Canelo vs Murata: Why a fight with the Olympic Gold Medalist might make the most 'cents'
It was recently reported that a fight between Saul Canelo Alvarez and Ryota Murata was currently being negotiated for Saturday, May 2nd, to be broadcast worldwide on DAZN.
Although many die-hard fight fans are puzzled by the proposed contest at Middleweight, here's why the fight might make the most sense for all parties involved.
First of all, who is Ryota Murata (16-2, 13 KO's)?
The 34-year-old puncher from Japan turned pro after capturing Olympic Gold at the London Games in 2012. Murata became the first Japanese gold medalist in boxing since 1964, and the first to win in any weight division above bantamweight.
Although boxing is a very popular sport in Japan, Ryota is only the second Japanese prizefighter to ever hold a version of a major world title in the MIddleweight division. The first being Shinji Takehara back in 1995-96, who carried the WBA Middleweight strap, but subsequently lost that distinction by being stopped by William Joppy in the ninth round.
Despite boasting six legitimate world champions currently fighting out of Japan, Murata is the only titleholder who campaigns above 118 pounds. As a result, Ryota Murata has become one of the most popular sports figures in his home country, consistently attracting around 15 million viewers during televised bouts.
The previous statement is exactly why a fight between Murata and Canelo Alvarez could make the most sense for DAZN and Golden Boy Promotions in 2020. With both men currently holding a version of the WBA Middleweight title, the pairing becomes a super fight if staged in Japan.
And if DAZN is currently fighting for subscribers in the USA, why not provide a slam dunk on DAZN Japan in front of 55,000 spectators in the Tokyo Dome?
Even though the match-up will more than likely be viewed as a "lukewarm" pairing in the states, Canelo vs Murata would be an absolute blockbuster in Tokyo, driving great subscriber numbers for DAZN throughout the entire eastern hemisphere.
But would testing be an issue leading into this match-up?
Back in October of 2018, Ryota went on record stating that he would be very interested in a match-up opposite Saul Alvarez, only under the stipulation that the Mexican born fighter stay away from a specific southern delicacy.
"I want fight with him without Mexican beef," stated Ryota Murata in English before eventually losing his title to Rob Brant in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Despite carrying two losses on his professional resume, to Hassan N'Dam by SD in 2017 and to Rob Brant by UD in 2018, the big puncher from Tokyo avenged both losses by stoppage to regain his coveted world title in immediate rematches.
How is the style match-up between Ryota Murata and Saul Alvarez?
The match-up would be a brilliant one, pitting the aggressive minded Japanese fighter against the sharp-shooting counter puncher from Mexico. Although Canelo is the better pound for pound fighter by far, Ryota has a sledgehammer in his right hand and throws it frequently, which consequently allows him to be competitive in every fight.
And with Canelo's most recent two outings against Jacobs and Kovalev being two largely tactical affairs, mainstream and casual fight fans would enjoy seeing Alvarez compete in a more fan-friendly pairing. A fight opposite Ryota Murata would be an all-action scrap.
While there are indeed intriguing match-ups for Canelo from 160 to 175 pounds, very few are globally significant and would fail to "move the needle" for DAZN subscription purchases. The only other match-up that would rival a contest with Murata worldwide would be a third bout with Gennady Golovkin; a fight in which Team Alvarez is currently not interested.
But can Alvarez still make the 160-pound weight limit comfortably?
After ballooning up to compete in the 175-pound weight division just a few months ago, can Canelo still realistically compete as a Middleweight fighter?
If his team is currently interested in a fight with Murata, one can only assume that he still can compete as a strong 160-pound fighter.
Will fight fans get to see Canelo vs. Murata on May 2nd in Tokyo, Japan? What do you think of this match-up? And would you be willing to pay the DAZN subscription price to see this spectacle for the WBA Middleweight championship?
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