This Saturday, October 26th at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City will be Bernard Hopkins’ 64th fight, in a career that has spanned over 25 years. With that amount of time under his belt Hopkins is still dedicated to his craft that he has been shaping for over twenty years. Now with a fight looming with Karo Murat (25-1 15KOs), criticism could be given that Murat is far from the caliber of fighter that we are custom to seeing Hopkins fight.
It would be naive to think that every fight out; a fighter would take on the upper echelon especially at 49 years old like Hopkins. Just because Murat may not have the name recognition as others he has fought in the past, Hopkins understands that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, he stated, “In this case, there’s what I consider a super fight at the end of this title, whether it’s my division or some other division. But I know one thing, before you get to the Tootsie Roll you’ve got to do a lot of licking. That’s not in a disrespectful way, but it’s in a way of knowing that you got to get through the prize before you get down into that box of the Cracker Jacks and you get the prize. You’ve got to get through these things. These things are just part of business, whether you like it or not. I’m going to Atlantic City like it’s a super fight and knowing that I have to be on my A game no matter who I’m fighting at this stage of my career, especially when the opponent is not really known in the states, like myself.”
Hopkins has been in the sport long enough to know that sometimes the pressure is on you to look spectacular when the fight is view as a miss-match. Should he lose the fight or not look great winning, all future plans can come to a crashing halt, he stated, “So I look at myself ending my career with a super fight, and peoples is going to remember that. But this here, to me personally, is not a super fight in boxing but is a super fight to me because there’s no other, no other fight if this fight is not completed the way it should be with Bernard Hopkins, with myself. So I know how important it is for me to get to that, again, that Tootsie Roll at the end of the tunnel, that prize that says you got to work through.”
If there is one thing you could learn from another Philadelphia native Danny Garcia is that, you should never count an underdog out. Many times Garcia has risen from depths of the bottom to the top of the heap. On any night a fighter is dangerous, and with a “Black Belt” in ring antics and out of the ring drama, Hopkins knows taking a fighter easy only hurts you in the long run. “Never take anyone for granted or lightly. Always look at your opponent as the enemy who’s trying to take your spot, who’s trying to take everything you work for or try to enhance his career off of your legacy, at that time, early in my career, off my career. So that’s one. I gave you a couple of answers, but never underestimate your opponent, the art of war, the art of war, which is a fine, fine, fine roadmap for me for over 15 years, even before I came out of prison. The art of war, never underestimate your opponent. Never underestimate your enemy. Never underestimate the next general. You always have to take everybody from what their word, and that is they believe they going to beat you. They’re going to try to beat you. You have to change their mind.”
Hopkins is now 49 years old, and some day in the near future, his career will end. His career might end by knockout, by a poor performance, or it could end when Hopkins his self said enough is enough. This fight with Murat, many considers as a high risk lower reward fight. Meaning that if he wins…. great… he was supposed to. If Hopkins loses, then he got old overnight and that’s that. Hopkins for years has been working with Golden Boy Promotions and has seen firsthand a fighter’s career come full circle.
With Hopkins’ circle coming to a close, he know that there is only one way for him to finish it off the way he wants it to, Hopkins stated, “After next Saturday they’re going to say, “Oh, Bernard is-”So it’s really not a win-win for me. It’s really like, okay, it’s a throwaway fight, but I’m not treating it like that, but I know others are. So I’m not going to gain more superstardom because of Karo Murat.” he continued “I mean, I’m no fool, but I might be called a bully. Okay, I’ve been called that in high school, elementary school, in the streets, in boxing when I was a middleweight. Hey, so it’s cool. I mean I’m not saying that I accept it, but it’s cool. You can do what you want to do, but at the end of the day the story becomes, “He beats Bernard Hopkins.” That’s the story. I beat him; what else is new? So I understand that. So it’s more than just Karo Murat. It’s a lot of intangibles that surround this name and this fight, and I have the ability and the mindset to handle all that because that’s what I do. And that’s what I’ve been doing basically the majority of my career, handling difficult situations that will break the average man.”