IBF middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin turns 40 a day before his fight against Ryota Murata this Saturday in Saitama, Japan.

40 is not the new 30 in boxing.

Not everyone can be Bernard Hopkins, Archie Moore, and Manny Pacquiao. They thrived until the inevitable.

30-somethings Danny Jacobs, Amir Kahn, and Jorge Linares fought recently. They struggled. Fights take a toll on the body.

Golovkin has had a lot of fights. 350 amateur, and 43 as a pro. He hasn’t looked the same since dispatching a limited David Lemieux in 2015.

His lone loss was to Canelo Alvarez almost four years ago. The so-called loss seemed to drain some of the life out of Golovkin. He was a little over 30 when he invaded the United States. He had toiled away for years in Europe, winning a title that few respected. He then became something of a folk hero with more titles, due to his modest ways and heavy hands.

When Golovkin fought Alvarez for the first time in 2017, it had been obvious for a while that he was slipping.

Never the fastest fighter anyway, Golovkin looked to have lost a step. What he hadn’t lost was his heart, as he showed in the 12th and final round against Alvarez in the rematch. I had him winning the first fight and ruled the second fight a draw. Golovkin has banked three wins in a row since losing to Alvarez. He looked sluggish against Steve Rolls, survived Sergey Derevyanchenko, and stopped Kami Szeremeta 13 months ago. Perhaps motivation was an issue. Golovkin was reportedly sick days before his fight with Derevyanchenko. We shall see.

Murata, 36, is an Olympic gold medalist and holds the WBA middleweight strap. The highlight of Murata’s boxing life occurred over two years ago when he stopped Rob Brant to regain his middleweight title. He’s fought once since. Murata is a power puncher who likes to trade – a perfect style matchup for Golovkin.

The thinking here is that Golovkin will be highly motivated. He knows a win paves the way for another chance at Alvarez.

Big money show.

Golovkin by late stoppage.

Source: John J. Raspanti