By Shaun Brown
Ahead of Martin Murray’s WBC Silver middleweight title bout against Max Bursak this Saturday in Monte Carlo, and live on Boxnation, BoxingScene.com caught up with '80s and '90s cult British boxing star Herol Graham 48-6 (28). The former three-time world title challenger spoke to ‘Scene about some of the current movers and shakers at 160lbs in the UK.
Graham, who turns 54 this year, enjoyed a memorable 20 year professional career that began in Sheffield and ended in Atlantic City. And ‘The Bomber’ who won professional titles at light middleweight, middleweight and had one unsuccessful attempt at super middleweight, his last ever professional contest, insists that Murray can lead from the front and become a world champion at the third time of asking at some point in the near future.
“He’s got everything,” said Graham of the St. Helens man.
“As long as he does it the way he wants to do it then yeah I expect him to be there winning at some point. He could change a few little things but the footwork’s there, the brain’s there, the punching’s there… he’s just got to be in the right place at the right time.”
If Murray was to win one of the four world titles currently held by Gennady Golovkin (WBA), Miguel Cotto (WBC), Peter Quillin (WBO) and Sam Soliman (IBF) then a rabid pack of British bulldogs would be soon snapping at his heels in an attempt to recreate some of the great British middleweight nights of 20-25 years ago. And one who is polarising opinion with each passing fight is the unbeaten Chris Eubank Jr. The 24-year-old’s last win against Stepan Horvath (TKO6) was a mix of the bizarre and spiteful.
“I’ve sparred with him,” revealed Graham who then went on to give an indication as to how one should beat one of the sport’s braggadocios.
“If you get a guy like myself again who is moving around and taking the rounds then that’s how you’ll beat him. There’s people like that around. Everybody’s beatable it’s just how you go out and set your stall. You have to have a plan and set them up. Feel around in the first round and pick it up from there. Keep jabbing and picking him off and as long as you don’t get hit like I did against Julian Jackson,” he laughed.
“Chris is a heavy handed puncher though. If you think you’re winning the fight then he can just as quickly take it away from you.”
One such man who is looking to end Eubank Jr’s brashness is fellow Londoner, Billy Joe Saunders. The current British middleweight champion, who challenges for the European version on Jul 26, hasn’t minced his words when it’s came to his domestic rival, and promoter Frank Warren has been making enough noise to suggest that the two could be settling their grudge in the future.
Graham wouldn’t be drawn on who would win that particular contest but told ‘Scene that the likes of Saunders and John Ryder have what it takes to go and become stars in their own right.
“There’s champions there in guys like that. They’ve got it in their own way. Remember anything can happen in championship boxing. It’s all about who lands the biggest shots but speed trumps power and some of them have the speed as well. It’s a matter of who punches first, uses their brain and clever. It’s about thinking, not just hitting.”
And on the back of a historic event for British boxing in Froch vs. Groves 2, Graham believes that the sport is returning to the good old days.
“It’s healthy. Don’t get me wrong not because I was in the era but the 80s was the best. Nothing’s beaten it yet. It’s coming stronger now. Not just because it was my day but everyone was around to fight. There’s some good money there to be earned now and it’s gonna happen in a big way.”
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