Gennady Golovkin to return February 1 in Monte Carlo, not against Martin Murray

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Gennady Golovkin is targeting a February 1 return date following his November 2 stoppage of Curtis Stevens, but he won't face Martin Murray, with the two sides giving different versions of what's going on.

Unbeaten middleweight bomber Gennady Golovkin (28-0, 25 KO) will return to the ring on February 1 in Monte Carlo, likely off HBO, facing an opponent to be named. But it won't be Martin Murray, at least as things stand right now, with the two sides offering differing versions of the events surrounding that potential bout.

Murray (25-1-1, 11 KO) has been named mandatory challenger by the WBA, but K2 promoter Tom Loeffler says that he's refusing to take the fight, leaving Team Golovkin no option but to find a different opponent. Murray, 31, says that he plans to fight on the same card in Monte Carlo, which could set up a fight with Golovkin later in the year.

It's entirely possible that Martin Murray just doesn't want to return from what will be a 10-month ring absence against Golovkin, and would prefer to take a tune-up first to get himself properly ready for a fight of that magnitude. Murray hasn't fought since his controversial April loss to division champ Sergio Martinez in Argentina, a fight many felt Murray deserved to win.

Another roadblock for the fight is the fact that Murray cannot enter the United States for a bout, which means it would have to be held in the United Kingdom, where it would surely do good business, or someplace like Monte Carlo, which is emerging as a nice little fight hub for the European market. Murray had a fight with Julio Cesar Chavez Jr called off a couple of years ago because he could not get a work visa, due to having served some jail time years ago.

Golovkin shouldn't be expected to face a major contender for the February 1 return date, as it will likely serve as a stay-busy fight, similar to his Monte Carlo win over Nobuhiro Ishida earlier this year.

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