So here we are – the first trailblazing weekend of 2015 is virtually upon us.
Two Brits, two separate world-title challenges – buckle up as they are about to get busy!
I did debate putting two separate posts out for each review, but in such a saturated environment I decided to amalgamate two-into-one.
Arthur Abraham v Paul Smith Jr – 2 – WBO Super-Middle Title
The wide points victory of “King Arthur” last time round was outrageous.
One of the judges had it 11-1 to Abraham, the other two had it 9-3 which left everyone – myself included flabbergasted.
It was a very close fight, I had it 114-114 a draw and did anticipate the Real Gone Kid to lose on points – with the judges leaning towards the home-fighter.
Hats off to Abraham, he agreed to the rematch – which he didn’t have to do, and on Sunday morning will it be a decision he will live rue?
Smith (35-4: 20KO’s) is buoyant and in a confident mood at his chances:
“He’s saying that I won’t hear the final bell and I’m banking on it myself if I’m honest with you. I don’t want to hear the final bell. I believe I can get him out of there. Smith told SkySports.
“I think he’s old and showing his age and I believe I’ve learnt a hell of a lot from the last fight. There is a lot more I can do from the last fight which I’ve learnt from and I’ve picked up on.
“I’ll be surprised if he’s even watched the last fight. He’s a three-time world champion – it’s not something that he will worry about.
“It’s alright him saying he’s going to knock me out. He said it the last time. He couldn’t do it last time and he won’t do it this time.”
Can Smigga knock-out the German? I would have to say it’s unlikely as the 34 yr old champion has only been stopped once before – by Robert Stieglitz back on 2013.
How can and in my opinion will he win?
The 32 yr old Liverpudlian needs to out-work and out-hustle the champion. In stages in the first fight, Smith looked like a seasoned title-challenger. The way he took the centre of the ring, was aggressive and applied pressure left me very impressed.
It’s surreal looking back that it was in fact his first world-title shot.
It won’t be an easy nights work for Paul – he will need to be switched on through-out but he can and I genuinely believe will emerge victorious. With Joe Gallagher in his corner, you have confidence that the game-plan devised will be meticulous and leave no-stone-unturned.
Verdict: Smith points victory by 2 rounds.
Gennady Golovkin v Martin Murray – WBA Super, Interim WBC Silver Middleweight titles
It has been well documented that this is Good Boy’s toughest test to date.
32 yr old Murray (29-1-1: 12 KO’s) is a former two-time world title challenger – drawing with Felix Sturm and losing controversially to Sergio Martinez (who he floored) in Argentina on points.
In both contests there is a valid argument that Murray “beat” both men.
The St Helens native is a legitimate top ten 160lb contender and one who Golovkin (31-0: 28 KO’s) won’t take lightly.
Whilst Murray is naturally the bigger man – he is a huge Middleweight, I do feel that his style is tailor-made for GGG.
Murray technically won’t be able to out-box nor display crisp movement to evade Golovkin’s bombs when unleashed – so he has to meet him in the centre of the ring and fight fire with fire.
I would love to see Murray put Good Boy under immediate duress when the bell sounds, the element of surprise could be absolutely crucial. The danger naturally of doing that to such a ferocious boxer-puncher is the fight could be over within two rounds. The shoot-out approach will win him plenty of plaudits, even in the expected event that he gets stopped.
Plan B for Murray which is less risky – would be to physically impose himself on GGG, make his size count. Perhaps tie the champion up in the clinch, lots of leaning – try to sap the life out of him – which effectively is survival mode!
Whilst I admire Murray’s lack of fear towards Golovkin, it’s very difficult to not see another brutal KO for the champion.
Verdict: Golovkin 5th-6th round KO.