By: Sean Crose
For years he was the boogie man of the middleweight division – a Kazakh terror whose methodical brutality broke the best competition available. The big names seemed to want to avoid him while fans argued whether or not the man was as good as advertised. Then, finally, Gennady Golovkin got the “big fight,” a high profile, extremely lucrative throwdown with the sport’s biggest name outside of Floyd Mayweather…Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The battle ended up being called a draw, though most fans and analysts felt Golovkin won. A year later the two men met again, and this time Canelo was given the win from the judges – albeit once again controversially.
Then came the doldrums. After stopping Steve Rolls in four, Golovkin faced Sergiy Derevyanchenko some months later. This time it was Golovkin who earned the controversial win. A year passed and the fighter known as “GGG” finally returned to the ring to battle Kamil Szeremeta late in Covid dominated 2020. Since then, the man has seen no professional action. What’s more he’s entered his forties. Some might say his glory days are behind him, but Golovkin is determined to prove the naysayers wrong when he steps into the ring this weekend in Japan to face Ryoto Murata in a middleweight title unifier.
Murata, the defending WBA title, is no joke. A hard hitting warrior whose never faced a man he hasn’t beaten, Murata will also be fighting in his homeland when he battles IBF titlist Golovkin this Saturday at Japan’s Saitama Super Arena. Golovkin may be the center of attention here, but he’ll be in with a real pro, if albeit an unheralded one. In other words, a loss to Murata might well be an upset, but it shouldn’t come as an absolute shock. Golovkin’s been out of the ring for a while now. On top of that, he’s a middle aged guy these days.
With all that being said, Golovkin is looking lean and mean in the leadup to Saturday. He’s got good reason to be motivated, for a win over Murata sets him up for a third battle with arch rival Canelo. Some might say that fight would be past it’s sell by date, and indeed it might be – but people would love to see it nonetheless. The truth is that, aside from one Floyd Mayweather, Golovkin is the only fighter to truly -and at the very least – give Canelo a run for his money.
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