|Where||Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan|
|When||Saturday, April 9, 8am ET|
A daytime DAZN show this Saturday heads to Saitama, Japan, for a middleweight title unification between a future Hall-of-Famer and a local favorite.
Gennadiy Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs), the IBF champion, returns to the ring for the first time since December 2020 to embark on what would appear to be one of the final chapters of his glittering career.
Celebrating his 40th birthday the day before this fight, Golovkin has little left to prove but, with the incentive of a third meeting with his nemesis, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, planned for later in the year, this weekend’s contest represents both a final hurdle to a fight that will help define his legacy as well as being a highly-significant matchup in its own right at 160lb.
In his way stands Ryota Murata (16-2, 13 KOs), the man currently in possession of the WBA’s ‘Super’ belt. At 36 years old, Murata is no spring chicken himself, but has far fewer miles on the clock, having only turned over to the paid ranks after winning Olympic gold for his native Japan at the 2012 London Games. By way of comparison, at the time of Murata’s professional debut in August 2013, Golovkin was 26 fights into his own career and fighting for versions of world titles.
There was once a time when an opponent like Murata would have been thought a relatively pedestrian challenge for Golovkin, but timing is often everything in boxing. While the affectionately-nicknamed ‘Triple G’ looked sharp last time out, it is reasonable to posit that, at some point soon, any in-ring performance could be liable to a sudden and sharp decline, and few men have ever maintained their skill set into middle age.
It’s for this reason that Golovkin, although still the layers’ firm fancy, has been chalked up at just -450, which represents an 82% implied probability. That kind of quote has rarely ever been seen on the Kazakh in recent years, with only the aforementioned Alvarez (Golovkin in the region of -170 to -200 in both fights) and Sergiy Derevyanchenko (Golovkin -400) being deemed worthy of slapping anything other than landslide odds on the favorite.
Murata, though, should provide a stiff test, and at +450 (18% implied win chance) will attract his share of support from backers on Saturday. That he is fighting at home is - perhaps curiously in boxing - not as much of an advantage as it might usually be, with Japan lacking the same kind of dubious judging record seen in other jurisdictions of late. With two losses in his first five years as a pro, casual bettors would be forgiven for thinking this is a highly limited fighter, but Murata’s career arc has been relatively steep, and both losses (Hassan N’Dam and Rob Brant) were decisively avenged with knockouts at the very next opportunity.
That Murata’s pair of losses both came by way of the scorecards could provide a route to an alternate bet in the Method of Victory market. +175 that the fight goes the distance (36%) may hold appeal for those looking for an angle at plus-money, but with a formidable 36 KOs in 41 wins (88%), Golovkin has long been renowned as one of the sport’s finest punchers, and the fact that this is a sizeable step-up in class for Murata - barring any marked age-related deterioration of his opponent - should not be overlooked. The -138 on Golovkin notching stoppage #37 suggests just a 58% likelihood and, considering his record, that looks a touch generous.
GGG vs Murata free pick
Gennadiy Golovkin by KO/TKO/DQ (-138)
The main event in Japan kicks off after a stacked undercard. Heres the confirmed running order so far:
Gennadiy Golovkin vs Ryota Murata
Shuichiro Yoshino vs Masayuki Ito
Junto Nakatani vs Ryota Yamauchi
Kazuki Anaguchi vs Ryuji Yamamoto
Hiroka Amaki vs Taiga Kato
You can find a GGG fight stream on DAZN. The card will be shown live in 200 countries through the provider. Using DAZN, the GGG's next fight can be streamed on smartphones, laptops, Playstation, Xbox and Amazon Fire Sticks.