D’Mitrius Ballard says he sees the early April middleweight unification fight between the ring-rusty IBF 160-lb champion Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin and WBA champion Ryota Murata as a “50-50 toss-up” affair.
Ballard, who is facing highly ranked middleweight contender Jaime Munguia tonight on DAZN, notes that Golovkin is getting older, and he’s facing a stronger puncher capable of throwing a lot of shots in Murata.
Even during the prime of Golovkin’s career, he would have had problems with Murata’s high work rate and punching power. With Golovkin turning 40 in April, it’ll be a brutal fight for him to try and match the high-volume attack from the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Murata.
Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) revealed last week on social media that he’s back in training camp after a year and a half out of the ring. He says his fight with Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) will occur in early April in Japan.
It’s crucial for Golovkin to win this fight against Murata, 36, because if he loses, he can forget about his trilogy match with Canelo Alvarez in September. That is to say, the lucrative trilogy match for GGG against the superstar Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) is contingent on him winning his fight with Murata.
Golovkin vs. Murata = 50-50 fight
“Honestly, GGG is a little bit older now. Murata is really strong and throws a lot of punches. I see that as a 50-50 fight right now,” said D’Mitrius Ballard to DAZN in making his prediction on the Golovkin vs. Murata fight in early April.
“Murata is a fighter. He’s coming forward; he’s throwing a lot of punches. I respect his game. So I feel like it’s a 50-50 toss-up.”
Ballard could be right about Murata giving Golovkin many problems and possibly beating him.
Murata and his team will study Golovkin’s recent fights and develop a game plan that will give him a lot of problems.
You can bet that Murata will focus on backing Golovkin up the way Canelo did in their rematch in 2018 and targeting his body.
As we saw in Golovkin’s fight with Sergiy Derevyanchenko in October 2019, he’s vulnerable against fighters that come forward and aggressively attack him with power shots to the head and especially to the body.
Derevyanchenko came close to dropping Golovin in the fifth round after hurting him with a body shot. If not for the referee getting in the way of Derevyanchenko when he had Golovkin hurt, he likely would have dropped him.
The Derevyanchenko was over two years ago, and you can’t imagine Golovkin having improved with his inactivity. Golovkin has only fought once since the Derevyanchenko, which was against Kamil Szeremeta in December 2020.
Szeremeta is arguably a fighter that shouldn’t be ranked in the top 15, let alone fighting for world titles. As such, in judging what Golovkin has left in the tank at 40, we have to go on his performance against Derevyanchenko to gauge what level he’s fighting at in this late stage of his career.
“The most skilled, I’d say Boo Boo [Demetrius Andrade] is the most skilled,” said Ballard. “I like Charlo. I’m a fan of boxing. I watch these guys a lot. I feel all those guys are great.”
Golovkin vs. Canelo 3 in September
“Canelo has a two-fight deal. The first one is supposed to have in May against Dmitry Bivol at 175 pounds,” said Max Kellerman on Max on Boxing. “I think Bivol at 175 has the best chance of anyone south of cruiserweight against Canelo.
Back to the training routine 🦾 pic.twitter.com/mezfN4Tfco
— Gennadiy Golovkin (@GGGBoxing) February 18, 2022
“Hats off to Canelo for taking that one if he does. What’s the latest there?”
“The latest is Canelo has verbally agreed to a two-fight deal for DAZN pay-per-view bouts against Dmitry Bivol in May, that’s May 7th, and then against GGG in the trilogy on September 17th,” said Mike Coppinger.
“Bivol signed the contract, but GGG has not agreed yet. So there’s no deal until GGG agrees. I do fully expect that it’s going to get done in the near future,” said Coppinger.
“You mentioned the second fight would be the third match up with GGG at 168-lbs,” said Kellerman about the trilogy match between Golovkin and Canelo on September 17th.
“It looks like both guys [Canelo and Golovkin] are going in separate directions since their second fight [in 2018]. In the first fight, probably GGG won. They made it a draw.
“I thought Canelo legit won the second fight. It could have also been a draw if you were generous to GGG.
“But since then, it looks like Canelo has gotten better and better, and GGG, if anything, has been on the downside a little. Given his age, it’s understandable,” said Kellerman.
“I think it’s an excellent fight, Max. I think it’s the biggest commercial fight you can make in all of boxing,” said Coppinger on the Canelo vs. Golovkin III trilogy match.
“The first two fights in 2017 and 2018, they both produced over one million pay-per-view buys a piece and over 20 million dollars in gate receipts,” said Coppinger.
GGG still negotiating
“So this is a massive fight, and that’s really why we have a holdup right now because GGG is still negotiating some points on his end because this is a massive fight,” said Coppinger. “I know a lot of boxing fans are writing off GGG.
Happy to be back at training camp and to see my team. Hope that a date for the unification fight with Ryota Murata rescheduled for early April will be announced soon. I’m looking forward to traveling to Japan and to more BIG things in 2022 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/iAEo1wUhmJ
— Gennadiy Golovkin (@GGGBoxing) February 16, 2022
“I’m not going to do that because I saw what Deontay Wilder brought into his third fight with Fury after being counted out [by boxing fans], and this is a bad-blood rivalry,” said Coppinger of the Canelo vs. Golovkin III trilogy match.
“You could see that Canelo could even stop him. He’s at the height of his powers, and GGG is doing a little worse in all of his fights against him, or you could see a situation like the ‘Thrilla in Manilla,'” said Kellerman.
“[Joe] Frazier was supposed to be done, but sometimes two guys meet, and it’s always going to be a great fight. Maybe that’s what we have here,” said Kellerman.