Super-middleweight Rocky Fielding has watched stablemate Martin Murray prepare for a number of big fights over the years, but never has he seen the St. Helens man look as well-prepared as he is just days before his WBA Super world middleweight title fight with Gennady Golovkin on Saturday night (February 21), LIVE on Channel 5.
The 27-year-old Fielding trained alongside Murray in South Africa for the duration of camp and has seen the progression up close. He knows the challenger is more than ready.
“Boxers often say they’ve had the best camp of their life and they couldn’t be any fitter, but I’ve been around Martin a long time now and I’ve never seen him look better,” said Fielding. “He’s been at the top for a while now and knows how to prepare for big world title fights. He knows what he’s done right and wrong in the past and I think he’s nailed it this time.
“He was very serious and professional in this camp. When it was time to switch on, we all met up, did our stuff and got on with it. There wasn’t much talking or joking around. We’d relax a little bit at dinner time, but that was about it. It was all very serious. Even the chefs in the hotel would be given set meals by Martin’s nutritionist and then go away and sort them. There was no stone left unturned.
“Fitness-wise, he’s on another level for this fight. I’m a good runner and can handle myself against most people, but Martin was overtaking me on all of our runs. He wouldn’t have looked out of place on the South African running team.”
Although Fielding has witnessed drastic improvements in Murray on a daily basis, he is under no illusions as to the extent of the challenge his friend faces in Monte Carlo this weekend.
“I rate Golovkin very highly,” said Fielding. “He’s a very good boxer with good punch power.
“His opponents have always given him a bit too much respect, though. He’s got power and they think they should just stay away and survive.
“Martin has been in at the top and he can take a good punch. He’s been in there with (Sergio) Martinez and (Felix) Sturm, who can both punch a bit, and he always seems to be comfortable and able to adapt to whatever his opponent does. Martin has a good defence and he’s very clever in the ring.
“From what I’ve seen of Martin in the gym, and from what I’ve heard him and Oliver discuss, I really think an upset is on the cards this Saturday. They’re working on some good things that could really mess Golovkin up. They’re looking to get in his head.
“Golovkin can hit hard, we know that, but nobody has come back at him yet and roughed him up. They haven’t got physical with him and pushed him about. I think Martin can do that and still stay tight defensively.”
Should Murray perfect his game plan and do everything he has practiced in the gym, Fielding sees no reason why Britain won’t be celebrating a new world middleweight champion in the coming days.
“If Golovkin doesn’t get Martin out of there in four rounds, I think we’re on to a winner,” he said. “But we’re expecting a tough, gruelling fight.
“Golovkin has said he thinks it might go twelve rounds, but I think he’s bluffing. He’ll fight the same way he always does – he’ll come out all guns blazing.
“If Martin can get through those first three or four rounds and then come back with his own shots, I can see him taking over in rounds seven, eight, nine and ten. If Golovkin doesn’t bang Martin out, what’s the game plan? I don’t think he can keep up with Martin for twelve rounds.
“Martin can match him with everything but power. He can match him for boxing skills and he can match him for defence, ring generalship and experience. This is far from an easy fight for Golovkin.”
*** Boxing superstar Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin defends his WBA Super world middleweight title against Britain’s Martin Murray on Saturday, February 21 in Monte Carlo, LIVE on Channel 5 (10 PM) ***