This summer, live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins will step into the ring once again in pursuit of breaking yet another record as he continued to solidify his legacy as one of the top pugs to ever lace up the leather.
At 48-year-old Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO) has shown no signs of being anywhere near the end of the road, having defeated Tavoris Cloud this past March in claiming the IBF title. Fans and critics alike keep waiting to watch the former middleweight champion to ‘get old’ inside of the ring, yet he continues to dominate each outing.
While Karo Murat (25-1-1, 15 KO) may not have been Hopkins’ first choice as an opponent, as he is anxious to have another crack at Chad Dawson, whom he surrendered the WBC light heavyweight title in 2012, he understands he needs to focus on the opponent in front of him and the task at hand July 13.
“Murat has nothing to lose and everything to gain by fighting me,” said Hopkins. “He knows he is fighting a 48-year-old, but he has to understand that there aren’t any other 48-year-olds like me. I keep saying ‘I’m different’ because it is true and I’m going to prove it once again on July 13. I don’t know a lot about Murat, which makes him a dangerous competitor, but after over two decades in this sport, there isn’t anything I haven’t seen, so I plan on showing the world that I can face anyone at any time and be victorious.”
Murat has been flying under the radar through the majority of his career, and his only loss was at the hands of undefeated WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly. Hopkins’ is the hurdle standing in the way of Murat reaching his dreams of being the top dog in the division, and knows the opportunity he has laid out in front of him.
“It’s like a dream come true,” said Murat. “I’m so happy to have this opportunity. Bernard Hopkins has nothing else to prove and this will be the first fight in my career where I have nothing to lose. I can only win against Hopkins and I plan on retiring him. His biggest strength is his experience, but I will reveal his weaknesses at Barclays Center in front of his own fans. I will be in the best shape of my life and will snatch his belt from under his nose.”
Many expected Hopkins’ career to end against the younger, undefeated Tavoris Cloud in March, and the Executioner showed the world he still has much left in the gas tank. In terms of conditioning the 48-year-old puts boxers half his age to shame, and his unrelenting work ethic and drive to be the best in the world is what continues to keep him at the best of his game.
At this point in the game, each time Bernard Hopkins steps between the ropes of the squared circle it may be for the last time. He knows it, and fans know it, and for that reason something special occurs when the opening bell sounds to commence the first round. Each outing fans get to witness and experience history in the making, and come July 13, the Executioner will undoubtedly go out and leave it all in the ring as he’s been doing throughout his career.