Gennadiy Golovkin and Ryota Murata won’t take interim fights before their Dec.28th bout

Middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin and Ryota Murata have chosen not to take interim fights before their December 28th unification clash in Saitama, Japan. So rather than fight, GGG and Murata will sit for the next five months before meeting in December.

IBF 160-lb champion Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) and WBA Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) planned to fight in August or September in interim matches, but they ran out of time to put them together.

Dan Rafael says on his site that there was “not a lot of enthusiasm from DAZN” about Golovkin and taking an interim bout.

Although Rafael didn’t go into detail about why DAZN wasn’t enthusiastic about Golovkin taking a stay-busy bout, probably, they weren’t interested in seeing him fight another no-name guy.

DAZN is likely hoping that boxing fans will get excited about the Golovkin vs. Murata fight just based on it being a unification fight at 160.

Gennadiy Golovkin, Ryota Murata boxing image / photo

Those types of fights tend to attract interest, as we saw last Saturday in the unification between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano.

Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) isn’t well known to the U.S market, but he did win a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. That was a long time ago, and the average American fan likely isn’t aware of Murata’s Olympic gold medal.

Being a star in Japan, Murata won’t need to do much to get fans excited about the Golovkin fight. He’s a huge star in Japan, so the fans will be excited at seeing him face a big-name fighter like Golovkin.

Murata has done a poor job of building a name in the U.S, mostly because he’s never fought anyone notable. He lost to Hassan N’Dam and Rob Brant, which says a lot about his limitations as a fighter.

Since recapturing his WBA 160lb title with a quick knockout win over Brant in 2019, Murata has fought just once, beating little-known fringe contender Steven Butler in December 2019 by a fifth round knockout. Why did Murata fight Butler rather than a well-known contender?

It’s pretty obvious. Murata’s losses to N’Dam and Brant showed he’s not talented enough to be put in a risky fight against a top contender without potentially losing.

You can argue that might be a reason for him not taking an interim fight, and the same applies to Golovkin. He’s 40 now, and it would be risky to put him in with a solid contender.

After Golovkin’s last mismatch against Kamil Szeremeta last December, fans were hoping that GGG would start fighting quality fighters as he used to during his prime. Szeremeta wasn’t someone that fans were asking Golovkin to fight.

Yeah, it was Golovkin’s IBF mandatory challenger, but it wasn’t due yet. Golovkin chose to fight Szeremeta before the IBF had ordered the fight, which means this is a guy that he wanted.

Gennadiy Golovkin, Ryota Murata boxing image / photo

It was an easy payday for Golovkin, but it was not a great deal for DAZN to have him fighting another obscure guy as part of his contract with them. If Golovkin was dependent on PPV to make him money, you could argue that he probably wouldn’t have chosen Szeremeta because that’s a fight that would have been poison for PPV.

Golovkin hasn’t pushed himself since 2o19, choosing to fight these lesser guys:

  • Steve Rolls
  • Kamil Szeremeta
  • Sergiy Derevyanchenko

You can only imagine who Golovkin would have fought if he had taken an interim fight in August for September.

With the big money business level fight ahead for Golovkin against WBA belt-holder Murata, he probably would have chosen someone ranked low and not a threat to beating him.

You can understand why Golovkin would take another easy fight, but it’s not a value add for DAZN to have GGG facing another obscure guy that doesn’t bring in subscribers.

Obviously, this isn’t a great career move for Golovkin and Murata, but they both appear to be on their way out, particularly GGG. It’s big fight money for both due to the Japanese fans that will fill up the Saitama Arena in Japan to see them fight.

For DAZN, Golovkin vs. Murata probably won’t bring in many new subscribers. Murata isn’t a household name with the casual boxing fans in the States. The hardcore fans know of Murata,  but they don’t rate him highly.

They view him as a belt-holder and the weakest link among the champions at 160. We’ve seen Murata get beaten by Hassan N’Dam and Rob Brant, and he looked poor in both fights.

It’ll be interesting to know if Golovkin’s fight with Murata will do good business for DAZN in the States.

If you’re DAZN, you got to be somewhat disturbed at the way Golovkin has been choosing his opponents since he signed a contract with them. DAZN hoped Canelo Alvarez and Golovkin would fight a trilogy match, but the Mexican star has shown no desire to fight him again.

Golovkin hasn’t helped matters by choosing to fight weak opposition. By this time, Golovkin should have used his DAZN contract to give them great value by fighting Demetrius Andrade, Jermall Charlo, and David Benavidez.

These are all fights that Golovkin should have made instead of fighting Steve Rolls, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and Kamil Szeremeta. Instead of fighting Murata, the weakest link, Golovkin should be fighting Jermall. The fact that he’s not is a big letdown.

DAZN needs to make sure in the future that the fighters that they sign are facing the kind of opposition that will bring in subscribers. It should be part of their contract with the fighters that they must face the best.

If you’re Golovkin, you should want to fight the best so that DAZN will extend your contract when it’s up. Do I think that’s going to happen. No way. At this point, it’s highly doubtful that DAZN will choose to offer Golovkin another contract, given the lackluster opposition he’s faced.

Yeah, Golovkin would have taken the fight with Canelo if he had the chance, which would have made DAZN happy. But there’s no excuse for Golovkin choosing to fight Steve Rolls, Kamil Szeremeta, Sergiy Derevyanchenko, and Ryota Murata rather than Charlo, Andrade, and Benavidez.