RYOTA MURATA has claimed Gennady Golovkin is "past his prime".
But ahead of their middleweight unification bout in Japan, Golovkin has talked down retirement.
The Kazakh has only once tasted defeat in 43 fights, losing his 2018 rematch with Canelo Alvarez.
That came a year after the pair's controversial draw when many felt GGG was unfortunate not to walk away from Las Vegas with a win
Even Murata, 36, admits the middleweight legend was hard done by, but reckons Golovkin's brilliant best has been left in the pass.
The Japanese fighter told SunSport: "Yes, the decision on both fights with Canelo were questionable to me. But whether GGG is unbeaten or not does not matter.
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"I think he is past his prime. How I perform my strong points in the ring will be important."
Golovkin, 39, has not fought since December 2020 when he stopped Pole Kamil Szeremeta, 32, in seven rounds.
He was due to unify his IBF belt with Murata's WBA version in April until coronavirus restrictions put an abrupt halt to that.
But their rescheduled date in Saitama on Saturday, live on DAZN, is only days away and marks an anticipated return for one of boxing's most destructive punchers.
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Golovkin said: “I’m always excited to get back in the ring and it’s great that boxing is coming back.
"The entire approach, the entire tradition of boxing is still alive.
“I’m also excited that I have enough strength to continue to demonstrate quality boxing to my fans. So you’ll continue to see me in the ring.
“Of course, there are certain emotions, due to age for example, but I’m not frustrated personally, because it’s not my fault I did not have a chance to get in the ring for quite a while.
“But you will not see any emotions in the ring. In the ring, it will be a completely professional approach.”
A win for Golovkin puts him in line for a trilogy bout with Canelo in September.
Yes, the decision on both fights with Canelo were questionable to me. But whether GGG is unbeaten or not does not matter.
But Murata has not come to rip up the script – and will not even try to steal the super-fight from GGG.
He said: "I don’t have any motivation on that matter. I’m a middleweight, so I have never thought of that fight."
Canelo, 31, returns on May 7 against WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, also 31.
And it is believed the Mexican superstar and Golovkin have already verbally agreed to renew their rivalry once more.
But GGG refused to reveal whether pen has officially been put to paper, instead choosing to focus on the task in hand.
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He said: “It’s premature to have a discussion, there’s too many ‘ifs’. If one fighter beats the other fighter and so on.
“Let’s wait till May, let’s wait till our fights are behind us, then we can discuss and we’ll have a better understanding of what’s going on.”
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