Professional boxing is not too big in Japan. The last time I was there—on Dec. 31, 2018 to be exact—my family and I were waiting for the New Year to come around and I was among a throng of locals hunkered over piping hot bowls of ramen when the TV mounted on the wall showed Floyd Mayweather fighting local superstar kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa in an exhibition bout.

Eager not to miss it, I profusely expressed my apologies (in butchered Japanese) to those around me as I pulled my table closer to the box so I could get a better view.

Not that they cared, really. They ignored me and the televised bout as they were more interested in the chasyu slices and the silky smooth noodles they were wolfing down.

GGG. Today, one of my favorite fighters- Gennedy Golovkin takes on Ryoto Murata at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama City, Japan, the exact same venue for that Mayweather exhibition bout.

Golovkin is not as well known as Mayweather anywhere in the world, so I doubt this fight will generate more interest to the casual Japanese fan than a bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen.

However, I do expect GGG to tear through his opponent ravenously.

GGG (41-1, 36 KOs) is on a two-year layoff as his last fight was on Dec. 18, 2020 when he defeated an over matched Kamil Szeremata in Round 7.

Murata (16-2, 13 KOs) last fought against Steven Butler in 2019 , winning via TKO in Round 5. He is the reigning WBA middleweight champion primarily because of Canelo Alvarez vacating the division.

CANELO. Speaking of Canelo, his name casts a shadow in the foreground of this fight, primarily because he has come on record saying he will fight GGG for the third time should the latter come off victorious against Murata.

Should it happen, this trilogy has been almost half a decade in the making as they first fought five years ago.

MY TAKE. Golovkin just turned 40 and by boxing standards that’s Jurassic. But then again, GGG is no ordinary boxer. He was the most avoided fighter in the division for a long time, and the only blemish in his career was inflicted by Alvarez, albeit controversially.

As a fighter ages, the first attributes to go are speed and reflexes. In GGG’s case, he never really relied on these for his success. He is iron through and through and bulldozes through opponents with his feral, take-no-prisoners approach.

Murata, of course, is no pushover. He is taller and will present a conundrum to GGG early as he can be dangerous with his counters. But Golovkin never saw a target in front of him he didn’t like. At some point in the fight he will tear through Murata’s defenses and punish him.

I have GGG winning this via TKO before the ninth round.

GARCIA. Another one of my favorite fighters, Ryan Garcia, fights this weekend. He will be facing Emmanuel Tagoe of Ghana.

Tagoe (32-1, 15 KOs) is one of the top lightweights out there and it should be very interesting if Garcia (21-0, 18 KOs) can once again back up his prediction of a “destructive KO.”

LAST ROUND. It’s on Lilibeth Cantiveros- Cabas of MTCC Branch 2 Talisay City who recently celebrated her birthday. Cheers!