The latest chapter in the career of undefeated unified the WBA/IBO Gennady Golovkin came when he defended his title against top contender and two-time world title challenger Martin Murray on Saturday night at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco. As has been asked of previous Golovkin opponents, the question heading into this fight was whether or not Murray could find an answer to avoid the consistent pressure style and punching power of the champion.
In the early rounds of this bout Murray was able to have success in landing punches to the head and body of the champion. Murray’s success was also complemented by his high defensive guard and ability to avoid being a stationary target, as well he was able to tie Golovkin up and not allow the champion to execute much offense on the inside. This however, did not deter the champion, who showed patience and proved that he had the advantage in terms of punching power when he was able to land.
What was a competitive fight in the first three rounds would begin to shift in the champion’s favor in round four. Golovkin began to land more frequently in round four and was able to score the first of two knockdowns in the round by dropping Murray with a right hook to the body. Murray showed his mettle by getting up from the knockdown, but was floored for a second time with another right hand to the body by the champion. Murray again arose from being knocked down and the fight continued.
Following the fourth round, Golovkin’s systematic attack to the body and head of Murray became the story of the fight. Despite not being able to keep the champion off of him for extended periods of time, Murray remained very “Game” and attempted to return offense while being on the defensive. Murray’s punches simply did not have the power behind them to discourage Golovkin from coming forward.
A right hand to the head sent the challenger down for the third time in the closing seconds of round ten. Murray once again was able to get up from the knockdown and survived the round. The beating administered to Murray at the hands of Gennady Golovkin would come to an end as Referee Luis Pabon stopped the fight after Murray was hurt by a flush right hand on the ropes fifty seconds into the eleventh round.
The victory for Golovkin earned him his thirteenth successful title defense and his nineteenth consecutive knockout. The question coming out of this fight remains the same as Golovkin’s previous title defenses, who can withstand the constant pressure and punching power of a fighter who has become one of the sport’s hottest stars.
Although much of the discussion in regard to the Middleweight division has centered around the circumstances surrounding the now vacant IBF Middleweight world championship, an intriguing storyline has become what may indeed turn out to be a historic championship reign for Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin now having successfully defended his title thirteen times is one successful title defense away from tying the mark of fourteen successful defenses set by Carlos Monzon, who reigned atop the Middleweight division from 1970-1977.
As Golovkin continues to win talk of him challenging the all-time Middleweight record for successful title defenses set by Bernard Hopkins, who reigned as Middleweight champion from 1995-2005 successfully defending his title twenty times will increase. An interesting question however, is who will be Golovkin’s opponent for title defense number fourteen?
This observer believes with WBO champion Andy Lee preparing to defend his title against undefeated former WBO champion Peter Quillin in April and with the status of the IBF Middleweight championship remaining for the moment uncertain, the most viable option for Golovkin would be a unification bout with WBC champion Miguel Cotto. What makes the idea of Cotto-Golovkin more appealing beyond a fight between two fighters with exciting styles is that it would be a unification bout that could be mandated by the World Boxing Council (WBC). This is due to Golovkin being designated as having interim status in the WBC’s Middleweight ratings per his defeat of top contender Marco Antonio Rubio last October, despite Golovkin already being a unified world champion.
Although I believe in this case the WBC’s interim designation to be a moot point, it may serve a purpose if a fight between Cotto and Golovkin cannot be made between the fighters and their camps. Theoretically Cotto the WBC champion could be mandated to fight Golovkin. It is certainly a unique scenario that has not been seen before, but it would put the WBC into an interesting position of possibly mandating a unification bout to take place if the fight is not made otherwise.
A fight between Miguel Cotto and Gennady Golovkin would certainly generate significant interest of Boxing fans and experts alike. It’s too soon to tell whether or not a fight between Cotto and Golovkin may be on the horizon, but a fight between the two is the best possible option for both fighters, in my opinion.
Even though the discussion coming out of Gennady Golovkin’s stoppage of Martin Murray is what will be next for the champion, what should not be overlooked is the bravery of Murray. For eleven rounds Murray gave it everything he had against a champion, who has only one goal “Seek and Destroy.” Despite taking an awful beating throughout the fight, Murray never stopped trying to find a way to turn things in his favor and remained determined right up until the fight was stopped.
Martin Murray more than proved his mettle in this fight and remains a top contender in the division. Murray deserves every bit of credit he receives for the courageous performance he put forth in defeat.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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