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Happy 40th to GGG who May Not Be So Happy on Saturday Night

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  • Happy 40th to GGG who May Not Be So Happy on Saturday Night

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    By Arne K. Lang

    Gennadiy Golovkin turns 40 on Friday. The following day he returns to the ring in Saitama, Japan, to oppose Ryota Murata. Two pieces of the world middleweight title will be at stake.

    The prizefighter commonly referenced as GGG or Triple-G was still in his twenties when he captured his first world title with a 58-second wipeout of Milton Nunez in Panama City. In hindsight that was no great achievement. Nunez, a Columbian, was propped up by the WBA. Since his brief encounter with Triple G, he’s 16-27 and has been stopped 21 times. But while no great achievement, it was certainly no fluke. In the ensuing years, Triple G would stamp himself as one of the most fearsome punchers of all time.

    During one run, he scored 23 consecutive wins inside the distance, all but the first five coming in matches certified as world title fights. His 21 world title defenses broke the record for the middleweight division established by Bernard Hopkins.

    GGG’s two matches with Canelo Alvarez were blockbusters, both commercially and artistically. Their first match on Sept. 16, 2017, ended in a draw. Most observers thought that Golovkin, who forced the action, deserved the nod. Their second encounter in September of the following year very nearly ended in another draw, but the verdict favoring Canelo was generally deemed to be fair.

    Three-and-a-half years have elapsed since GGG-Canelo II. In the ensuing months, the LA-based Kazakh warrior acquired a new trainer, replacing Abel Sanchez with Johnathon Banks, and added three more wins to his record, advancing his ledger to 41-1-1 (36 KOs). He looked as good as new against overmatched opponents Steve Rolls (KO 4) and Kamil Szeremeta (TKO 7), but the middle fight with rugged Sergey Derevyanchenko was a grueling affair in which GGG was pushed to the limit.

    Pundits were seeing signs of skill erosion in GGG even before his encounters with Canelo. On March 15, 2017, he knocked Daniel Jacobs down in the fourth round but couldn’t finish him. Jacobs rallied and nearly pulled the fight out of the fire.

    Frank Lotierzo, who has a very respected opinion, saw signs of erosion in GGG in his first fight with Canelo Alvarez, notwithstanding the fact that – scoring off the TV – Lotierzo had Golovkin winning eight of the 12 rounds.

    Bernard Hopkins, as we all know, continued to dominate the middleweight division long after reaching the age of 40. But it’s worth noting that Hopkins didn’t have much of an amateur background; all of his amateur fights were in prison. By contrast, GGG, a 2004 Olympic silver medalist, reportedly had nearly 400 amateur fights.


    Ryota Murata, an Olympic gold medalist in 2012, is no spring chicken. He’s 36 years old. But with only 18 pro fights under his belt, Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) has far fewer miles on his odometer.

    Murata’s first loss came at the hands of French-Cameroonian veteran Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. It was one of those rare instances where the local man got hosed. The split decision that went against him was so outrageous that the two WBA judges that favored Hassan were slapped with 6-month suspensions.

    The match was sanctioned for the vacant WBA world middleweight title. Murata came up empty, but rectified the wrong in the rematch, forcing Hassan to quit on his stool after seven rounds.

    Murata had the title taken from him by Rob Brant who decisively out-pointed him in Las Vegas. But once again, Murata rose to the occasion in a rematch, reclaiming the title with a career-best performance, stopping Brant in the second round. He successfully defended the belt with a fifth round TKO of Canada’s Steven Butler.

    Ryota Murata is promoted by 74-year-old Akihiko Honda, a 2009 inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Honda says that Murata is Japan’s most popular boxer ever. When he was robbed of the title by Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, it was a major news story that expanded his fan base many times over. It’s hard to envision a close fight going against him once again if contested on his home turf.

    The big question surrounding Murata – other than the obvious question of whether he can withstand GGG’s power – is whether he will carry too much ring rust. He hasn’t fought since fighting Steven Butler, missing all of 2020 and 2021 because of COVID restrictions. Saturday’s fight was originally scheduled for New Year’s Eve.

    The view from here, however, is that GGG is vulnerable; too far past his prime to perform like the GGG of old. Murata has no chance if he performs as he did against Rob Brant in their first fight – the unexceptional Brant made him look ordinary -- but the 6/1 odds favoring the Kazakh strike this reporter as far too high. The underdog is tugging.

    Note: Golovkin vs. Murata will be live-streamed on DAZN. Owing to the time difference, the fight will air at approximately 5 a.m. ET on Saturday.

  • #2
    I am in on Murata here. And since we finally have online sports betting here in NY (and they posted this fight which is something that did not happen for say Brook-Khan) I will be able to make a sizable wager on Murata. By sizable I mean a whole $25 at +400 (though I think that line will move down by fight time).

    Many years ago I wrote, probably too much, that Golovkin's constant squeezing down to 160 will eventually take a toll on his body. We have seen that in bits and pieces but I think this may be the fight where we may see the cracks get larger. Golovkin still has massive power and live to score a ko at anytime but I will be backing the underdog.

    And also throwing $25 on Shane Mosley Jr at +250.

    So either its $50 wasted or for one week I have a chance to get ahead of the curb on inflation.


    • #3
      First thanks for the write up, much appreciated as usual. Now about the fight 3G is fine and ready and has his most important parts on straight after the training camp that is His Head and His Heart. I do not have to bet money on a fighter never needed to. If I ever did I did not use it a a measuring stick of how I think of a fighter. So there is non of that in this fight with me. This fight is about two men who deserve to fight each other, will not dance, or pull back and loose there balls at any point. Yea it is a fight, and those that think 3G has lost something that we all do with age forget what it is that you gain with age.


      • #4
        Hey Arne thank for the info about air time.

        Watching live now waiting for GGG.

        Hoping for a big drama show in Japan.


        • #5
          Nice fight so far.

          I have it 3-2-1 Golovkin after six.