Bernard Hopkins retained his IBF light heavyweight title after earning a unanimous decision against Karo Murat, 117-110, 119-108, 119-108.
To the cards. The winner via UD (117-110, 119-108 x 2) & STILL champion @THEREALBHOP, proving once more that age is just a number.— SHOWTIME SPORTS (@SHOsports) October 27, 2013
The 48-year-old Hopkins runs his record to 54-6-2, while Murat falls to 25-2-1. The win also makes Hopkins the oldest person to ever defend a world title.
48-year-old Bernard Hopkins retains his light heavyweight title. He's the oldest fighter to defend a world title in boxing history.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 27, 2013
Hopkins was the deserved winner, especially when you possibly take into account any sort of champion's advantage. Murat didn't do enough to take the fight to the champ and often found himself on the back foot. It's shocking to think that a fighter 18 years his opponent's junior would be timid in the ring.
That probably speaks more to the longevity of Hopkins, though, and the respect he received from Murat. Or perhaps the talent gap between the two was just that large.
Speaking on the fight, ESPN's Dan Rafael provided a statement from Hopkins, "The plan was to let the dog follow the bone into the dark alley. He doesn't know what he's about to get into, but he's waiting. You stalk him. He doesn't know what he has gotten himself into."
One of the more surprising aspects of the fight was how aggressive Hopkins was. This is a fighter whose last knockout came all the way back in 2004. "B-Hop" has proven to be very successful by dragging out fights and relying on his defense.
Hopkins looked to be feeling out Murat in the early rounds and then devised a game plan for how to go on the offensive in the second half of the fight.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix thought the champion had one of his most aggressive performances in years.
Hopkins clearly has no fear of Murat's power. He has been more aggressive than I've seen him in years. Exchanging a bunch.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) October 27, 2013
Mixed in with the actual boxing were some of the more surreal scenes you'll ever see in a ring.
When one guy (Hopkins) wears an alien mask into the ring, you have to know you're going to be in for a long night.
I will see your quirky sports story and raise you a 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins in an alien costume pic.twitter.com/mJUB8cxrUa— Alex McClintock (@axmcc) October 27, 2013
Apparently, Hopkins has changed his name from "The Executioner" to "The Alien," according to Rafael, which makes sense because you have to wonder if he's actually of this world.
"I'm a freak. I'm an alien," Hopkins said, referring to the new nickname -- "The Alien" -- that he gave himself for this fight, after years of being known as "The Executioner."
"Aliens don't have years, months, days or minutes," he said. "We're aliens."
B-Hop was doing his best to throw Murat off his game. He stuck his tongue out after getting tagged to try and show that he wasn't phased, and he shoved Murat in the face for no other reason other than to rile his opponent up. He also kissed Murat's head at one point.
As you'd expect, the 30-year-old German had more than enough of Hopkins' antics. When the champion's momentum took him down in the sixth round, Murat saw an opportunity to get a couple of extra blows in.
Boxing writer Ryan Songalia was astounded by how crazy this fight turned out to be.
So far, Hopkins has kissed Murat twice behind the head, Murat has hit Hopkins twice while he was down. Better than I expect #HopkinsMurat— Ryan Songalia (@ryansongalia) October 27, 2013
The antics between the two fighters helped to make the spectacle that much more entertaining. The early rounds lacked much drama and excitement. Then, at about the fifth round, when Hopkins kissed Murat, the flight took a turn toward the bizarre and didn't come back.
At least after that, both guys started going at one another, and this turned into an actual fight.
Hopkins deserves all of the plaudits, though he should be criticized a bit for some of his unprofessional behavior. At the end of the night, he's still the champ.