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Blinded by the lights?

Murray needs a few more high-profile bouts, says Jim

Jim Watt Posted 30th November 2011 view comments

Can Martin Murray defeat Felix Sturm? If I'm being honest, I don't think he can.

Murray has won each of his 23 professional fights and sometimes unbeaten boxers have that confidence that they can't lose. You also can't turn down a world-title opportunity when it's presented to you.

Focused: Murray (left) can test - if not beat - Sturm

Focused: Murray (left) can test - if not beat - Sturm

Still, I'd have been happier if Murray had served a bit more of an apprenticeship and faced a few opponents that jumped out at you - even if that was a few bouts at European level.

When Matthew Macklin fought Sturm, he had some hard fights under his belt and a mixture of good opposition - something Murray is perhaps lacking.

Murray's chance has come right out of the blue and I think it's because Macklin and Sturm's people couldn't come to terms on a rematch.

Murray's in a good situation. He is the underdog so there's no pressure on him. If he wins, it will be a fantastic performance, if he loses valiantly, it will still prove his credentials.

Jim Watt
Quotes of the week

LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
WBA MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE
Felix Sturm v Matthew Murray
9.45pm, Fri, Sky Sports HD1

Friday night's bout will be a really tough one for Murray and having to travel to Germany will make things even more difficult.

Pace

That's not to say the St Helens man can't cause his opponent problems.

Martin is very strong, but I'm not sure he'll be able to keep up the same sort of pace that Macklin did.

Even that wasn't quite good enough for Matthew, whose incredible early speed was the reason he tired in the last third of the fight, and allowed Sturm to claw back and preserve his title.

And if Murray is too quick, I think he'll make too many mistakes.

Murray's got to win the early rounds. He's got to take the initiative. He's not going to outsmart Sturm so he's got to outwork him; get an early lead and try to cling on to it.

Backlash

Sturm is very good defensively and an excellent all-round fighter; I've got a pretty decent opinion of him.

There's a possibility that Sturm underestimated Macklin and there was a bit of a backlash in his homeland.

A lot of the German fans and media thought he'd lost. I think that's liable to inspire him to put in a better performance this time - and that could spell danger for Murray.

If Sturm did take Macklin lightly - and I don't think he did - he won't make the same mistake against Murray. He'll be in great shape and he'll probably want to claw back his credibility with the German people.

I'm not giving Murray no chance. He's definitely ready to move on, whether he's ready to move all the way up to - Sergio Martinez aside - the best middleweight around, I'm not sure.

Murray's in a good situation. He is the underdog so there's no pressure on him. If he wins, it will be a fantastic performance, if he loses valiantly, it will still prove his credentials.

I think Murray is destined for the same fate as Macklin; he will be courageous in defeat.

However, that will increase his standing, boost his confidence, and take him a step forward to being genuinely world class - and in another couple of fights, he can be chasing world titles again.

JIM'S JUDGMENT

There's no reason to think that Sturm will knock Murray out. I reckon Martin will go the distance but be defeated on points.

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