Veteran British middleweight contender Martin Murray hasn’t written off the idea of facing WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders despite the world titleholder twice pulling out of scheduled fights against him – but there would need to be some sort of insurance policy in place.
On Saturday night Murray 37-4-1 (17) overcame a late change of opponent to defeat US-based Mexican Roberto Garcia 41-4 (24) at London’s O2 Arena in Greenwich, UK on Saturday night.
The 35-year-old Murray from St Helens, Merseyside, was originally slated to face WBO 16-pound champion Saunders 26-0 (12) on the same date until the Hatfield southpaw withdrew to chase a unification bout with WBC and WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin 38-0-1 (34) in September.
It was the second time in a row that Saunders had withdrawn, leaving Murray in the lurch.
The 38-year-old Garcia had won the WBC Silver middleweight title in his previous bout by unanimous decision against Omar Chavez 36-5-1 (24), son of the great Julio Cesar Chavez.
Murray used his skills and experience to box his way to a comprehensive 12-round points victory against Garcia, who once went 10 rounds with former WBO welterweight champion Antonio Margarito.
“We knew he was tough and rugged. It was about keeping a cool head, just putting the rounds in the bank and winning easy,” said Murray after the fight.
The four-time world title challenger was due to meet Saunders in the ring in April until the WBO titleholder withdrew with a hand injury. The fight was rescheduled for June 23 but Saunders withdrew again, this time citing a hamstring injury, although it was widely believed that the cancellation was to make himself available for the proposed Golovkin match-up in the event that the rematch between “Triple G” and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September fell through.
As much as Murray would like to get his hands on Saunders, he is not prepared to go through another training camp without some sort of guarantee.
“My life has been on hold for last six months,” said Murray. “Billy Joe pulled out twice. It was about getting the win and keeping myself in for bigger fights.
“He’s done it twice, so for me to fight him again there would need to be some sort of insurance policy in place. I’m an experienced campaigner, and if I fought him, he would get the same.
“I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think I could do it [win a world title]. I know there’s a world title in me.”