7th October 2011

John Murray
John Murray is to get a surprise world title shot against unbeaten WBA lightweight champion Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios on December 3rd at Madison Square Garden in New York, on the undercard of  Miguel Cotto vs Antonio Margarito.
 

Murray, 26, lost his last fight against Londoner Kevin Mitchell and with it his unbeaten record and so this shot at the world title against Rios has come out of the blue and is a surprise considering the former British and European champion is coming off a defeat.

So why isn’t Mitchell getting this chance? – Well it seems that he was offered the date and the opportunity his triumph over Murray deserved, but because Mitchell is waiting on an impending court case, it is believed he has been denied the right to travel to the United States this year and so Murray who he stopped in eight rounds in July benefits.

Murray (31-1, 18 KOs) who recently split with long term trainer Joe Gallagher to team up with Leeds coach Mike Marsden, can resurrect his career, but will be up against it when he takes on Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs) who is considered one of the most exciting fighters in the world. But it is the fight Murray had always wanted and the one he was chasing before losing to Mitchell.

Rios is ranked No.1 in the lightweight division and has won his last 9 fights by knockout. The only blemish on his impressive resume is a 10-round draw against Manuel Perez in October of 2008.

This fight for Murray though could well bring out the best in him – and could it be? – That from the depth of despair and with his career in limbo after his first career loss and then public split with his coach. That Johnny could come good and become an unlikely world champion and fulfill the promise that he had shown before coming undone against Mitchell.

What this would mean is that Mitchell and Murray would then meet in a rematch for the world title in a mega British fight next Summer. But lets not jump the gun! – ‘Bam Bam’ is going to be a Hugh obstacle to budge, he is similar in stature to Murray and fights in the same come forward heart on the sleeve, warrior style as the Mancunian.

Brandon Rios
There is no doubt that this will be a great fight to watch!

But Murray must be totally focused in his preparations and live the life for the 8 week training camp he will embark on. It is now no secret that Mr Murray likes the odd light ale or two!

It was sad to hear that just a couple of weeks before his fight with Mitchell, he was drinking and partying on a camp trip to Germany, when gym mate Matthew Macklin fought Felix Sturm for the middleweight world title.
But it wasn’t the first time that Murray had let his professionalism slip and has been guilty of having the good time a little too much between fights.
The lack of discipline and focus clearly shown in his last couple of performances and Mitchell made him painfully pay for his lax attitude to preparation.
But if ever a kick up the arse was needed, John got it and Mitchell dished it out cold! – In a dark bruising reality, exposing the truth and failings that a championship boxer cannot afford to make at that level.

This fight with Rios will determine how much Mitchell took out of Murray, but also how much Murray has taken from himself! – But you don’t become a bad fighter over night and still only 26, Murray has the chance to bottle everything he has ever known and I don’t mean on a night out! – and realise them dreams that were clear to him when he embarked on his professional career in September 2003 against Peter Buckley at the Huddersfield leisure centre.

He can redeem himself, pay back the loyal fans who have passionately followed him and stuck by him and believed in him. But more importantly prove to himself his worth, potential and the promise he had shown in the past, while blazing his way through all the domestic honours and belts that were going.

It seems Murray lost his way with boxing and became stagnant and little disillusioned with the game, the Mitchell KO and the un-friendly split with Gallagher proved that this wasn’t the same kid who used to bounce into arenas with an air of unbeatable swagger and lived up to his nickname of the ‘Machine’ methodically taking his opponents apart in old fashioned display of pugilistic well oiled dominance.

If Murray can live the life and physically get his body into the fighting condition that will be needed to match the uncompromising Rios he has a chance here to shock boxing. But more importantly he must be mentally prepared to face the toughest and most rewarding challenge of his life.
California based Rios, will be an almighty tough challenge too for Murray to overcome, but not as hard a fight as the one he faces with himself and the man looking back at him in the mirror.

John must get back that winning mentality and passion to be the best! – Knowing that when he enters that ring at the famous Madison Square Garden, the spiritual home of boxing, that no stone has been left un-turned in training and preparation and that he could have done no more and never once contemplated doing any less, by cheating himself!

Boxing is a funny old game and the fists and misfortune of Kevin Mitchell could well be John Murray’s saving grace!

By Chris Maylett

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  • Anonymous

    Rios in 9…Lights out Murray..

  • Anonymous

    ‘Disillusioned with the game’ only if ‘game’ called ‘gallagher’

    trainers should train