelo Alvarez, if nothing else, took that away from him,
“Ryota Murata, I don’t believe for a second that if this fight took place six years ago, Murata would have fought the same way because nobody fought that way against GGG.”
“Six or seven because up to that point, Murata was in the fight,” said Mora when asked at what point did he see Golovkin begin to take control of the contest against Murata.
“3-3 at most by the sixth round. I just don’t think he was winning the fight. I think he was winning the battle of strategy because Murata actually backed up Golovkin. He did something that no one is able to do really.
“Being able to backup a monster and having him protect his ribs like Golovkin was doing, it made it seem like Murata was winning the fight, but I never had him ahead.
“Yes, because of the name itself. Gennadiy Golovkin,” said Mora when asked if Golovkin did enough to earn the trilogy fight with Canelo Alvarez in September. “GGG only lost one time and that was against Canelo, and that was questionable. So, yes, that’s all he had to do. He took care of business, Golovkin is back.”
Canelo will target Golovkin’s body
“Look, we’ll see what happens with Dmitry Bivol. That could be his toughest fight in a long time,” said Mannix when asked if Golovkin can still be a hard fight for the 31-year-old Canelo.
“At the very least we know that Gennadiy Golovkin will stand there and trade with Canelo, which is not something we’ve seen since that last Golovkin fight. Golovkin’s chin is still there, he’s still fearless in the ring.
“He still operates behind that power jab, but to bring it back to something Sergio said, you don’t recover long-term from body shots. It reminds me a little bit going into it if it happens if what Canelo and Golovkin fought.
“At the time Kovalev fought Canelo, the biggest concern was can he take a body shot? In his previous fight, the one against Anthony Yarde, he took some hits to the body.
“Golovkin is going to have that feeling going into it, and he’s going in against arguably the best body puncher in all of boxing [Canelo Alvarez]. A guy with blinding speed and blunt power that is going to put a big bullseye on his midsection and aim for it all night long,” said Mannix.
“I’d like to say that body shots have a great memory. The pain is always there and it never forgets,” said Mora.
Bivol will be a problem
“I would be more impressed with Canelo making a jump to 175 against [Artur] Beterbiev or Joe Smith Jr, who are more natural 175,” said Mannix. “Bivol has flirted for years with the idea of dropping back to 168.
“He probably would have already if there was a big fight for him. So when they [Canelo & Bivol] stand next to each other, and we’ve seen them stand next to each other, it’s not this massive size difference that we’ve seen with Canelo and Callum Smith.”
“It’s a shame but it doesn’t matter because the most difficult fights for Canelo weren’t the big names,” said Mora about boxing fans viewing Bivol as an easy fight for Canelo.
“Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, these guys weren’t household names. What did they have? They had ring generalship, they had a jab and they had a high boxing IQ. That’s exactly what Dmitry Bivol has plus the power.
“The thing that he’s not knocking out people anymore is because he’s facing better opposition,” said Mora on why Bivol is no longer knocking guys out.
“He’s a calculated puncher, he won’t take needless risks. He’s going to have to take risks against Canelo if he wants to win.”
“You would know more about Dmitry Bivol if he hadn’t spent the last four years fighting guys like Craig Richards and whoever he fought in Russia in his last fight [Umar Salamov],” said Mannix.
“He fought Joe Smith Jr, that was a great fight,” said Mora about Bivol.
“That was three years ago,” said Mannix about when Bivol fought Joe Smith Jr. “That’s the one big name on his resume. It’s not all Dmitry Bivol’s fault. He’s been trying to get fights, guys have not been wanting to fight him.
“He had a chance last year to fight [Gilberto] ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez, and he didn’t take him on. He would be a bigger name if he’d fought Zurdo Ramirez.
“He also hasn’t had the most crowd-pleasing style in the last few years. He’s been more hesitant to go for knockouts in the last three years. In other sports, the best faces the best.
“You want boxing fans to bring in the casuals, the NBA fans, the NFL fans, the casual fans on the street, just consistently do big fights. It’s not rocket science,” said Mannix.