Photo: Action Images
GENNADY GOLOVKIN arrived in a wet and cold London to promote his Monte Carlo February 21 showdown with Martin Murray in a typically polite mood.
“I am very happy I have this big fight with Martin Murray,” he said at the press conference metres away from Piccadilly Circus. “I respect him, he’s a great champion and a great fighter.”
A prior knowledge of boxing is essential if one is to recognise the monster that lurks within Golovkin. Smiley, fresh faced, and almost overly polite, this suited and booted version of the Kazakh is a far cry from the brutal ‘GGG’.
“He is very strong,” Golovkin, 31-0 (28), continued about Murray. “Right now he is the best opponent for me. He will give me my toughest fight. He is a big challenge.”
Unlike the trash-talking we’ve seen at other press conferences lately, the WBA middleweight champion refused to be drawn on a prediction for the fight, or even a forecast that he would win. Although the language barrier may have diluted his spite somewhat.
“I have seen all of Murray’s fights and he is very strong. Who will win? I don’t know.”
The St Helens fighter – who is entering his third shot at a world title following controversial failures against Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez – reciprocated the favourite’s demeanour. Full of respect, he admitted the task ahead was a big one, but he did reveal he expects to post the upset.
“I’ve got no fears,” he said. “We all know he’s a big hitter and I’ve never fought power like it before. But I deal with things and I will find a way to win.”
Murray has just started a 12-week camp for the Salle des etoiles showdown – two weeks longer than his previous camp – and insists he has been confident he has the beating of Golovkin for a while.
“The guys he’s beaten before in a few rounds went in there [already] half beat,” said the 32-year-old. “Whereas I’m ready, I’m confident I’m going to win. He is a great fighter and he possesses excellent power but I’ve got no fears.”
Rodney Berman’s Golden Gloves promote the fight at the swanky Monaco venue. Tickets – limited to the small capacity of around 1,000 to keep the event ‘up market’ – have almost sold out but British fight fans will get to see the fight on terrestrial platform, Channel 5.
“I’m proud to be involved,” said Mick Hennessy, who will work in association with Berman, and has worked closely with Channel 5 in recent years. “For me they are the two top middleweights in the world.
“Casual sports fans rarely get to see fights of this calibre on free-to-air television; normally they’re on subscription or pay-per-view.
“I think this will do big numbers. The biggest was the first [Tyson] Fury vs [Dereck] Chisora fight and that did 3.2 million. After that was [Carl] Froch-[Jean] Pascal with 2.9 million. I’d love for this to do 4 million.”
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