The play Marat/Sade is about class struggle and suffering, which is a subtext, if not an Ur-text, of the fight game. It has been described as a “play within a play,” which also relates to boxing.
One of the characters in Marat/Sade was the notorious Marquis de Sade, the man for whom the word sadism was coined. It’s a certainty that Karo Murat has a relationship with pain. He’s human after all, and into every life a little pain must fall. But he’s also a boxer, so his connection to pain is more nuanced than that of us noncombatants.
On July 27th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs), still riding high after taking Tavoris Cloud to school last month, defends his IBF light heavyweight title against #1 ranked Karo Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs).
The 29-year-old fighting out of Kitzingen, Bayern, Germany, may seem undeserving of the honor of fighting the grand old man of pugilism, but he only has a single loss, a 10th-round knockout at the hands of Nathan Cleverly in 2010.
Murat has fought some recognizable names besides Cleverly. He defeated Gabriel Campillo in 2008 and 2011, Cristian Sanavia in 2008 and 2009, and Tommy Karpency in 2010. But he also stopped the legendary Gabor Balogh in 2007, who was 1-23-3 at the time.
“From what I’ve seen of Murat,” Hopkins told ESPN.com, “he’s a durable guy and a ‘B’ fighter. But I have to look at him like he’s an ‘A’ fighter. He fought Cleverly and he got some experience. He’s rough and tough, so you got to come up with a game plan, especially at age 48.”
Much has been made of Hopkins’ ability to perform at an advanced age, and just in case anyone has forgotten, Bernard is more than happy to remind them.
“It’s an obligation I have to do now,” continued Hopkins. “If there was a better option, maybe I’d do it. But there is no real option that’s better right now with all the other guys fighting other fights right now. So there’s no other better option right now financially or historically than doing this fight and getting it out of the way, and at least you don’t get stripped of the title. But I got bigger fish to fry after I execute this guy.”
We love a good fish fry as much as the next guy and wonder what B-Hop has in mind.
Cleverly is a possibility, as is the winner of the May 25 rematch between Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler. Hopkins also expressed interest in the winner of the all-Canadian affair between Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal, even though there’s no unfinished between him and Pascal, and it remains to be seen if Bute is still a marquee fighter.
B-Hop may be looking past Karo Murat, but Murat is not looking past Hopkins.
“I will hurt Hopkins,” he said. “Like him, I live by the motto that it’s not hard, but you have to train properly. He will get to feel this. “