Bernard Hopkins can smell the money in the air.
Hopkins weighed in on Friday at 1721/2 pounds, and wanted the media to know that it was a statement to his ability to cut weight.
Bernard was making the statement that he could indeed get down to 160 to battle the pound for pound king, Floyd Mayweather Jr. in May.
Whether a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr is fantasy or a certain reality, Hopkins defied boxing logic, and made history before 6,324 on Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall.
The alien won a unanimous decision over the rugged Karo Murat to once again become the oldest fighter to hold a world championship, just 14 months shy of his 50th birthday.
He won his decision on scores of 117-110, 119-108, and 119-108. I had it 114-111 for Hopkins.
The fight started off ugly with shades of the old Bernard Hopkins surfacing. The champion started off round one with ugly and sometimes dirty clinches, possibly sending a message to Murat that he planned to be just as physical.
As the rounds wore on, Bernard scrapped the ultra defensive approach that has become his staple, and instead made it his mission to batter Murat through the 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th rounds respectively.
“The plan was to let the dog follow the bone into the dark alley,” Hopkins said. “He doesn’t know what he’s about to get into, but he’s waiting. You stalk him. He doesn’t know what he has gotten himself into.”
“I am a freak, an alien. I will see the doctor about that on Monday. Aliens don’t have years, days, months or minutes.”
Both fighters had no issue with a dirty fight, and both men took advantage at different moments. Murat complained early on about Hopkins hitting him with sneaky low blows.
Murat continued to bull forward, and actually shook Bernard in the 3rd round with a solid right. At that point Murat’s gameplan was coming to fruition, and he was in fact outworking Bernard.
Hopkins displayed his version of showmanship, when he kissed Murat on the neck and back of his head during a clinch.
The fight was all Hopkins from the 7th round on, after he hurt Murat with a right and a left hand followed by a body shot. Hopkins continued in the 8th round landing a series of left hands and hurting Murat with a right hand that opened a nasty cut over the German challengers eye.
During rounds 9 and 10, Hopkins start politicking to the referee to stop the fight.
“I was telling his people to stop the fight,” Hopkins said. “He was cut and he wasn’t going to win the fight. I was using psychology, saying they should stop the fight, but it didn’t work.”
Hopkins hasn’t had a knockout since stopping Oscar De La Hoya in 2004, and was pissed off that he didn’t get the stoppage.
“I really wanted to get the knockout,” he said. “I have a [nine]-year drought. He was really tough. He was a slow puncher but a good puncher. He wouldn’t back down. When you go for a knockout, you have to take some punches. But this is what they want to see. I wanted a knockout, so you take risks. Don’t ever take your mandatory lightly. That guy would give anybody in the light heavyweight division problems.”
Bernard Hopkins faced his mandatory challenger, and now will spend the next few months politicking and making a case for why he should get Floyd Mayweather in May.
“Showtime has the best light heavyweight in the world, but I’m game to fight anybody,” Hopkins said. “The fans need to protest.
“Floyd is the best boxer on the planet for the last 10 years. That’s a big challenge for me, and I like challenges like that. I’d definitely do it. I could make 160.”
Bernard Hopkins can smell the money coming, and now I know why.
He’s “an alien.”