Murat Thinks Hopkins Looks Old, is Old, Confident in Victory


    At the Boardwalk Hall this Saturday, October 26th, Karo Murat (25-1 15KOs) will challenge for the IBF Light Heavyweight title, taking on Bernard Hopkins (53-6 32KOs). Murat was 5 years old when Hopkins was having his first professional fight. Normally when you think of a 30 year old (Murat) fighting a 49 year old (Hopkins), the age is a clear mismatch as most fighters would have called it quits a while ago. Hopkins has proven time and time again that his age is just a number. Although Hopkins feels he can still compete with anyone at this age, Murat thinks that the over 20 years of fighting, is finally catching up to the veteran, Murat stated, “I respect him for winning the world title at age 48. But I have to say one thing; you see the mileage on him. So to me he looks like a 48 year old. He doesn’t have the speed anymore he may have had at 30 years old. He tries to clinch a lot and to win the fight through his experience and that’s it. I respect him, but I will try to beat him.”

    Not only does Murat say that Hopkins’ age will be a factor in the fight, he thinks he knows the intangibles that will stop Hopkins in his tracks, he stated, “As a person, you see that he’s growing old because of his gray hair and his gray beard. I saw in the fight versus Cloud that Bernard has pretty much the experience that none other boxer has, but you see that he’s just trying to get one punch or a one-two combination of it and then clinch. Clinching is the state of his game. In the years before when he was a middleweight, when he was the middleweight champion he didn’t show all that much clinching. You saw him beating people with ease, but nowadays you see, with the clinching and just the one-two punch, you see that he’s growing old. He may say that it’s just conditioning, but I don’t think so.”

    The fight with Hopkins almost didn’t happen because of Visa issues Murat was having trying to get into the United States. With the fight in limbo, Murat cautiously entered camp so he did not “over-train” for what could be the biggest fight of his career; he stated, “I just prepared for the first meeting with Bernard. When the problem with the visa came up I just took a break. After we got the confirmation, I think it was two or three days later, I just started training again. So I have that mental edge at the moment that nothing can break me out of my groove, I would say. So when I took the break I just relaxed and saw it as if I already had a fight, just getting down to it, and afterwards, when I started training, it was like as if I got up to a new fight, starting all over again. I wouldn’t say that it made me crazy to wait that long to get my change for a world title. But it was a little bit disappointing to not have a fight in such a long time.”

    Bernard Hopkins last fought Tavoris Cloud in March of this year. While some fighters would be bitter that they didn’t get the title shot someone else did, Murat is happy that he now gets to fight a Hall of Fame fighter like Hopkins, Murat stated, “To be honest, I would say that looking back I’m really happy that Hopkins beat Cloud and fought Cloud, because now I get the chance to fight the legend in Bernard Hopkins. It’s much more than if I would have gotten in the fight versus Cloud, if he had beaten Hopkins. I see myself as a boxer, as well as a fighter, to go up when it gets tough. I would say that’s my chances, as well as my ring intelligence, better off ring intelligence. Hopkins is one of the best light heavyweights. I want to box the best, and that’s why I’m enjoying this fight.”

    Unfortunately in boxing from time to time we see decisions in the sport that cannot be explained. Whether its negligence or corruption, it still happens. Murat is not ignorant to pre conceived notion that being a fighter from another country comes with social “baggage” but he is not afraid of the bias, he stated, “I know I always wanted to fight in the U.S., and it’s not about Hopkins being an advantage because the fight is in the U.S. When I watched George fight and I see that outsider won, it’s not about the decision but you see the real decision when the crowd stands behind the real winner. It’s not always the guy that the judges see winning. I’m just hoping for an impartial referee, good judges and the rest is up to me.”