By Keith Idec
Bernard Hopkins hasn’t won a fight by knockout in nine years.
The IBF light heavyweight champion is well aware that the last time he knocked out an opponent was when he stopped promotional partner Oscar De La Hoya with a body shot in September 2004. He predicted after Friday’s weigh-in that his dubious drought will end Saturday night in Atlantic City during his mandatory defense against Germany’s Karo Murat.
“My drought is going to be over [Saturday night],” Hopkins told Showtime’s Steve Farhood after weighing in at 172½ pounds. “The last time I had a knockout was 2004. I need a knockout [Saturday night]. I need a knockout. I’m going to be smart with it, but I’m going to need a knockout. That’s something. I’ve got to get this itch off my back.”
The 30-year-old Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs) was stopped by Wales’ Nathan Cleverly (26-1, 12 KOs) in his lone professional loss three years ago. Murat made a throat-slashing gesture as he stood face-to-face Friday with the 48-year-old legend from Philadelphia, though Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs, 2 NC) sensed that Murat was intimidated.
“I see a game guy, but scared,” said Hopkins, who is 8-4-1 (1 NC) since he knocked out De La Hoya. “This guy’s coming to fight, but I’m going to break his will early and I’m going to give a good show for my people.”
According to several Internet sports books, Hopkins is heavily favored to beat Murat (-800), but not to win their scheduled 12-round bout by knockout or technical knockout (+350). Showtime will televise the Hopkins-Murat match as the main event of a tripleheader from Boardwalk Hall (9 p.m. ET/PT).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.