St. Helens middleweight Martin Murray knows victory on Saturday night (October 25) against Italian Domencio Spada could set him up for a February date with WBA world middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.
He is reminded of this in every interview and conversation and will be reminded further when the fearsome Golovkin takes his seat at ringside in Monte Carlo and watches Murray and Spada do battle for the WBC Silver middleweight title.
“It’s been a motivation thing for me,” said Murray, 28-1-1 (12 KOs). “People talk about Golovkin and you’ve got to answer questions about it, but the more people I get asking me about it, the more I get motivated to do a proper job on Spada this Saturday night.
“I knew I had a world title shot against Sergio Martinez back in 2013, but I still had to go out there and beat Jorge Navarro to get it. It’s the same tomorrow. If I don’t beat Spada, there’s no world title fight.
“For that reason, I’m completely focused on Spada and am not thinking about Golovkin one bit. In fact, I didn’t even watch his fight against Marco Antonio Rubio at the weekend. I just completely ignored it. Instead, I stuck on a DVD of Spada that morning to keep me focused.
“I want the Golovkin fight and it’s one I’ve always wanted. It’s one I look forward to. But, in order to get the fight I want, I have to beat Spada on Saturday night.”
Since losing a contentious decision in Argentina to then WBC world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, Murray has gone from strength to strength, beating the likes of Max Bursak and Sergey Khomitsky in distance fights and picking up the WBC Silver title.
Spada, his first challenger, hails from Roma and is a former WBC International champion and European title challenger. Now 34, Spada, 39-5 (19 KOs), remains robust and durable at a world-class level.
“He’s experienced,” said Murray. “His style is horrible and awkward but it works for him. You look at videos of him and think he looks very beatable. He looks like he’s got nothing about him. But then you look at his record and look at the people he has fought and beat and you start to realise that he makes his style work for him.
“He’s got a good record. He pushed Darren Barker close and then Darren went on to win a world middleweight title.
“His style isn’t the prettiest and he can be quite dirty at times, but that’s not to say he isn’t dangerous. If you overlook someone like Spada, he’ll make you regret it.”
The 32-year-old continued: “I think he’s going to come out fast. He’s smaller than me in height and in build and he’ll probably look to get inside on me early. I’m expecting him to start fast and look to work me over with big shots. He’ll try to rough me up. He’ll be physical.
“But we’ve worked on picking clean shots as he’s coming in – working shots around the sides and bringing them up through the middle. I’ll be landing on him whenever he opens up and slowing him down. I want to control the first half of the fight and then completely take over in the second. I want to get the stoppage if I can.
“First and foremost, though, I have to just get the job done. I need to go in there and execute the game plan. But, of course, we’ve been working on finishing shots and I’m looking to take him out when the opportunity comes. I want to go in there and make a statement.”
Murray’s scheduled 12-rounder with Spada will be televised on Channel 5 this Saturday night (October 25) alongside the vacant IBF world bantamweight title fight between Darlington’s Stuart Hall and the unbeaten American Randy Caballero.
The action gets underway at 8.30pm and continues right on through to 11pm, meaning fight fans will be treated to some two-and-a-half hours of world-class boxing. Murray couldn’t be happier.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable to be fighting on Channel 5,” he said. “It’s brilliant for me and my team and it’s brilliant for everyone at home. I get some great exposure out of it and all my friends and family at home can watch me on terrestrial television. That’s priceless for a boxer.
“Since the Felix Sturm fight (in December 2011), I’ve suffered from inactivity and have been in the shadows a little bit. My profile then dipped after the Martinez fight and not a lot of people have been able to see me fight recently. This changes everything, though. It feels like everything I had to put up with in the past has now been worth it.”