By Keith Idec
CARSON, California – If Gennady Golovkin fights an opponent other than Canelo Alvarez next, his most profitable option probably would require a transpacific trip.
Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter, and Bob Arum, Ryota Murata’s co-promoter, have discussed the possibility of Golovkin traveling to Japan to meet Murata in what would be a huge fight in Murata’s homeland.
Murata is immensely popular in Japan and could help Golovkin earn more than he would make for fights against either of his two undefeated mandatory challengers – Ukraine’s Sergiy Derevyanchenko (IBF) and Houston’s Jermall Charlo (WBC) – a rematch with Daniel Jacobs or even a middleweight title unification fight versus WBO champ Billy Joe Saunders.
The 32-year-old Murata (14-1, 11 KOs), a gold medalist at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, also owns the WBA world middleweight title. The WBA recognizes Golovkin as its true, “super” champion at 160 pounds.
“I think there’s a lot of opportunities for Gennady,” Loeffler said after Golovkin knocked out Vanes Martirosyan in the second round late Saturday night at StubHub Center. “You know, Murata’s really one of those guys who’s really blazing a trail, selling out arenas in Japan, getting tremendous ratings on television in Japan. He’s the WBA mandatory and that would be a tremendous fight as well.”
Arum told BoxingScene.com last month that a Golovkin-Murata match could sell out the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome, where James “Buster” Douglas recorded his legendary upset of Mike Tyson in February 1990 (https://www.boxingscene.com/arum-believes-golovkin-vs-murata-draws-60000-tokyo-dome--127272).
While the Murata matchup would be an attractive alternative, Loeffler conceded that rescheduling the rematch between Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs) and Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) is what Golovkin wants most in the aftermath of Alvarez’s performance-enhancing drug scandal.
Loeffler plans to speak soon with Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez regarding rescheduling a second bout between Golovkin and Alvarez, whose six-month suspension caused him to withdraw from their rematch April 3. They were supposed to fight Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where they battled to a controversial draw September 16.
Golovkin instead demolished Martirosyan (36-4-1, 21 KOs) in the second round.
“I think there’s a lot of different options,” Loeffler said. “As Gennady said, the biggest fight is with Canelo. But now it seems like the middleweight division has opened up and it actually seems like these guys wanna fight Triple-G. You know, before they would scatter for the hills.”
Murata, meanwhile, could be headed toward a title defense against Esquiva Falcao (20-0, 14 KOs) if he can’t lure Golovkin over to Japan for his next fight. Murata barely beat Brazil’s Falcao, 14-13, in the middleweight gold-medal match 5½ years ago in London.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.