Boxing’s fastest rising star returns to the ring on Saturday night to further his claim as the sport’s most devastating puncher in the sport today. Gennady Golovkin, the unified middleweight boxing champion of the world, defends his belts against the current WBC Silver middleweight boxing king Martin Murray at Salle Des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on Saturday night.

Freight Train

After winning the 2013 Boxer of the Year award, Golovkin was looking for a date against the bigger named fighters of his division. But instead of getting the big fights, Golovkin spent his 2014 fighting B-class challengers Osumanu Adana, Daniel Geale and Marco Antonio Rubio because the top dogs of the division avoided him like a plague. But one can’t blame the other middleweight stars for ducking this hard-hitting Kazakh.

Golovkin’s rise to boxing superstardom stems from the power of his hands. The 32-year old former Olympic Silver medalist from the 2004 Olympic Games owns the highest knockout rate in middleweight boxing history at 90%. Golovkin’s dropped 28 of his 31 opponents and has won 18 straight fights by knockout. On the other hand, Golovkin’s never been knocked down in a total of 375 combined professional and amateur fights.

Battle Tested Challenger

Martin Murray is not the big star that Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez are. But unlike both superstars, Murray willingly took the opportunity to fight Golovkin even if the odds were stacked against him. The St. Helen’s, England native may be a huge 10-1 underdog in this fight but Murray is still the toughest challenge ever for Golovkin.

Murray’s a battle tested challenger, having fought twice for the world title but losing on both tries. Murray first fought for the gold in 2011 when he challenged German Felix Sturm in Germany. Unfortunately, Murray could only salvage a draw against the champion. In April of 2014, he traveled all the way to Argentina to challenge then champion Sergio Martinez in his hometown. But despite knocking down Maravilla in round eight, Murray lost via a close and highly contested unanimous decision.

Opposite Styles

While both boxers have very extensive amateur backgrounds, they have very opposite boxing styles. Despite Murray’s criminal past, he is not a brutal ring warrior. His 41% knockout rate shows that he is a patient disciple of the sweet science. Murray is a “defense first” fighter who prefers a tactical approach in beating his opponents. He’s got good hand speed and he transitions well from defense to offense. His best weapon is his left hook which he sets up with educated jabs. Murray’s style has worked against his previous opponents, but it may not be enough to topple the King of K.O.’s.

Against Golovkin, there are no breathers. Golovkin is a unique animal who likes to pressure his opponents and chase them around the ring all-fight long. He is a diligent hunter who invests on weakening his opponents’ legs with powerful body shots.  Against Murray, he is fighting a taller opponent and has to get past Murray’s jab to land his killer blows. But Murray doesn’t look like he has enough ammunition to weather a tornado like Golovkin. He’s got to be more aggressive and force the issue on Golovkin, which in most probability he won’t be able to do.

That’s the reason why Gennady’s a -3500 favorite over Murray who is a +1200 underdog. The forecast here is a stoppage by Golovkin in the first half of the fight as under 7.5 rounds is a -160 while over 7.5 rounds is a +115. When the night is over, Golovkin is expected to add Murray to his list of conquests and move forward in his trail of destruction.

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