Good boy Gennady Golovkin’s next big drama show is penciled in for Feb. 21 on HBO in Monte Carlo, where the middleweight titleholder and K2 Promotions managing director Tom Loeffler will be on Saturday. They will be ringside at the Salle des etoiles to watch GGG’s likely next opponent, British contender Martin Murray.
Murray (28-1-1, 12 KOs) takes on Domenico Spada (39-5, 19 KOs) in the 12-round main event -- ESPN3 will stream the full card beginning at 1 p.m. ET in English with Spanish-language coverage on ESPN Deportes joining the card in progress at 3 p.m. ET -- knowing a victory means a likely shot at Golovkin (31-0, 28 KOs).
Murray, who has won three fights in a row since knocking down then-champion Sergio Martinez and losing a very close decision in Martinez’s Argentina homecoming fight in April 2013, said he is using the prospect of the showdown with Golovkin as motivation against Spada rather than viewing all the talk as a distraction.
“It's been a motivation thing for me,” said Murray, who fought to a draw with Felix Sturm in Germany in a 2011 world title bout. “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 [Saturday]. 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 in a DVD of Spada that morning to keep me focused.”
Rubio won a vacant interim 160-pound title by knocking Spada out in the 10th round in April and Spada has won one fight since.
Golovkin destroyed Rubio in the second round to retain his title for the 12th time and record his 18th consecutive knockout on Oct. 18 at the sold-out StubHub Center in Carson, California. Golovkin-Murray makes sense for GGG’s February date because there is no big-name opponent willing to get into the ring with him yet. Also, Murray, because of his criminal past, has been unable to get a visa to fight in the United States, so with Golovkin fighting his next bout in Europe, it’s the ideal match.
“I want the Golovkin fight and it's one I've always wanted,” Murray said. “It's one I look forward to. But, in order to get the fight I want, I have to beat Spada on Saturday. He's experienced. 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 realize 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.”
Also on the card:
• Bantamweight contender Randy Caballero (21-0, 13 KOs) of Coachella, California, faces England’s Stuart Hall (16-3-2, 7 KOs) for a vacant world title.
• Strawweight titlist Hekkie Budler (26-1, 9 KOs) of South Africa will make his second defense against former world titleholder Xiong Zhao Zhong (24-5-1, 14 KOs) of China.
• Light heavyweight prospect Eleider Alvarez (15-0, 8 KOs), a Colombia native living in Montreal, will square off with South Africa’s Ryno Liebenberg (16-0, 11 KOs) in a 12-round bout.
• British middleweight Nick Blackwell (15-3, 6 KOs) will face Belarus’ Sergey Khomitsky (29-11-2, 12 KO) in a six-rounder.