Ageless Hopkins puts IBF title on line against Murat
Bernard Hopkins, oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world championship, pictured during a press conference in New York, on January 15, 2013
Hopkins, the oldest boxer to win a major world title, will put his International Boxing Federation light-heavyweight belt on the line against Murat, months after their scheduled July bout was scuppered when Murat was denied a US visa.
Hopkins, 48, took the IBF title in March with a victory over Tavoris Cloud, breaking his own age mark by nearly two years.
On Saturday at Boardwalk Hall he doesn't want to just keep that crown, he wants to record his first knockout since a ninth-round KO of Oscar de la Hoya in September of 2004.
"I'm coming to win Saturday night and move on to bigger things," said Hopkins, who brings a record of 53-6-2 with 32 knockouts to the bout.
"I don’t want to go 12 (rounds) all the time. Trust me, I've just been on a bit of a drought."
If the knockout doesn't materialize, Hopkins said, Murat shouldn't expect anything less than the kind of grinding, bruising battle that Hopkins has shown himself still amply capable of producing.
"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, an aggressive 30-year-old with a record of 25-1-1 and 15 knockouts, has a come-ahead style that could give Hopkins the chance to land a knockout blow.
Murat is a mandatory challenger, meaning Hopkins had to face him or forfeit his title under terms of a deal that allowed him to step in front of Murat to challenge Cloud.
While Hopkins says he expects the fight to burnish his legacy and lead to "bigger things," Murat says he is the man to send Hopkins into retirement.
"He is an old man and needs to stop now," Murat said.