Alien Invasion: Hopkins Outsmarts Murat

By Robert Ecksel on October 26, 2013
Alien Invasion: Hopkins Outsmarts Murat
"That was the bone on the string," said Hopkins, "so the dog could follow it to a dark alley."

Bernard Hopkins, aka The Alien, successfully defended his IBF light heavyweight title by decisioning Karo Murat after 12 rounds of action…

Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs), aka The Alien, successfully defended his IBF light heavyweight title by decisioning 30-year-old Karo Murat (25-2-1, 15 KOs) by scores of 117-110, 119-108, 119-108 after 12 rounds of action.

Fighting out of the blue corner in black trunks with lime green trim, Hopkins started slowly, even for Hopkins. Paulie Malignaggi, behind the mike for Showtime, described him as “economical.” But like all economies, there are ups and there are downs, and the rise of Hopkins, at least in this fight, was still to come.

The challenger, fighting out of the red corner in white trunks trimmed with gold, didn’t do much to counter Hopkins’ inactivity. Murat wasn’t forcing the action. He swung and missed several times. It looked like Hopkins the ring general was in there against an infantryman. The Alien took round one.

In rounds two and three Murat began letting his hands go. While Hopkins was studying his opponent, deciphering his opponent, his Iraqi-born challenger was applying pressure. Murat isn’t especially skilled, that’s The Alien’s department, but many were wondering if this was the night Hopkins finally grows old.

Murat evened the playing field in round six. He had come to fight and made it a point of letting Hopkins know. He may have been getting hit, but he was hitting back, and more important he wasn’t getting suckered into fighting Hopkins’ fight. He reasoned that if he could keep busy and outwork the “old man,” he had a chance, however remote, of defeating the legend. Before the round ended, Murat was warned for hitting Hopkins when he was down, which resulted from a Hopkins battering ram to the chest that Murat deflected.

Hopkins took round seven. The exceptionally wise but exceptionally ugly clinch/clutch/nullify style of Hopkins was driving Murat nuts. Out of frustration, he decided, if reaction connects to decision, to give Hopkins some of his own medicine, which in this instance meant hitting on the break. It was poorly executed. It was also blatant. The reward for his foolishness was a point deduction for doing no less than Hopkins had been doing all along.

Love him or hate him, Hopkins’ mastery cannot be denied. His inside game, which at times seems like the only game he has left, simply cannot be beat. But The Alien unexpectedly let ‘er rip in round eight. His straight right was finding the mark. His left hook had come alive. He drove Murat to the ropes, but Murat to his credit came firing back. The trickeration displayed in earlier rounds was replaced by good old-fashioned brawling. Hopkins may have gotten the best of it, and Murat the worst, but a fight had broken out in Atlantic City, to the surprise of almost everyone.

Hopkins was enjoying himself. He opened round nine with a straight right to Murat’s face at the 10 second mark, followed by a jab, another straight right, and a left hook. Now it was Murat’s turn to clinch, but without the confounding efficiency of Hopkins—for whom fighting on the inside is like wrestling an octopus. Murat had his moments. And he was never less than fearless. But when Hopkins drew first blood with a strafing straight right above Murat’s left eye, it added some color to the action-packed proceedings.

Murat fought his way back in round 10. Although he was bleeding and fading and as frustrated as could be, he was all heart as he took the fight to the champ. The scorecards may not have been as close as Murat’s corner believed, but they told him at the end of the round, “You’re doing great. Take a deep breath. We’re really close to winning the fight. Do whatever you need to do. Stay focused.” The advice from Hopkins’ corner was short and sweet: “Don’t let this guy out-hustle you.”

The championship rounds were all Bernard Hopkins. The fighters continued to exchange meaningful punches in round 11, but Murat knew he was behind, even though his body hadn’t betrayed him. Hopkins went for the knockout in the 12th round and had Murat hurt, but he couldn’t turn out the lights, and not for want of trying. When the bell sounded to end the fight, Hopkins and Murat were still going at it.

After the fight, Bernard Hopkins was himself.

“Richard Schaefer says we’ve got to be crowd-pleasers,” said Hopkins. “The crowd want to see skills, but they also want to see a little blood, so I’ve got a little blood to give them. But I’m an entertainer, and this is what people want to see. I still could be smart. I still could do the things I’ve been doing. But sometimes if you try to knock a guy out, you gotta take risks. And I took some risks tonight and hit him with some shots. He’s a game number one contender. Any fighter out there, when you get a mandatory and you have to fight him for some reason, don’t take him lightly. I did what I have to do. Trust me, anybody else that think they the champion because they have a belt—they frauds. Showtime got the best light heavyweight in the world.”

Hopkins was asked about the first few rounds and what he was thinking at the time.

“That was planned,” he said. “That was planned. That was the bone on the string so the dog could follow it to a dark alley, and didn’t realize somebody waiting on him, and that was me. So I led him on. I led him on because he’s a comer, he comes and he stalks. He’s not a quick guy, but a thumping sledgehammer type punching guy. He’s nobody to sleep on. He’s going to give a lot of light heavyweights problems.”

Murat was given the last word.

“Bernard is a good boxer. I lost concentration due to two cuts, which came by headbutts. I know when I’m in good shape I can beat him, but the headbutts disturbed me. This is typical Bernard. I expected this to happen.”

Hopkins had his detractors and deservedly so, but as long as he keeps winning while defying expectations, we might as well give him his props, no matter how painful it might sometimes be.

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Bernard Hopkins vs Karo Murat Full length fight in HD 26.10.2013

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  1. kid vegas 12:50pm, 10/28/2013


  2. Ted 06:37am, 10/28/2013

    “And thank Allah that Joe Cortez has finally gone” may be entered into the posters Hall of Fame this coming year.

  3. Mohummad Humza Elahi 02:34am, 10/28/2013

    I think it’s time we got some new blood with respect to the man in the middle.  Need to watch this fight, but apart from the superb Kenny Bayless, I can’t think of anyone else who is consistently good.  Let’s not start on judging.  And thank Allah that Joe Cortez has finally gone.

    Quillin is all talk, the Rosado fight was a covered shot at GGG (I can beat the guy you beat but better) but anyone in GGG’s range is liable to get toasted.

    As for my own “SWMBO”, who kindly got my tickets to Froch-Groves, I was thinking of writing the fight up for site, if anyone has the appetite to read it?

  4. kid vegas 03:52pm, 10/27/2013


  5. Ted 01:07pm, 10/27/2013

    Man, that is some bad imitation of an Eastern Euro accent

  6. Anonymouse No 2 01:00pm, 10/27/2013

    Smoger was biased. He should have taken more points from Murat who was holding, hitting low numerous times, hitting on the breaks- I agree- but he did allow the action to flow which was good to make Hopkins do good fight-was good ref not making himself too much of the action- Rosado should have had Mr Steve- the ref he stop fight hardly after next round start to take Rosado to Physician even though Rosado clearly had no problem seeing and had been looked at in corner- also I agree with Barry, Al, Pauli and the other guy who I like- he always excited and bring feeling of action- they all had fight scored even or close-don’t know how one Judge he have Kid winning every round

  7. Ted 09:04am, 10/27/2013

    Meanwhile Smoger reminded me of the fairy tale character Humpty Dumpty. This gnome is so out of shape he has no business reffing boxing matches. In football, the refs run right alongside the teams, same in soccer and basketball, but in boxing we got refs like Smoger, Byrd, and the thankfully retired–Joe Cortez.

  8. Ted 09:00am, 10/27/2013

    When was the last time Hopkins stopped somebody? That says it all about who he fights next. He will have to tussle with Wilder at the cemetery to find a suitable opponent. Hopkins will fight and win until he is 50 and then retire. No mystery to this exit plan.

  9. peter 08:48am, 10/27/2013

    I can’t think of a better fight which supports Mike Silvers’ claim,(from his excellent book, “The Arc of Boxing”) that today’s fighters lack many things, and one thing is “seasoning”. They are rushed forward without the proper ring education.

  10. El Bastardo Magnifico 08:31am, 10/27/2013

    Shitty one for Rosado—has to be that much more bitter to swallow coming off his previous fight ND—I hope he gets a rematch. The Alien’s options are going to be rather limited—Stevenson of Group Michel is HBO, Kovalev of Kathy Duva is HBO—if he truly thinks he can get to 160 he is very limited there as well—GGG is HBO, Martinez is HBO, so that would leave him with Chocolate which is not going to draw The Alien’s thoughts of a “mega fight.” At 168 Ward is HBO. The Alien’s only other possible is Carl Froch perhaps.

  11. Pete The Sneak 08:00am, 10/27/2013

    OK…Glad that’s (B-Hop) over….Tell you, I felt bad for Rosado. Didn’t even have his cut person get a chance to really perform. I think his commentary after the fight in taking the ref to task for stopping it was spot on. Yeah, Kid Chocolate’s OK, but as correctly noted by many here, his punching power, or lack thereof, will get him KTFO by GGG. Peace.

  12. Ted 07:53am, 10/27/2013

    Correct on that. I think Hopkins would have won either way. But had this fight been held in Munich, the scoring would have been different. 119-108 seemed way out of line to me.  Murat came to win and is a lot better than billed.

  13. Matt McGrain 07:47am, 10/27/2013

    Yeah, that’s a shit job of refereeing really. Still, hard to think how things would have turned out differently.

  14. Ted 07:36am, 10/27/2013

    That was one of the worse jobs of refereeing I have ever witnessed. SS has become too fat to engage and needs to consider another line of work. Yelling at one guy and pushing him back while hugging Hopkins after the fight should be taken up by the commissioners. Unreal but not unexpected. Even “Yes Man” Bernstein criticized him frequently.

  15. Clarence George 06:06am, 10/27/2013

    EBM:  Decrepit as Martinez is, I still think he’d beat Quillin; precious little chance against Golovkin, however.

    I well remember the werewolf episode, but the one I saw yesterday was “Terror on Dinosaur Island.”  Next up, the intriguingly titled “Killers of the Deep.”

    Who didn’t love Kowalski, eh?  Remember that Vitalis hair of his?  Yes, he did indeed look like a 1950s middleweight.  The actor’s name was Del Monroe, and he died only a few years ago.

  16. El Bastardo Magnifico 04:55am, 10/27/2013

    Can somebody from I.B.R.O kindly advise—IS STEVE SMOGER THE FIRST REF TO WORK THE SQUARED CIRCLE INVOLVING AN ALIEN. Clarence what episode—hope it was the one with the Werewolf on board. PS I always thought Kowalski, “Ski” looked like he would have made a solid Middleweight

  17. El Bastardo Magnifico 04:37am, 10/27/2013

    I must say the Alien got hit hard to the cojones a number of times in the last round (if Aliens even have any balls!!) and did not act like that pugilistic Thespian of take a knee inclination that was once Hopkins before he was body snatched into this Alien—thank heavens, Mars or Galactus for that much. AS FOR GGG—WELL ALL WE HAVE HEARD THE LAST FEW MONTHS IS HOW SERGIO WILL NOT BE AVAILABLE UNTIL MID NEXT YEAR AND NEEDS A TUNE UP—NOW WE ARE HEARING TWEETEES FROM HBO ETC ETC RE SERGIO VS COTTO—NOW I LIKE COTTO BUT HE HAS NEVER FOUGHT AT 160 AND DOES NOT DESERVE A SHOT BEFORE CHOCO OR GGG GET SERGIO—IF SERGIO IS HEALTHY ENOUGH TO TAKE ON COTTO WELL THEN HBO SHOULD TELL SERGIO NO GO ON HBO MONEY UNLESS IT’S CHOCO OR GGG.

  18. Clarence George 03:25am, 10/27/2013

    My guess, Glenn, is that if a fight doesn’t take place between Golovkin and another significant middleweight in the first quarter of 2014, he’s going to say to hell with it and move up to super middleweight or at least fight at a catchweight of 164.  What’s the alternative, that he spends the year dismantling guys like Lukas Konecny and Matt Korobov?  Poor fighters?  Hardly.  But Golovkin is well past that stage…and so are the fans.

  19. GlennR 03:06am, 10/27/2013

    Well Clarence, it the truth must be know, i didnt watch the fight and spent the afternoon shopping with my SWMBO. Sounds like i missed a fun fight…... relatively speaking as Matt put it.

    Im with you on Quillin, solid, but there’s something missing

  20. Clarence George 02:59am, 10/27/2013

    Ha!  If you mean, Glenn, “a full fight report” on what happened between me and She Who Must Be Obeyed, who “requested” that I accompany her to see “12 Years a Slave”...  My God, what a bore that was.  The antidote was to watch an episode of “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” immediately upon my return home.  Thank you, Netflix!

    Besides, Robert’s synopsis/analysis is sufficiently excellent.  But I’ll add, if I may, how strongly I agree with El Bastardo Magnifico, especially when it comes to Quillin.  He’s good enough, but that’s about all one can say.  I, for one, am not at all impressed by his hitting power.  He beat Rosado, as expected, but his performance didn’t exactly inspire awe.  Nowhere near Golovkin’s class, who’d stop him no later than the middle rounds.

    Speaking of Golovkin, SWMBO claims she gave me the tickets for the November 2 fights at the Garden—she didn’t.  If we don’t get to go, there’s going to be no end of little-girl pouting.  And that’s just me; God knows how SWMBO will behave.

  21. Matt McGrain 02:31am, 10/27/2013

    That was a weirdly fun performance.  Or is it all relative?

  22. Anonymouse 01:37am, 10/27/2013

    Referee Steve Smoger were biased @ this fight…  headbutts, clinching and so on dont be stoped by him… 100%  biased!

  23. GlennR 10:42pm, 10/26/2013

    Thanks Robert, im also expecting a full fight report from Clarence ;)

  24. El Bastardo Magnifico 08:46pm, 10/26/2013

    Good win for the old Alien but he should stay away from the young guns of Kovalev, Stevenson, and Shumenov- they are at this stage going to be too busy, and too strong for this Alien. All three will give this Alien a probe he will not forget and send him to a place where no man has been before. SECOND NOTE—POOR ROSADO WHO. ALTHOUGH THE CUT WAS BAD, CLEARLY IN THE CORNER AS HE SPOKE TO THE REF AND CLEARLY BY HIS ACTIONS UP TO THE POINT OF THE STOPPAGE, WAS HAVING NO PROBLEM SEEING—KID CHOCO IS NOT IN GGG’S LEAGUE AND IF HE FIGHTS GGG HE IS GOING TO GET KNOCKED OUT

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