By: Sean Crose
Gennady Golovkin has always been known as a man who takes his profession very seriously. Perhaps that’s why, at the age of 40, the IBF middleweight titlist remains a must-see fighter. No one ever expects a lazy, half hearted performance from the Kazakh titlist. The guy is as methodical before a match as he is when he’s in the heat of action working to break down the man before him. This might explain why, when many are looking forward to a likely third fight between Golovkin and arch rival Canelo Alvarez later this year, Golovkin has his sites firmly set on his next opponent, the talented Ryota Murata.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Golovkin explained why his April 9th opponent is one whose worthy of serious attention. “He’s the pride and the star of his country,” Golovkin said of Japan’s Murata. “I know the organizers of this event. Everything will be top class, and I’m very excited to be a part of this amazing event. He’s an Olympic champion and he’s the current world champion holding the WBA title.” Sure enough, Golovkin and Murata have actually met in the ring before, albeit in a training.
“It did take place, but that was a long time ago,” Golovkin admitted to Helwani. “It was not the pure sparring approach that he came to spar me. I learned during those sessions that Murata is a very serious fighter with a high boxing IQ.” It’s hard to imagine Murata’s ring IQ having diminished over years. Coupled with the fact that Murata is getting the chance of a lifetime against Golovkin, in his Japanese homeland, no less, and it’s understandable why Golovkin isn’t simply blowing off his next opponent. Too many others have done just that and have suffered the consequences of their lack of professional respect.
Even though Golovkin hasn’t fought in over a year while Murata hasn’t fought in over two years, its safe to assume each man is working to assure ring rust won’t be an issue. There’s a lot riding on this fight, after all. It’s not an understatement to say the future of both guy’s careers will be greatly mapped out by what transpires in the ring on April 9th in Japan. Should Murata emerge victorious in defending his title, there’s little doubt the fighter will become the toast of boxing. Of course, should Golovkin win, there’s the very real possibility of that third Canelo fight…provided Canelo bests the considerable challenge that is Dmitry Bivol later this spring.
Sometimes, uncertainty can actually make the fight game more exciting. This is one of those times.