By Shaun Brown
With the middleweight division about to come to life in the weeks ahead former world title challenger Martin Murray 24-0-1 (10) appears to be in limbo. After defying expectations and gaining a draw against WBA champion Felix Sturm last December the St. Helens native was expecting doors to be blasted open with opportunities landing at his feet. A mooted fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fell through due to visa issues leaving Murray fighting Frenchman Karim Achour for his first outing this year over ten rounds back in June.
“I got myself in terrific condition, but the opponent didn’t do it for me, so I didn’t give the performance I’m capable of,” said Murray when speaking to BoxingScene. “To be honest in my next fight I’d like to come back and top a bill – it’s the least I deserve.”
Along with fierce rival Matthew Macklin, the 29-year-old was linked to fighting Gennady Golovkin next month on HBO. As Macklin told BoxingScene recently, he would only be interested in the fight if he got a full training camp for such a bout. Taking it at such short notice was not an option. Murray for once agreed with his compatriot.
“Golovkin’s one of the best in the world so you’ve gotta have a full camp for him,” he said. “We were in talks to take the fight but the date wasn’t going to get rescheduled so that’s about it for me at the moment.”
As honest as the day is long, Murray didn’t hold back when discussing where his career stands at present. He said: “I won’t tell a lie, I am pissed off. I’ve fought for a world title then I went back to a ten rounder. I feel like I’m back down the pecking order, it seems like I’m going backwards. Why is that? It’s no fault of mine.”
Murray’s options are thin on the ground. The champions and most of the contenders are out of commission. When I asked about the possibility of him fighting either Andy Lee or Craig McEwan this was his answer.
“You know me – I’d go anywhere and fight anybody. All the guys in my division are fighting in September so where does that leave me? As for Lee and McEwan of course I’d take the fights, but are they right for me and my family? I don’t want to be making pennies. I should be topping bills now.”
Last resort seems to be a fight with current Commonwealth champion Billy Joe Saunders for the British title, which has been put out to purse bids by the British Boxing Board of Control with the contest having to take place by the end of October. It’s not the fight that Murray is chasing but he is fast running out of opponents.
“To be honest, I do not want to take that step back but yeah I’d take the fight. He’s a fighter, he’d take the fight but it’s come too soon for him, its trouble for him and it’d be a bad, bad loss for him,” vowed Murray.
“I’ve got a great manager looking after me and we will make it and become world champion. If there are people up there looking after me then it will happen. Whatever is going on right now is only going to make me work even harder.”