Preview: Martin Murray, Stuart Hall fight in Monte Carlo

Sports Mole previews the bouts involving Martin Murray and Stuart Hall that take place in Monte Carlo this weekend.

Monte Carlo will be the setting on Saturday evening as British fighters Martin Murray and Stuart Hall attempt to land significant victories on the 'Title Tornado' bill in Monaco.

Murray will put himself in line for a shot at a world middleweight title in 2015 if he can overcome Italian Domenico Spada, while Hall can become the IBF bantamweight champion for the second time if he can defeat the unbeaten Randy Caballero.

Below, Sports Mole previews both matches and attempts to predict who will prevail in each contest.

1. Martin Murray vs. Domenico Spada

It's been a while since we have seen Martin Murray replicate the performances that he produced against Felix Sturm and Sergio Martinez, but this Saturday promises to be a pivotal fight in his career as he eyes a third crack at a world title.

Back in December 2011, when Murray travelled to Germany to take on Sturm, he was unproven on the world stage but he had been given confidence from Matthew Macklin's performance against the champion earlier in the year, and he arguably did enough to get the decision before it became known that a couple of the judges thought otherwise.

The showdown with Martinez came with Murray building a reputation for himself at 160lbs but he was a huge underdog to oust the Argentine on his own patch. Murray stunned the home crowd by dropping the home favourite in the eighth but again, the judges' decision went against him, and the St Helens fighter was left to contemplate his next move.

The months that followed that night in Buenos Aries proved somewhat frustrating for Murray. Visa problems have prevented him from fighting in the United States, minor niggles resulted in withdrawals and the procedure of changing his promoter caused uncertainty in his progression as a fighter. However, his switch to Golden Gloves has brought success so far and put him to within a bout of another attempt to win a world title.

Last time out, against the durable Max Bursak, Murray delivered a solid, if not spectacular, display to secure the WBC silver strap, and while Saturday's opponent Domenico Spada is not much of a step up for the 32-year-old, it's someone who will keep Murray's attention and will force him to produce a higher-quality performance than he has needed in the three outings since losing to Martinez.

At last week's pre-fight press conference, Murray spoke about Spada's "awkward and crude" style, and while that will be a danger to him, it's something that he requires to sharpen his tools if he is be competitive in a future match against WBA title holder Gennady Golovkin, who once again showed last weekend why he is regarded as one of the most dangerous fighters in the world.

Should Murray come through against Spada, a third fight in Monte Carlo against Golovkin should come to fruition and it's one that trainer Oliver Harrison insists that Murray will win, but the former British and Commonwealth champion can't afford to take his Italian opponent lightly and he needs to earn Golovkin's respect to have any kind of impact on the Kazakh's mentality if the two do meet in Monaco next February.

Martin Murray celebrates after wining a match against Ukraine's Max Bursak during their middleweight WBC boxing match, on June 21, 2014© Getty Images

2. Stuart Hall vs. Randy Caballero

It's been a whirlwind 12 months for Stuart Hall. This time last year, the bantamweight fighter was awaiting the next move in his career after advancing up the world rankings, but Jamie McDonnell being stripped of the IBF title opened doors for the North-East competitor to really make a name for himself in British boxing.

Hall dealt with a severe eye injury to outpoint Vusi Malinga to become the next world champion in this country before his first defence of his newly-won title turned into something of a non-event after Martin Ward suffered a bad cut that saw their bout end in a technical draw. This left Hall to move on to face the undefeated Paul Butler, who made the step up from super-flyweight to compete in an all-British world title fight.

It was an interesting pairing that split opinions but Butler was the man who prevailed by split decision. One of the judges scored it 117-111 to the challenger, which did no justice to Hall's performance in the second half of the fight, but Butler probably did enough to justify the win before almost immediately vacating the strap to drop back down a weight class.

It's that decision that has given Hall an instant opportunity to reclaim a belt that he believes he should still hold, but the fight in Monte Carlo also represents a crossroads for the 34-year-old. A win will keep Hall in the headlines and in contention to secure a unification clash with McDonnell, who now holds the WBA belt, but defeat could see him take a massive step backwards.

But it's that kind of scenario that should motivate Hall. He has already changed his life from party goer in Ibiza to become a world champion and he is capable of earning that title for a second time if he applies a gameplan against Randy Caballer. However, he must be disciplined against a boxer who Golden Boy Promotions and American television are keen to see progressed into a big-money draw.

At the age of just 24, Caballero is undefeated in 21 contests, recording 13 stoppages in the process, and he's in a division that is lacking a major American name. The California resident has also shown his versatility in winning at super-bantamweight too, and victory against Hall could see him earn future chances at 122lbs, which is brimming with star names.

There's plenty on the line on Saturday night and it's a fight that could turn into a war should both apply themselves to their maximum, but from Hall's perspective, he needs to use the knowledge and experience that he has picked up over the past 12 months in the correct way to have a chance of upsetting the bookmakers' odds at the weekend.

Martin Murray celebrates after wining a match against Ukraine's Max Bursak during their middleweight WBC boxing match, on June 21, 2014
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