LOS ANGELES – At 40 years old, Gennadiy Golovkin is the oldest active world champion in boxing.

Father Time appeared to be catching up with the Kazakhstani knockout artist in his last fight when Golovkin fought Ryota Murata one day after his birthday and scored a TKO win against the Japanese fighter.

Golovkin (42-1-1, 37 KOs) became a unified middleweight champion in the process, but the accolade did not come easily. 

Golovkin was fighting for the first time in 15 months, and ring rust, as well as age, showed in the fight as Golovkin got off to a slow start and clearly lost rounds.

Golovkin was up 78-74, 79-73, and 77-75 when the fight was waved off in the ninth. 

“My approach was based on the fact that it was a 12-round fight. Twelve rounds is a lot of time. I started by checking him out and getting a feel for him and I knew that I had enough time to figure it out,” Golovkin told BoxingScene.com and other reporters while promoting his upcoming trilogy fight against Canelo Alvarez on Sept. 17 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on DAZN pay-per-view. 

Golovkin has fought exclusively as a middleweight since turning professional in 2006 and his third fight against Alvarez will mark the first time he’s fighting at 168 pounds. 

If Golovkin were to win, he would hold the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF, and Ring Magazine titles at 168 pounds, as well as the WBA, IBF, and IBO titles at 160.

That would mean Golovkin would have a who’s who of options to entertain in big-time fights, and thus, continuing his Hall of Fame-bound career. 

“I don’t think there is a ceiling that I need to reach. I don’t want to jump ahead. We will plan our future steps based on the outcome. After the fight is over, we’ll think about what we can do next,” said Golovkin.

Golovkin is also not actively thinking about hanging up the gloves. 

“[Retirement] is a hard question. It’s hard to say. Everyday can bring something new. Even if we just look ahead past this fight, we’ll see what opportunities come our way from the financial and attractiveness of a potential fight. I will make my decision based on the situation and when it’s a good time,” said Golovkin. 

“It’s hard to make predictions. I’m in boxing because I enjoy it. When you make a decision to retire, it’s usually not based on just one reason. There are a number of reasons that eventually come into play. So far, I’m still in business.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com.