CURTIS WOODHOUSE: Talented Murray to remain ‘nearly man’

Curtis Woodhouse
Curtis Woodhouse
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Martin Murray has the chance to shed his ‘nearly man’ tag when he fights Arthur Abraham for the WBO super-middleweight title in Hanover on Saturday.

In the past he’s had a fair bit of bad luck, coming close in some big fights but not getting the decisions.

In 2011, he was adjudged to have drawn with Felix Sturm in Mannheim despite looking to have comfortably won the fight. Then in 2013, he suffered the first defeat of his career against Sergio Martinez, despite putting his opponent down twice and dominating most of the rounds.

Although Murray is a really good fighter, and will probably edge it with Abraham, I can’t see him actually getting the result this weekend.

I think that the step up to super-middleweight will benefit him, as he always looked like he struggled to make the weight as a middleweight, but going to Germany as the away fighter and winning on points is notoriously difficult.

It doesn’t happen very often, and in reality Murray isn’t going to knock his opponent out. Abraham has a solid chin and Murray lacks sufficient power at world level. He just doesn’t possess that one-punch knockout ability.

Abraham doesn’t like to graft in the ring, so you’d expect Murray to outwork him comfortably, but I just can’t see him getting the stoppage that he needs.

This situation raises two interesting points.

Firstly, what does it say about the sport that I, and probably many other boxing fans and pundits, can sit here and say that a fighter could conceivably go and outbox his opponent but won’t be awarded victory, simply because he’s in someone else’s back yard?

Obviously this is nothing new, it’s just the way boxing is.

It isn’t just in Germany that it’s hard to get a decision over a home fighter in a close contest, it happens all over the world, including here in Britain. It’s not a case of the sport being corrupt, it’s more to do with the fact that boxing is so subjective.

I’ve sat and watched fights with my friends and we’ve all scored it totally differently.

That’s just the way it goes, people interpretate bouts very differently.

This brings us to the second point, which is that the only way to guarantee success is to remove the grey area by putting your opponent on the canvas.

This is what Murray needs to do on Saturday, but sadly I think it may be beyond him.

ENGLAND ARE DOING OKAY UNDER ROY

England’s friendly defeat against Spain showed just how far behind the top nations we currently are. Do you think we are making any progress under Roy Hodgson? Joel Gurken.

The first thing to say here is that I really don’t think England played that badly against Spain, particularly in the first half.

I like the way that they set up and thought they did pretty much everything right for 45 minutes, they just failed to take any of the three or four half-chances they created.

There’s no denying Spain are currently a better side than England, and that told in the end, but I don’t see any need to be overly critical of England.

The team doesn’t look in too bad shape under Roy Hodgson, I think there are some signs of progress, and while there is absolutely no chance they will win Euro 2016, I fancy us to have a decent tournament and get at least as far as the quarter-finals.

Do you agree with Tommy Hearns’ comments that Dillian Whyte will beat Anthony Joshua because he has a mental advantage over him after his success in the amateurs? Callum Cann.

No. Dillian Whyte is a very good fighter, but I’d back Anthony Joshua against pretty much anybody in the world, even at this stage of his career.

I can see the logic of what Hearns has said, but Joshua isn’t mentally weak.

Anybody who can win the Olympics on home soil can handle pressure, and Joshua has shown that.

I can’t see Whyte lasting too long once the two get in that ring.

Is David Moyes finished as a manager after his sacking at Real Sociedad? Kelly White.

I really don’t think that he is, he didn’t get enough time at Manchester United and Sociedad was a tough gig.

Fair play to him for going abroad and giving it a go, not enough English coaches are brave enough to do that.

He showed at Everton that he is an exceptional coach, and I have no doubt that he will return to the Premier League in the future and do a great job somewhere once again.