More than most boxers, Gennadiy Golovkin has every reason to be concerned about the scoring of his upcoming fight.
The hard-hitting Golovkin was left with a dubious draw on his record the first time he fought Mexican icon Canelo Alvarez in a middleweight title fight 4½ years ago at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Alvarez also won their 12-round rematch by majority decision a year later at that same venue, though that result was far less controversial.
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) still doesn’t think he’ll have anything to worry about if his 12-round fight with Ryota Murata goes the distance Saturday night at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Tokyo’s Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) is very popular in his home country, yet Golovkin is certain he can beat the 2012 Olympic gold medalist on the scorecards.
“I honestly don’t think I have any concerns,” Golovkin told BoxingScene.com. “And no matter what the decision would be, it would not teach me anything new, I would say. I don’t have my mind set on that. I wouldn’t say it concerns me.”
Three American judges – Connecticut’s Glenn Feldman, Nevada’s Robert Hoyle and Florida’s Alex Levin – have been assigned to judge their 12-round fight for Golovkin’s IBF and Murata’s WBA “super” middleweight titles. While almost all of the fans in attendance will cheer for Murata, Golovkin has history on his side.
Underdog Hassan N’Dam defeated Murata by split decision in their 12-round fight for the then-vacant WBA world middleweight title in May 2017 at Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo. Murata came back from that upset loss five months later to stop France’s N’Dam following the seventh round of their immediate rematch in October 2017 at Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo.
The 40-year-old Golovkin, who is consistently listed as at least a 5-1 favorite, will fight outside of the United States for the first time since he stopped England’s Kell Brook in the fifth round of their September 2016 bout at O2 Arena in London.
“This is our sport of boxing,” Golovkin said. “I personally know my opponent. I know the promoters. And I’m looking forward to the great job that they’re going to do. But, of course, [fighting in Murata’s home country] motivates me. I realize that it’s going to be a hard fight and it’s going to be an exciting event. I’ll be in their land and it is a source of additional motivation for me, indeed.”
DAZN will stream Golovkin-Murata in the United States.
Its coverage of the Golovkin-Murata undercard is set to start at 5:10 a.m. ET and 2:10 a.m. PT. Golovkin-Murata is expected to begin at approximately 8 a.m. ET and 5 a.m. PT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.