What Bernard Hopkins did on Saturday night in Atlantic City in his title bout with Karo Murat, was nothing short of miraculous. At 48 years of age, Hopkins should be enjoying his retirement as he is one of the few boxers who has taken control of his career and prepared for it. But instead, Hopkins is showing no signs that he is even considering hanging up the gloves.
As has been the case, particularly late in his career, Hopkins started slowly. Why wouldn’t he? Even Hopkins doesn’t know when that one fight will happen when he no longer has what he needs to be victorious. But not on this night. He used his hitting and holding style effectively early on but didn’t score many points or land many big punches. The first 3 rounds were more about testing Murat and getting in to his head. At one point turning Murat around and kissing him on his back. No one has been more effective at playing mind games with opponents than Hopkins. The only other Masters that come to mind are Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. Although Murat didn’t appear outwardly bothered by Hopkins tactics, he did allow Hopkins to fight his fight, as opponents more often than not, have. The younger Murat should have pressed the action, having faith that his 28-year-old body could simply out work and out last a man old enough to be his father. But in the end, Hopkins, was the more intelligent and more experienced fighter and that often wins fights.
The most impressive part of this fight however, which ended up being very entertaining, is what Hopkins did with his gloves from round 7 on; he fought like a man 20 years his junior. He thru combinations of punches, often five and six at a time. He seemed to care less about his stamina as the fight went on, understanding I suppose, that his body would not betray him on this night. In the end, he won a hard-fought, well-deserved unanimous decision. The scores of the judges were about the only thing that was not dramatic in this fight. It was only a question of by how much he won. Bernard Hopkins, 48; a man on a mission against man and time and he’s beating both.