Manchester lightweight John Murray says he's not coming to New York just to be a stepping stone for WBA titlist Brandon Rios on the Cotto vs Margarito card on December 3:
"I'm over the moon with this opportunity and I'm not going over to New York to make up the numbers - I can win this. ... Fighting in America doesn't bother me, I've fought in Las Vegas twice and in Florida so it won't be anything that I haven't seen already, in fact I'm looking forward to causing an upset at the mecca of boxing. Don't judge me on the Mitchell fight, you will see a completely new John Murray on the night."
Murray (31-1, 18 KO) is going to be a big-time underdog, but in all fairness to him, I think I will judge him on the Mitchell fight, because I think that despite the loss, he gave a fine accounting for himself as a tough, hard-nosed warrior who puts on very entertaining fights. With Rios being who he is (a guy who doesn't like to move much at all), I think we're in for five or six rounds of nastiness in this fight.
Does Murray have the ability to switch up his style and try to box more here? I think Rios is actually an underrated boxer, but in the sense that what he does, he does exceptionally well. He gets hit, but he also has solid defense for a guy who just stands and trades, and he puts his punches together very well. But can he really beat someone who can stay out of his wheelhouse? Can he adapt?
Looking back to the Miguel Acosta fight, he was down on the cards in a big way, clearly losing that fight. He had serious trouble with Acosta's ability to outbox him and keep him at range. But Rios is a good enough bull that he finally broke through that, and Acosta couldn't hold him back forever, eventually succumbing to the pressure and power of Rios. It was classic pressure fighter stuff.
I have the feeling that no matter what John Murray tries, he's going to wind up outgunned. He might try to box a bit more, but it's not his true nature. Like Rios, he's a guy who wants to come straight ahead and do damage. I get the impression that he might be able to keep that boxing mindset for two or three rounds, but as soon as he's tagged hard, he'll come roaring back on instinct. That's just who John Murray is.
Either way, it should be a hell of a battle.