Murat, 30, has been a fringe contender for a long time now after capturing the European title at super-middleweight in 2008, but ultimately failed to dethrone Hopkins’ rival Nathan Cleverly for the WBO title at 175lbs in 2010.
Three victories and a split decision draw with Gabriel Campillo later and Murat finds himself as the mandatory challenger to Hopkins for the IBF light-heavyweight belt tonight. The once-postponed clash pits Murat against the former middleweight king, who as usual is old enough to be his opponents father.
At 48 years-old, Hopkins still goes into the fight as favourite and for me would win this fight hands down nine times out of ten, but something tells me that one time could be on the horizon.
I question whether Hopkins can get up for a fight against Murat having fought higher calibre fights against the likes of Jean Pascal, Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud of late with this outing looking like a banana skin that the American didn’t need.
The self-professed ‘Alien’ has been talking of unifications in his own division and frying some bigger fish in the ilk of Gennady Golovkin and Floyd Mayweather at the lower weights in the build-up, which could mean his eye is not firmly on the ball tonight.
Granted that a points win is unlikely as Hopkins has all the tricks to pull away on the scorecards, although Murat could become the first to ever stop ‘B-Hop’ if he can pin him down and restrict his movement.
The 18-year age gap is the main point of the argument for me as Hopkins continually defies logic, which has to catch up on him at some stage and tonight may be the night that it does.
With some predicting a walk in the park for the previously named ‘Executioner,’ I expect a hard nights’ work in all aspects of the fight, and Hopkins will have to work very hard to retain his world record title belt in what is his 64th pro contest.
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