- Sergio Martinez v Martin Murray
Murray certain Martinez can be beaten
There may not be a more respectful term that can be used to label a boxer than to call him an honest fighter.
Typically the term has dual meanings, addressing either a fighter's proclivity to speak a refreshing level of truth when hit with piercing questions or referring to his in-ring style of coming straight ahead and making exciting fights.
Unbeaten British middleweight Martin Murray (25-0-1, 11 KOs) happens to be both. And although there is no doubt that he believes he can pull off the upset against middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez (50-2-2, 28 KOs) on Saturday in the Argentine's homecoming bout in Buenos Aires, he is realistic about the challenge he's up against.
Not only will Murray be walking into enemy territory inside the 50,000-seat soccer stadium that will house the fight - filled to the rafters with Martinez's adoring fans - he also will have to deal with a dynamic champion who has a difficult, awkward style.
"Well, you can't really prepare for punches that you don't see coming, can you?" Murray told ESPN.com. "I know that's going to be the case, because when he unleashes that combination of punches with how fast he is, it's one of his great qualities. You can't prepare for that.
"I know he's going to be awkward. We've had all kinds of southpaws in camp, and that's the only way I can do my best to prepare. We just have to wait and see on fight night truly how difficult and awkward he really can be."
But despite any factors that might suggest Martinez, 38, could be vulnerable - everything from his age, recent knee surgery and the late knockdown he suffered against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr - Murray isn't necessarily buying that.
"I don't see him as [vulnerable], to be honest with you," Murray said. "I've said this many times: He is a great fighter. Everything he does, he does well. But if you want to say one tiny little thing - and it's not a negative, it's just really the fact that he's shown it in a couple of his fights - it's the fact that he's not unbeatable. He can be beat. It's not mission impossible by any means, and I can overcome it."
Murray's take is atypical considering the normal bravado that dominates the buildup to most fights. Murray, 30, is unbeaten, but still relatively untested despite a split draw with then-middleweight titlist Felix Sturm in 2011. He looks at the underdog role as something to motivate him entering Saturday's fight.
"Have I been undersold? A little bit, to be honest with you," Murray said. "But it's a good thing. There's not a lot of people giving me a chance, and it's a very motivating thing in the end. It was a great learning experience being in the Sturm fight on that level. I did myself justice. People were writing me off and didn't think that I deserved a chance. But I shocked them just the same way I am going to shock them on Saturday."
Even more than the prospect of upsetting a fighter as talented as Martinez and snatching away the lineal crown in the 160-pound division, Murray thinks it's important to make a splash given his platform on Saturday.
"I am fighting someone like Martinez, who is a big star in America, and the fight is going to be seen by a big American audience," Murray said. "It gives me the chance to show what I am about. I want to be fighting in America. I know if everything goes well on Saturday, I won't captivate the American audience - I will captivate the world, because I will shock them when I beat him."