Spoiled: Gennady Golovkin Vs. Martin Murray Preview And Prediction

The Gennady Golovkin Show is one of boxing’s best shows to watch, one of its worst to co-star in with the man they call GGG. And he just keeps finding better co-stars, this Saturday being Martin Murray, the highest-ranked middleweight he will have faced yet. He’s never aiming anywhere but the top of the division, is GGG. What’s not to like?

This: There was a study about spoilers a few years ago, where it turned out that people can find a story even more enjoyable when they know the ending. We have known the ending to every Golovkin fight for a while now, and we know the ending this time, too. But for some of us, spoilers… they spoil things, so to say.

As a matter of principle, Golovkin has every right to be a middleweight for the rest of his life, and if nobody can come challenge him, well, that’s on the other guys, not him. It’s just hard to imagine anyone beating Golovkin at 160 until he’s over the hill, and this writer is getting impatient to watch him be challenged. That means moving up to 168, something he has shown little interest in doing.

At least we can say now that there have been a few brave souls in the upper half of the division who are less fatalistic about their own chances, or who have been given the equivalent of liquid bravery by the amount of money they get fighting GGG to make it worth their while. Murray is the latest.

We should take Murray seriously. He’s the #4 man in the division, having probably earned a win over former champ Sergio Martinez only for the scores to go another way, and he suffered a debatable draw against current #8 but then perhaps the #1 middleweight, Felix Sturm. You don’t do those things if you can’t fight.

But his accomplishments, and chances, should be put into context. He got rocked by Sturm late, raising questions about his chin. Sturm was always vulnerable, but increasingly so as he aged, and a couple fights later, someone finally slipped by him on a close scorecard, so Murray caught Sturm at a fortuitous time. Same goes for Martinez: For all we were told about how the aging champ had healed up from bad injuries suffered against Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr., it was pretty clear that night that he had not.

What’s Murray’s best ACTUAL win? Probably against Max Bursak, a borderline top-10 contender at the time, and Murray appeared a little lackluster. He was better against Domenico Spada in his last fight, another fringe contender, albeit a slightly worse one than Bursak. Overall, Murray can move pretty well, which he’ll need to last against Golovkin. He picks his spots smartly, works up and down, his defense is decent. He isn’t much of a puncher with 12 KOs in 29 wins, but he can drop people sometimes or pop them hard enough to make them think twice. He says he’s going to bring a nasty attitude into the fight, whatever that means — fouling a lot? Guess we haven’t seen Golovkin have to deal with that much.

The fighter who eventually beats Golovkin, if he exists, is going to be some combination of one of these things: in a bigger weight class; a one-shot knockout artist; and super-quick/skilled. Murray is zero of those things. Golovkin is just too good to be even tested by anything less. He is too versatile offensively, too powerful once he hits anyone, good enough defensively and smart and sturdy. That list of adjectives sounds too pedestrian for what Golovkin IS, but put them all together and he’s been demolishing everyone with increasing ease.

Golovkin Murray simply has little in the way of drama going for it. Murray would have to pull a rabbit out of his hat, or Golovkin would have to show some serious drop-off, neither of which would be the most heartening causes for an injection of drama.

We’ll just have to take comfort in the overall show. It’s a really good episode, the one where Golovkin knocks out his opponent crushingly and easily, if we have to have only this one on rerun.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.