IBF light-heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins retained his title belt to extend his twilight run by unanimously out-pointing Karo Murat in a scrappy and dirty fight at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
The 48 year-old ‘Alien’ banked ten of the twelve rounds on my card as the German challenger grew increasingly frustrated by Hopkins, who kept picking him off and bamboozling him with his usual tricks and tactics.
Murat, 30, was guilty of several fouls in the fight, even hitting Hopkins when he was down, plus repeated hitting on the break (which he was deducted a point for) and at one time was given two kisses by the American as he turned by back in the middle of the ring.
In an amazing round eight, Hopkins almost put Murat through the ropes with a blatant push, but then proceeded to walk away and talk to the crowd as referee Steve Smoger urged him to turn around.
Hopkins continued to face Murat and then turn away to the fans in his own corner – to their delight, although finished the round strong in what was his most engaging all-action contest in some years.
A couple of sour points did dampen the last portion of the fight as third man Smoger pushed Murat aggressively twice, once at the very last bell flush in the face, which in my book has no place in a boxing ring.
Hopefully it will be picked up on and acted on as Smoger seemed to lap up the limelight of being highly involved in the contest as much as he could be, sporting his now trademark leather gloves.
At the end of the fight there was no controversy though as Hopkins was rightly awarded a wide decision on all three cards with the scores reading 119-108 (twice) and 117-110 to the man who continues to defy logic.
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