IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KO’s) became the oldest fighter in history to defend a world title, breaking his own record by defeating European challenger Karo Murat (25-2-1, 15 KO’s). The 48-year-old “Executioner” turned “Alien” out-worked and out-brawled his 30-year-old challenger and won via clear unanimous decision in front of his hometown crowd at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. The fight, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Caesars Atlantic City, headlined an entertaining three-fight SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event.
Hopkins appeared to start the night slow, but Hopkins’ combinations, speed and power grew each round. By the seventh, Hopkins and Murat exchanged wild power shots in spurts for the rest of the bout. Amidst these exchanges, Hopkins used his signature defense, angles and gamesmanship to mentally and physically deflate Murat. The judges scored the fight 117-110 and 119-108, twice for the champion.
“Richard Schaefer said we needed to be crowd pleasers,” said Hopkins, the oldest champion in sports history. “The crowd wanted to see skill and blood so I had some blood to give them. I am an entertainer and this is what people want to see… He was a game number one contender.”
When asked by SHOWTIME ringside reporter Jim Gray if Murat brought out the best in him, Hopkins answered, “Not really, but he didn’t bring out the worst either.”
Regarding the slow start, Hopkins said, “That was the plan. That was the bone on the string so that the dog could follow him into a dark alley and then realize someone was waiting on him. And that dog was me.”
Hopkins continued, “He throws pretty good punches and he is no one to sleep on. He is going to give some light heavyweights a bit of a problem.”
When Gray asked Hopkins how he stays in such phenomenal shape at age 48, Hopkins replied, “I’m a freaking alien.”
Gray then spoke to Murat who said, “Bernard is a good boxer and I lost concentration due to the two cuts which came by head butts. I know that when I am in good shape I can beat him, however, the cuts disturbed me.”