Gennadiy Golovkin will turn 40 on Friday and has boxed only one time in the past 30 months.

The IBF middleweight champion therefore feels as though the last thing he should do is assess Ryota Murata based on the two upset defeats the Japanese star surprisingly suffered in May 2017 and October 2018. Golovkin has sparred against Murata, too, thus he is well aware that the WBA “super” middleweight champion is better than he showed when he lost a 12-round split decision to Hassan N’Dam and a 12-round unanimous decision to Rob Brant.

The Kazakh knockout artist also was impressed by how Murata came back to avenge each of his two professional losses quite easily in immediate rematches, both by technical knockout. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist demolished Dallas’ Brant (26-3, 18 KOs) by second-round TKO in July 2019 and stopped France’s N’Dam (38-6, 21 KOs) after seven one-sided rounds in October 2017.

“I recognize and value his boxing skills and the fact that he’s a former Olympic champion, that he’s a WBA ‘super’ champion currently,” Golovkin told through a translator. “That speaks a lot about him. The fact that he avenged both losses also tells that he knows how to analyze the fights, how to tweak his approach in order to prevail. And, of course, boxers cannot be judged by a single fight. Everyone has bad days, I would say.”

Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) will need to have perhaps his best day to beat Golovkin on Saturday night in Saitama, Japan, even at the longtime middleweight champion’s advanced age. Golovkin still has lost only a competitive majority decision to rival Canelo Alvarez in their 12-round rematch 3½ years ago.

The 36-year-old Murata also will encounter a very motivated Golovkin, who by winning can secure his spot in the fight he wants most – a third showdown versus Alvarez. If Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) defeats Murata in a 12-round, 160-pound title unification fight DAZN will stream in the United States and Mexico’s Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) beats WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) in another DAZN main event May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, they’re expected to meet a third time in a DAZN Pay-Per-View main event September 17 at a site to be determined.

“Murata once said that he considers the fight against me as the pinnacle of his career,” Golovkin said. “He approaches the training process with that view, so of course, it’s going to be a difficult fight. He’s a solid boxer, with great skills. It’ll be very interesting.”

DAZN’s coverage of the Golovkin-Murata undercard will begin at 5:10 a.m. ET and 2:10 a.m. PT on Saturday from Saitama Super Arena. Caesars Sportsbook lists Golovkin as almost a 5-1 favorite over Tokyo’s Murata.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.