Martin Murray was considered by many to be an uncrowned world champion when he entered the ring in Monte Carlo, Monaco and for good reason. His only defeat had been a somewhat controversial decision to lineal, Ring and WBC world middleweight champion, Sergio Martinez, in 2013 in Argentina. In that fight the Brit put Martinez down in the eighth and what looked like another knockdown in the penultimate round was ruled a slip. Two years before that he went to Germany to challenge the WBA champion, Felix Sturm and had to settle for a draw.
The problem was that he was up against the boogeyman of the division, defending WBA, WBC interim and IBO champion, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. The “Kazakh KO King” was riding an 18-fight knockout streak and no one was standing in line to fight him. Things looked bleak for the Brit in his third title challenge.
Rodney Berman explains the promotional significance of the fight for Golden Gloves: “From all the international fighters we promoted, Golovkin was definitely the most exciting and the biggest crowd puller. Martin Murray was considered one of the best middleweights and for a South African promoter to be able to put on a fight of that magnitude that attracted every television station in the world was special. It was probably the biggest fight we ever put on, even bigger than Lewis-Rahman because those two were considered the two best middleweights in the world.”
Murray did his best but like every other middleweight at the time, he was just not able to best Golovkin. He did manage to make a statement in defeat though. He went down twice in the fourth round from rights to the body but hung in there and fought back as best he could. He was all heart but eventually the heavy handed “GGG” got to him as well. After going down in the tenth from two chopping rights to the head, referee Luis Pabon eventually decided that Murray had taken enough and stopped the fight in the eleventh round.
Martin Murray could console himself with the fact that he took Golovkin further than any other fighter at the time. “He is too tough for his own good and a super human being. He gives a lot back to the community as well. We are still close,” says Berman.
He continued his career at super middleweight and after three wins, challenged Arthur Abraham for the WBO title in Germany at the end of the same year. He was once again at the wrong end of a split decision
He is still active at the age of 37, having scored decent wins since over undefeated Nuhu Lawal, as well as Roberto Garcia and Gabriel Rosado but losing decisions to future world champion, George Groves and former champion, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. He scored two wins in 2019 bringing his record to 39-5-1, Gennady Golovkin remaining the only man to beat him inside the distance.
Golovkin continued his ascent, bringing his knockout streak to 23 while collecting the IBF belt as well. He was taken the distance for the first time since 2008 when he had to settle for a decision win over Daniel Jacobs in 2017 and then retained his titles with a controversial draw against Canelo Alvarez, in a great fight that most ringsiders had him winning. He would lose his titles in a close majority decision to Alvarez in a 2018 rematch but has since regained the IBF version, as well as the IBO belt, by outfighting Sergiy Derevyanchenko in last fight in November of 2019, winning a close decision in another great fight.