Lem Satterfield

Q&A: Murray’s ready for the big stage, Rios

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NEW YORK — Lightweight Johnny Murray told RingTV.com that he is neither intimidated nor impressed with WBA beltholder Brandon Rios, whom he will challenge in Saturday night’s HBO Pay Per View-televised fight at Madison Square Garden.

The 26-year-old Murray (31-1, 18 KOs) will meet the 25-year-old Rios (28-0-1, 21 KOs) on the undercard of a main event between between WBA 154-pound beltholder Miguel Cotto (36-2, 29 KOs) and Antonio Margarito (38-7, 27 KOs).

Rios has vowed to move on to bigger and better things after earning his fourth straight knockout, his 11th win (10 of which were knockouts) against Murray, who is coming off the first loss of his career in July, an eighth-round knockout by Kevin Mitchell (32-1, 24 KOs).

Murray had won six of his previous seven victories by knockout before falling to Mitchell, and believes that he can right himself against Rios.

Rios already has begun to talk about his next bouts, however, including a potential clash with THE RING’s No. 1-rated featherweight Yuriorkis Gamboa (21-0, 16 KOs).

Like Rios, Murray will be fighting in New York for the first time in his career. Murray has fought three times in America — twice in Las Vegas and once in Florida.

“People think that Johnny Murray is coming over here and that he’s going to be in over his head, but he fought on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya fight [in May of 2007] against Lorenzo Bethea, and he stopped him in seven rounds,” said Murray’s trainer, Joe Gallagher.

“He fought the night before the Mayweather-Ricky Hatton [December, 2007] fight in and won a 10-round decision over Miguel Angel Munguia in Vegas, so he’s been on the big stage. He was Ricky Hatton’s sparring partner. He’s sparred with Shane Mosley. So he’s been around big fights and the big atompshere.”

Here’s what Murray had to say:

RingTV.com: So how do you believe that you will handle the intensity of fighting for the first time in Madison Square Garden?

John Murray: It won’t be a problem. I’ve boxed in Florida once, and I’ve fought in Vegas twice. I’ve fought in Canada. I’ve gotten around. But I realize that this is a massive fight and a massive atmosphere.

To win this fight, it will really change my life a lot. But I’ve had a long, tough training camp and a solid training camp for the past 12 weeks. I just can’t wait to get into the ring on Saturday night.

I’m just looking forward to getting in there. I’m looking forward to winning this fight. I’m very, very confident that I can win this fight.

RingTV.com: How do you see this fight transpiring in terms of styles?

JM: I think that it’s going to be a tough fight. I think that his style suits the way that I fight. I think that he’s gong to try and come after me, and I really like that, because I’m coming out to win it.

RingTV.com: Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

JM: I think that it’s going to be a battle, you know? I think that he’s going to come forward to fight, and I like to come forward to fight. So I think that it’s going to be one helluva fight while it lasts.

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