By Thomas Lyons
It often goes as an old cliche in boxing that it’s last chance saloon when a fighter comes to the back end of their career, irrespective of what they have and haven’t achieved. This notion is no different for multiple world title challenger Martin Murray who gets arguably his last opportunity to fight for a version of the world title against undefeated WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders at the O2 Arena on April 14.
Murray accepted his position in his exceptional career and eluded to the fact that a “desperate fighter is a dangerous fighter” referring to his position amongst the elite mix. Saunders knows exactly what threat Murray poses and has always been a tough fight for anyone that has stepped foot in the ring with him. Murray has not only worked his way up from the ground to the top but has been unlucky not to reach the absolute pinnacle of the sport on more than one occasion. Narrowly losing out to both Sergio Martinez and Felix Sturm, fights that most definitely could have gone in Murray’s favour on any given night. Just that fighting in someone else’s backyard does present its obstacles, particularly in Germany. The St Helens man has mixed it with the very elite fighters in the world, in Gennady Golovkin, George Groves and now the Saunders fight on his doorstep.
Murray well and truly has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He rightly deserves his shot at the world title, so be it his last shot but has proven his worth to British and World boxing over the years. A family man true and true, this would secure his family’s future but it isn’t just about the money for Murray, whose nature is apparent to everyone, a fighter willing to give his all in the ring. This is evident with fights against GGG and more recently Gabriel Rosado that were nothing but action and fireworks.
Murray also presents a much bigger threat physically and stylistically than Saunders’ last opponent David Lemieux and don’t think Saunders will get all his own way in this fight. The 35-year-old is a strong, compact fighter with very sound boxing skills. Whether it’ll be enough on the night, we’ll have to wait and see but what can be sure is that Murray will not be backing down merely for a payday or to add another top name to his resume. He’ll be going in there to win by any means necessary.