Karo Murat has fired a warning shot to Bernard Hopkins on the eve of their world title showdown in Atlantic City telling the legendary fighter he's going to make him look all of his 48 years.
The Philadelphian prizefighter etched his name into the history books long before he broke his own record by becoming the oldest world champion ever, last March, when he outpointed Tavoris Cloud to take the IBF light-heavyweight crown.
Now, his German based challenger believes that the time to write the final chapter in the story of boxing's real life Benjamin Button has begun, with his fists ready to ink the final pages, fiercely detailing the dethroning of the timeless king.
"I've always followed his career up to when I was like 12 or 13 years old. I appreciate his accomplishments. He was the undisputed world champion at middleweight. He's now the world champion at light heavyweight. I have all the respect in the world for him," said Murat.
"But, I'm in real good shape. I'm happy to get this chance. I'm going to surprise a lot of people. I'm 30 years old now, and I'm physically and mentally on top of my game. You know, the time is now to beat Hopkins.
"You see the mileage on him. So to me he looks like a 48 year old. He doesn't have the speed anymore he may have had at 30 years old. He tries to clinch a lot and to win the fight through his experience and that's it. I respect him, but I will try to beat him," he said.
However, the man who was famed for his 'Executioner' moniker before reinventing himself as 'The Alien' due to, 'not being from this world', has seen it all before and believes that while Murat may not be the biggest name he has fought he's certainly not taking him lightly.
"I know that there's light at the end of the tunnel," said Hopkins. "In this case, there's what I consider a superfight at the end of this title, whether it's my division or some other division.
"But I know one thing, before you get to the Tootsie Roll you've got to do a lot of licking. That's not in a disrespectful way, but it's in a way of knowing that you got to get through the prize before you get down into that box of the Cracker Jacks and you get the prize.
"You've got to get through these things. These things are just part of business, whether you like it or not. I'm treating it like it's a superfight and knowing that I have to be on my A game no matter who I'm fighting at this stage of my career, especially when the opponent is not really known in the States, like myself."
* Watch Hopkins vs Murat live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch.437/Virgin Ch.546) this Sunday at 2am. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe. Tags: Bernard Hopkins , Karo Murat , Hopkins-Murat , Hopkins vs. Murat