Martin Murray “won” himself an “opportunity” to fight Gennady Golovkin in February in Monte Carlo, when he stopped out Domenico Spada in a scrap which unfolded in Monte Carlo on Saturday.
The Italian underdog had his moments, but the fight turned in the third, when a clash of heads opened a gash over the loser’s right eye. During the seventh, at 1:40 remaining, the ref had the doc look at the slice, and the doc said no mas. On surface, the wound didn’t look like anything warranting a stoppage, not once it got wiped down and perhaps attended to with coagulant, but we don’t know if Spada was having trouble seeing.
The WBC silver 160 crown was up for grabs, for the record. The victor had secured that strap in his last outing, a win over Max Bursak, in June.
As I watch the 32-year-old Murray, a guy who has lost two previous title tries, against Sergio Martinez (2013) and Felix Sturm (2011), I admit, I see holes in his game in which Triple G will ram his assaultive fists into. He leans forward on his front leg, puts that noggin on a platter, and I picture the left hook which discombobulated Golovkin’s last foe, Marco Antonio Rubio, a couple weeks back, disconnecting synapses.
He was able to keep a useful distance between him and Spada, using a lengthy jab to keep space. Against GGG? Best of luck….Spada is a class or so over the right weight, a shortish test, and Golovkins’…isn’t.
Murray had luck with a snappy right hand, behind a jab and even leading. His movement is good enough to get him out of perceived harm’s way vs. Spada, but Golovkin is harm’s way personified, in this time zone of our sport. Those wide hooks with both hands that landed on Spada (39-6; age 34; lost to Rubio KO10 in April)….yeah…not the right weapons to use versus Golovkin, who is so nasty in tight, so composed and focused in that tight space, that he will time the pooping throws, and make Murray pay…brutishly. When Murray comes up from underneath to deliver a launch, Golovkin sees it, times it, and gets his over-the-top throw there first. Murray puts his punches together pretty good, but what works against B- guys, you can throw that out the window against an A guy.
Golovkins’ promoter Snarlin Tom Loeffler shows proper respect for the Brit, who rose to 29-1-1, with just 12 KOs to his credit. “This was a good win for Murray,” the promoter told me, “and now it will be the two top middleweights fighting each other in February in Monaco.”
In short, what worked against Spada, against Golovkin, won’t. Triple G is in a zone, a new zone, which he entered into before the win over Daniel Geale, he has stepped up, in his confidence and strength and smarts, and now there isn’t even a “puncher’s chance” he loses to any but the upmost echelon. That said,