Gennady Golovkin vs. Ryoto Murata, UFC 273

  • With a knockout Saturday, Gennadiy Golovkin could prove he’s primed for a trilogy with Canelo Alvarez.
  • Alexander Volkanovski headlines multiple interesting fights on the UFC 273 card.
  • Ryan Garcia returns to the ring as a -3000 favorite against Emmanuel Tagoe.

Distracting and meaningless narratives surround Gennady Golovkin’s Saturday morning middleweight title unification in Japan against native son Ryoto Murata.

Yes, Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) turned 40 on Friday. And yes, he looked uninterested in the three victories he posted after that heartbreaking majority decision loss to bitter rival Canelo Alvarez in September 2018.

But now, Golovkin and Alvarez have a signed deal in place for a September trilogy bout Golovkin so achingly yearned for. There’s one stipulation: Golovkin must first beat Murata.

So, as he ventures across the Pacific Ocean for a 5:10 a.m. ET DAZN-streamed unification against Murata (16-2, 13 KOs), that burning desire to attain revenge must be raging. 

MORE:Canelo Alvarez, Gennadiy Golovkin trilogy fight signed for September

Knocking out Murata would prove Golovkin — who once flattened 23 consecutive foes — is primed for Alvarez at 168 pounds. It would also fuel an avalanche of riches beyond what’s already expected.

The other two options take all the air out of the trilogy.

Lose, and the Alvarez fight goes away. Struggle with Murata (as as he did in a narrow October 2019 victory by decision over Sergiy Derevyanchenko) and the intrigue and investment from fight fans likely flattens.

So Golovkin best maximizes revenue for the bout by finishing Murata in a highlight-reel knockout.

Boxer Canelo Alvarez, left, shakes hands with with boxer Dmitry Bivol as promoter Eddie Hearn looks on, center, during a weigh-in in advance of their boxing fight Wednesday, March 2, 2022, in San Diego. Alvarez, of Mexico, is scheduled to fight Bivol, of Russia, in Las Vegas on May 7. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Factoring in that added motivation, Tipico Sportsbook odds for Golovkin-Murata has “GGG” as a -500 favorite to win, with Murata at +330. 

At other shops, however, the odds shorten to -135 by betting on Golovkin to win by KO or technical knockout. And if you’re feeling especially daring, there’s a +450 payoff if he stops Murata in rounds 4-6 or 7-9, and a +650 reward if he knocks out the home fighter in rounds 1-3 or 10-12. 

Tipico places the bout’s over/under at 9.5 rounds. 

The best bet: Golovkin by knockout/TKO -135. 

Golovkin headlines a busy fight weekend that includes two title fights on the UFC 273 pay-per-view card in Jacksonville, Florida. Unbeaten lightweight Ryan Garcia will return from a mental-health break, and there’s a 154-pound title eliminator between unbeaten Sebastian Fundora and former title challenger Erickson Lubin.

Let’s take a look at some of the other best bets this weekend.

UFC 273 

VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena, Jacksonville, Fla. 

ESPN+ pay-per-view 

Dominant featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, coming off two triumphs against former champion Max Holloway, is a sizable -800 in his title defense against “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. 

And interim bantamweight champion Petr Yan is -475 versus champion Aljamain Sterling. 

Sterling, 32, of Uniondale, New York, won the belt when Yan delivered an intentional illegal knee in the fourth round of their March 2021 fight — and Sterling cited neck issues from surgery, postponing the rematch until now.