By Terence Dooley
Manchester was divided other the weekend as City mauled United 1-6 at Old Trafford. However in one section of the town recent difficulties were put to one side when John Murray rejoined trainer Joe Gallagher ahead of a make-or-break clash with WBA lightweight champion Brandon Rios at Madison Square Garden on December 3rd after splitting briefly in the wake of Murray’s eighth-round reverse to Kevin Mitchell in July.
Murray and Gallagher thrashed over the issues that had led to their divide, with John and Joe deciding that they were much better together than apart and opting to revive a relationship that took Murray to 31-0 (18) plus English, British and European honours prior to the Mitchell loss.
Joe was disappointed that his former charge had notified him by text when initially severing ties; John expressed unhappiness over the way he was trained for his meeting with Mitchell; the two are now moving forward rather than looking back, with their sights firmly set on ‘Bam Bam’.
“I ran with the lads on Sunday and have been back there this week getting used to the new gym and set-up. We worked together for so many years – it was easy to get back into the old groove and crack on with it,” said Murray to BoxingScene.com as he outlined the reasons behind the reunion.
“I think it is the right move. I thought about it and felt it was the right decision because Joe knows me better than anyone else boxing-wise and we’ve had eight-and-a-half-years together in the pros. I realised after going back and training with Joe again that it was the right move. We know each other inside and out so it is good to be back together.
“We’ve been watching tapes, coming up with strategy and are getting the right sparring partners in. Joe is really thorough in the way he goes about things. When I’m resting between training sessions I know that Joe will be looking at Rios. Joe watches tapes, studies opponents inside and out and I know Joe well enough to have confidence that he’ll go away, come up with the best tactics and help me win the fight.”
Breakups are common in boxing, make-ups less so, Murray admitted that it was easy to mend bridges due to their long and successful history.
“Everyone has falling outs, even people in relationships and marriages fall out but there comes a time where you sort things out and that was the case with me and Joe. We’ve cleared the air. We are both up for it. I’ve got a point to prove after losing last time out and so has Joe,” he declared.
“Joe wants to test himself against the best trainers to show he’s a world class trainer and I’m the same as a fighter. I want to go up against the best in the world to become a world champion. I fell really good. Training’s gone well. It (the prospect of a world title) gives me a bit of extra motivation to work hard in training.”
Briefly under the stewardship of Mike Marsden over in Leeds, Murray confided in Mike, who is also his manager, before making his decision. “Travelling to Leeds was a bit too far and Mike understands that. It would have been our first fight together and it is massive. I thought about it and got in touch with Joe,” reasoned Murray.
Rios holds an imposing 28-0-1 (21) record, is in the form of his life and is a confident champion. Murray, though, believes that there are chinks in the armour of 25-year-old whilst acknowledging that the Californian has some impressive tools in his arsenal.
“Rios throws the uppercut really well,” mused the 26-year-old. “I will tighten up for that, I’m normally quite tight with defending hooks so will have to watch for the uppercuts. Rios is not much of a boxer, he’s a slugger who wings away so I’m quite confident I can do it.”
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