This Saturday night, the “Alien,” Bernard Hopkins returns to the ring at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Hopkins will defend his IBF light heavyweight title against Karo Murat of Germany.
He is the oldest boxer to ever hold a world title at 48, and if you let him tell it, he’ll be facing Floyd Mayweather Jr. two years from now in the fight of the decade at the young age of 50.
Bernard first will have to get past Karo Murat of Kitzingen, Germany. Murat is an extremely tough-nosed fighter but limited as a boxer, and should feed right into the gameplan Hopkins has set up for him.
“Karo Murat is hoping like others before him that he is lucky enough that I got old in the gym,” Hopkins said. “There’s no magic spell that hits you over the head that says, ‘You’re old.’
“As far as I’m concerned, old to me is not old to the average person. What is old?”
Murat is fighting outside of Europe for the first time, and hasn’t actually fought in a fight in over 19 months. He shouldn’t be in this position in the first place.
Murat is ranked #2 by the IBF, but isn’t even in the top 15 rankings for the other three prominent organizations. Murat for his part thinks he has a Rocky Balboa type shot in this fight.
“I’m going to surprise a lot of people,” Murat said. “I’ve followed [Hopkins’] career since I was 12 or 13 years old. I have respect for him.
“But you see the mileage on him. He looks like a 48-year-old. He doesn’t have the speed anymore. The time is now to beat Hopkins.
“I think it is a sign from God that I am here to end Bernard’s career. He is an old man and needs to stop now.”
I expect Karo Murat to keep his guard up and high, while throwing body punches and trying to cut off the ring from Bernard Hopkins.
Hopkins of course will try and use his reach to keep Murat at bey, but will definitely try to bully and frustrate the inexperienced fighter at every turn.
Murat would serve himself well by trying to push the pace with Hopkins, and drag him into an aggressive , physical fight that could sap some of the energy from Bernard.
Murat will try to sucker Hopkins into flurrying exchanges, hoping he can possibly catch the 48 year old champion with a shot he can’t get up from.
Hopkins for his part said this fight is about more than Karo Murat, and he’s now hoping to change boxing politics.
“I’m not just fighting Karo Murat. I’m fighting politics. I made a 360-degree turn. I’m back in Atlantic City. I’ve been here a few times. You hear Hopkins and Mayweather. You hear Hopkins fighting other light heavyweights. People want to put a time frame on what you’re supposed to be doing.
Karo Murat needs Bernard Hopkins to have a bad and off night in my opinion. If Murat is active enough, finishes rounds with energy, and can win over the judges, he could put himself in position to win.
I said “could” for a reason.
Hopkins is a 10-1 favorite, and it’s like that for a reason. I see this being an entertaining and enjoyable bout for fans who will no doubt travel in packs from Philadelphia to pack Boardwalk Hall.
Hopkins though should have no problem dismantling Karo Murat, and I see a late round finish, or unanimous decision for B-Hop as continues the path toward Mayweather.