By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
JOHN MURRAY is hoping to get the go-ahead to resume boxing after admitting he has had “a big fall from grace”.
A year ago, Murray was top-of-the bill at Madison Square Garden – but recently he has been working as a labourer.
His 13-hour day routine helping to tarmac roads is a far cry from his challenge to WBA lightweight champ Brandon Rios last December.
He is believed to have earned around £75,000 for that fight in New York where he lost a closely-fought encounter in the 11th round.
He was due to face Gavin Rees earlier this month, but the fight was scrapped because of a medical problem which Murray insists is non-boxing related.
To make ends meet, he has been labouring to avoid any spiralling debts ahead of a British Boxing Board of Control medical today.
Mancunian Murray, a former British and European champion, said: “The money goes quicker than you think. This is a big fall from grace and a reality check. While you’re a boxer you think it will never end.
“Every now and then I will get a boxing fan come up to me and think I am a millionaire because I am on TV.
“I would be out in the boozer getting everyone a round. After a fight you feel like a millionaire, but down the line it’s not there and no one is getting me a pint.
“Sometimes you get carried away thinking it is going to last forever, but I’m 27 and having to graft on the roads is a reality check.
“On the positive side it has given me that motivation to start boxing a bit more clever with my money and not be stupid providing I get my licence back.”
Murray is confident of getting back into the ring soon and said: “I would much rather be getting punched in the head than working on the roads where I was getting up at 5.30am and not getting home until 6.30pm. It was hard graft and six days a week.
“I don’t mind putting in hard graft, but it was a lot different to gym work which is short, explosive stuff.
“This was a slow grind on the body in the freezing cold with the rain pouring down.
“I was joking with everyone that a year ago I was topping the bill at Madison Square Garden and now I’m labouring on the roads grafting my a*** off!