Weights from Japan: Ryota Murata 160 – Gennadiy Golovkin 160 – Watch LIVE on DAZN at 5 am ET on Saturday!
Ladies and gentleman start your engines as the boxing schedule revs up this Saturday all the way to the end of June. In the wee hours Saturday morning Gennadiy Golovkin takes on Ryota Murata unification of sorts live on DAZN (In the USA) from Japan in front of a packed Super Arena. Ryan Garcia makes his return after being out of the ring for over a year facing fringe contender Emmanuel Tagoe, also to be streamed by DAZN. The closest matched main event this weekend on paper is on Showtime pitting Erickson Lubin against Sebastian Fundora, both men looking to make a statement.
Let’s start this preview and predictions article with Ryan Garcia making his return after being on the sidelines since his last bout in January of 2021 versus Luke Campbell. Garcia’s absents from the sport was mental health related in his first pause. Not all that long after Joseph Diaz Jr. was his planned opponent until Ryan suffered in injury that required surgery. Now Ryan Garcia is back and this time with another trainer in his corner, the well-respected Joe Goosen.
If were being honest Emmanuel Tagoe is an opponent that serves a purpose with all due respect. Tagoe a professional boxer since 2004 has only 1-loss in his debut. His resume in that time is nondescript to put it lightly and in his last outing Tagoe defeated been-around-the-block Mason Menard by majority-decision. Every dog has his day as the saying goes so who knows maybe Tagoe can push Ryan Garcia to the limit. Ghana fighters do have a tough-customer track record so we can’t rule him out until the bell rings and we truly see if he’s a legit contender at 135.
My Official Prediction is Ryan Garcia by Late TKO.
Gennadiy Golovkin appears to be past his prime based on how his career has played out since losing to Canelo Alvarez in September 2018. Golovkin has fought just 3 times in that span, twice in walk over bouts consisting of Steve Rolls and Kamil Szeremeta. The only true challenge came in a hard-fought unanimous decision over the always tough to deal with Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Some in the boxing world though Sergiy did enough to get the nod or at least a draw. Golovkin did indeed look a step slower which lends itself to a bit of mystery heading into Saturday’s fight with Ryota Murata.
Plenty of boxing experts saw Golovkin as a fighter past his prime when he faced Canelo the second time, some even claim in their first meeting. But the way Golovkin fought in the closing rounds of their rematch tells me his tank wasn’t all that low. That fight and his overall age adds up to a lot of training camps not to mention his amateur bouts likely did catch up to him judging by performance versus Derevyanchenko. Now adding a long layoff to this equation does make it a little more difficult to see exactly where Gennadiy stands as a top-level middleweight.
The problem with those items mentioned is his opponent is nowhere near considered young at the age of 36. Also, much has been made about Golovkin sitting on the shelf but Murata hasn’t climbed inside the ropes since December 2019. Murata does have real power and will likely try to do damage in the opening chunk of rounds. Unless Golovkin is well past it he should win clearly and possibly by late stoppage. Style wise this has a great chance to be the most entertaining main event of the weekend.
The Gennadiy jab and body attack will eventually wear down Murata.
My Official Prediction is Gennadiy Golovkin by Unanimous Decision.
Last but certainly not least, Erickson Lubin and Sebastian Fundora will duke it out in hopes of landing a shot at the undisputed 154-pound title. Tim Tszyu will have the first crack at either Jermell Charlo or Brian Castano assuming we get a winner in the rematch. Fundora has been moved somewhat briskly as a prospect having beaten Nathaniel Gallimore, Jorge Cota, Sergio Garcia, and a draw with Jamontay Clark in August 2019. Fundora’s most impressive effort would have to be his stoppage of Gallimore.
As we know back in 2017, Erickson Lubin was shockingly one-punch KO’d by Jermell Charlo in the first round. To his credit Lubin managed to put together a string of 6 victories in a row the last 3 coming over credible opposition. He one-sided Gallimore, bit down to earn a victory over Terrell Gausha, and scored a body punch knockout over Jeison Rosario. Assuming Fundora doesn’t fight in the manner he did with Sergio Garcia we will see fireworks for sure.
Fundora must bring constant pressure combined with his normal punch rate. Trapping Lubin on the ropes and in the corners all the while continuing to throw the kitchen sink at him. Lubin has been hurt in his last two fights and Fundora must take full advantage of that moment if it comes. Lubin doesn’t have great defense (neither does Fundora) and when he gets buzzed he has this bad habit of standing straight up with nothing but a leaky ear-muff high guard that Sebastian needs to exploit and go for the kill.
On the Lubin side he will need to box in a similar fashion as he did with Rosario using subtle lateral footwork. Lubin will also need to use his footwork and upper body movement on the inside. Once on the inside short punching will be the key especially body attacks and a clinch. Lubin should really sit down on his body punches eventually chopping the tree that is Fundora’s body type.
All and all this will be a two-way fight that the more accurate and faster-handed Lubin should come out on top. The pace will be set early and often by Fundora. Lubin must be patient and look for the right spots to counter and also straight or short punch during the exchanges. Fundora has the power and punch output to cause a bunch of trouble but will he be able to capitalize on it enough to come out victorious?
My Official Prediction is Erickson Lubin by Majority-Decision.
Side Note: Keep an eye out for the ESPN card that same night with Mikaela Mayer vs. Jennifer Han in the main event along with a variety of interesting undercard bouts on ESPN, Showtime, and DAZN.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio