Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Bernard Hopkins-Karo Murat: The Pre-Fight Report Card

by Cliff Rold

Imhotep, Pythagoras, Mozart, Edison, Einstein…

…their names live on long after they have left this plane.  Moments might be fleeting, but genius lives forever.

Bernard Hopkins hasn’t written a great medical treatise, composed an enduring symphony, or invented the light bulb but, like those men, he is a genius in his field. 

Long after he finally retires, long after he too has left this plane, he will be remembered as such.  Just as fighters like him were able to study the work of men like Ezzard Charles, or draw inspiration from another ageless wonder like Archie Moore, those who wish to unlock the formula of ring immortality will study Hopkins one day.

He’s 48 years old and, while he isn’t the outright champion of the Light Heavyweight division, he again holds one of its more sought after belts.  After five straight contests against men rated among the top four or five in the 175 lb. field of now, he takes on what for most is a run of the mill mandatory challenger in Iraqi-born Karo Murat.

Is anything really run of the mill at Hopkins’ age? 

Let’s go to the report card.

The Ledgers

Bernard Hopkins

Age: 48

Current Title: IBF Light Heavyweight (2013-Present, 1st Attempted Defense)
Previous Titles: Lineal/Ring World Middleweight (2001-05, 6 Defenses); IBF Middleweight (1995-2005, 20 Defenses); WBC Middleweight (2001-05, 7 Defenses); Ring/WBA Middleweight (2001-05, 6 Defenses); WBO Middleweight (2004-05, 1 Defense); Ring Light Heavyweight (2006-08, 1 Defense)
; Lineal/Ring/WBC World Light Heavyweight (2011-12, 1 Defense)

Height: 6’1

Weight: 172.5 lbs.

Average Weight - Five Most Recent Fights:   174.15 lbs.
Hails from: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Record: 53-6-2, 32 KO, 2 No Contests
Rankings: #1 (BoxingScene, TBRB, Ring, BoxRec); #2 (ESPN)

Record in Major Title Fights: 24-5-2, 13 KO, 2 No Contests
 (including Ring Mag. Title fights)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 18 (Roy Jones L12, UD12; Lupe Aquino UD12; John David Jackson TKO7; Glen Johnson TKO11; Simon Brown TKO6; Keith Holmes UD12; Felix Trinidad TKO12; Carl Daniels RTD10; William Joppy UD12; Oscar De La Hoya KO9; Jermain Taylor L12, L12; Antonio Tarver UD12; Winky Wright UD12; Joe Calzaghe L12; Kelly Pavlik UD12; Jean Pascal D12, UD12; Chad Dawson NC2, L12; Tavoris Cloud UD12)

Vs.

Karo Murat
Age: 30

Current Title/Previous Titles: 1st Major Title Shot
Height: 5’10 ½
Weight: 174 lbs.

Average Weight - Five Most Recent Fights:   174.95 lbs.
Hails from: Kitzingen, Bayern, Germany
Record: 25-1-1, 15 KO
Rankings: #6 (Ring); #8 (ESPN), #9 (BoxingScene)
Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: 17 (Cristian Sanavia UD12, TKO10; Gabriel Campillo MD12, D12; Nathan Cleverly TKO by 10)

Grades
Pre-Fight: Speed – Hopkins B; Murat B
Pre-Fight: Power – Hopkins B; Murat B
Pre-Fight: Defense – Hopkins A+; Murat B
Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Hopkins A+; Murat B

Murat has waited over a year for his shot, last to scratch in June 2012.  He’s likely to be hungry and hasn’t shied away from the moment so far.  Could the layoff affect his stamina?  Against Hopkins, often a minimalist offensively in his older years, it might not matter.  Timing could.  Hopkins remains a hard target. 

Joe Calzaghe and Chad Dawson were able to outhustle him with different approaches in the last five years but none others could.  Against Cloud, he landed enough to keep the then-reigning titlist at bay while also employing subtle movement, effective clinches, and just generally always keeping the fight under control.  

His best physical tests in recent years came against Pascal.  Met with superior speed and an unorthodox approach, he was dropped twice in their first fight and rocked late in the second.  He overcame with all the little things he does well.

Hopkins controls space, is always relaxed, and outside the few rough spots with Pascal, remains tough to catch clean. 

Murat has enough hustle to make this interesting if he stays within himself.  Murat isn’t super fast but he has good hand speed and on the draw might be quicker than Hopkins.  He’s a solid fundamental fighter who throws his jab hard and straight, hooks well off it, and fires the right true.

Defensively, Murat can get himself handcuffed, keeping his hands high and elbows tight but he doesn’t let that kill his activity level.  He might be, in the ring, a far more formidable foe than a Cloud was on paper. 

Hopkins has a way of killing activity anyways.  Murat tends to need to be set to get off effectively and Hopkins is likely to show him every angle there is, forcing the younger man to think and reset.  Murat has been stopped once, but by a volume puncher in Nathan Cleverly.  Hopkins isn’t likely to multiply punishment all night so the battle could be against frustration.

Much of that will depend on the tactics Hopkins employs.  As great as he is, Hopkins isn’t afraid to make a fight ugly and can sometimes lapse into a very negative approach that employs lots of holding.  Murat has to have an answer for that.  Specifically, he has to throw even when he might not land and hope he gets points for trying to make the fight if Hopkins is trying to stop one from breaking out.

Activity worked for Murat in two fights, a win and draw, against Campillo.  There was a case for defeat in each contest but his spirited efforts made it close.  He’s almost two decades younger than the man in front of him.  He should believe he could outwork Hopkins, even if that sounds better than the challenge of it.  

The Pick

Murat is an interesting challenger.  He fights with energy, mixes it up to the head and body, and doesn't just fight in one direction.  He might be a sort of trap fight for the older Hopkins, able to steal rounds with work rate.  Will Hopkins let him work though?  The crafty veteran knows more about boxing than most of his youthful current contemporaries will ever learn and already knew it 15 years ago.  Murat has been stopped before but that was against a Cleverly who set a different pace than Hopkins will.  Everyone gets old eventually and Hopkins losing at any point as he nears 50 is no shock but Murat doesn't seem the right man for the job.  The old legend is likely to pick up another duke by decision on a night that has some folks checking their watches by the end.

Genius can be genius after all without being pretty.

Cliff’s Notes…

Hopkins is not the only notable name in action this week…For all the talk of Gennady Golovkin, WBO Middleweight titlist Peter Quillin (29-0, 21 KO) has arguably as good a resume as a professional and is getting better with each fight.  It might be the case that the two best Middleweights in the world are already he and GGG.  This is a 'comparison shopping' type fight where one can look to one-up a rival against a common foe.  Challenger Gabriel Rosado (21-6, 13 KO) gave Golovkin a spirited effort.  Quillin may look for a big performance to combat the hype of his fellow titlist.  The pick is Quillin by stoppage…In the UK, we have what should be a star-type showing for Kell Brook (30-0, 20 KO).  Vyacheslav Senchenko (34-1, 23 KO) was beat solid by the lighter hitting Paulie Malignaggi and was well behind against Hatton before landing a body nuke.  Brook isn't old, has speed, and is sturdy.  All of that adds up to a mid-rounds finish for the rising Welterweight contender.

Report Card Picks 2013: 41-24

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by sugarsmosley_ on 10-26-2013

[QUOTE=Marcov;13875338]I hope this is a tune up to something bigger, and not the comedic suggestion of a Mayweather bout.[/QUOTE] Hopkins vs. Pascal 3 what, you wanted something else?

Comment by broblin on 10-26-2013

LOL hey Al Bernstein is a good boxing analyst, looks aside. I hope Bernard knocks this joker out in the first round. You're not a fan of the sport unless you're cheering for a guy like Hopkins. He defies everything…

Comment by b morph on 10-26-2013

i wouldn't have hopkins power at a B, thats ridiculous, at this points it's a C+ at best, hasn't KOed anyone since oscar and i doubt he gets it against murat put him in against stevenson, thats a challenge

Comment by crold1 on 10-26-2013

[QUOTE=OJ Simpson;13875585]Just subscribed to showtime. Subscribed for the sole purpose of watching the end of Bernard Hopkins tomorrow. Will be taping and watching in the morning the next day. I do not intend to waste half my time watching self…

Comment by OJ Simpson on 10-26-2013

Just subscribed to showtime. Subscribed for the sole purpose of watching the end of Bernard Hopkins tomorrow. Will be taping and watching in the morning the next day. I do not intend to waste half my time watching self loving…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (8)
Top Headlines Joshua: I Took Klitschko Fight Because Our Division Needed It Jacobs' Trainer Would Like Gennady Golovkin Rematch - Next Team Andrade: Lara Turned Us Down Twice; Never Talked Money Koncz: Brisbane Crown Will Be Cheering For Pacquiao, Not Horn Joseph Parker's Handlers View Razvan Cojanu as Dangerous Fight Kevin Johnson Vows To Break Down Kubrat Pulev, Make Him Quit Catterall Feels Walsh is Capable of Shocking Gervonta Davis Photos: Pacquiao, Horn - Go Face To Face in Melbourne Photo: Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Already Down To 169.5-Pounds Video: Hearn on Joshua-Wilder, British Scene, Brook-Spence, Fury Horn: I Can Stop Pinching Myself - The Pacquiao Fight is Real! Vitali Klitschko: I'm More Than Sure My Brother Knocks Joshua Out! Video: Johnny Nelson Talks Joshua vs. Klitschko Anthony Joshua - Is He Really Ready For This? Video: Loeffler Discusses Golovkin's Future Path, Joshua-Klitschko Chavez Jr. Down To 169.5-Pounds With 10 Days To Canelo Fight! Video: Malignaggi Breaks Down Klitschko-Joshua, Canelo-Chavez Loeffler: Golovkin Will Wait, Focus on Canelo-Chavez Winner Video: Errol Spence Discusses Kell Brook Showdown, Training Video: Tony Bellew on The Future, Possible Opponents, More Video: Vitali Klitschko Talks Wladimir vs. Anthony Joshua Bout Joshua's Coach: Our Job To Prove Klitschko is No Longer Dominant Porter-Berto Bout Drew Average of 468,000 Viewers on Showtime Giovani Santillan Will Face Juan Garcia Mendez on May 19, Ontario Roach: Golovkin Exposed a Bit in Last Fight, Cotto Can Beat Him Joshua Can Be a Nasty Motherf***er in The Ring, Says Mentor Photos: Anthony Joshua, Wladimir Klitschko Open Workouts Emmanuel Folly, Unbeaten Prospect, Arrested on Child Porn Charges Joshua: Klitschko's Chin Can't Be Bad; He Reigned for 10 Years Heather Hardy, Charles Conwell Return on May 18, Broadway Boxing Zolani Tete is Now Elevated To FULL WBO Bantamweight Champion Klitschko Brothers vs. British Fighters - A Review and Analysis Frank Bruno: Joshua Could Potentially KO Klitschko "Very Early" Helenius Pounds 'Chisora' Heavy Bag in Camp, Vows Repeat Win Arum: American Fans, Writers Are Warming Up To Pacquiao-Horn Saunders: Tyson Fury Training With Us, Getting in Good Shape Joshua Doesn’t Think He’ll Make More Money Than Mayweather Matthysse's Promoters Don't Know What to Expect in Comeback Bout Rozier: Khurtsidze Will Pressure, Beat Down Billy Joe Saunders! Wilder: Klitschko Needed to be Humbled; Losing Inspired Him
Advertisement
Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement