Murat’s issues forced the postponement of their bout from its originally scheduled date of July 13, allowing Hopkins to rest his 48-year-old bones and to further prepare for the first defense of the IBF light heavyweight title he won by unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud in March.
Hopkins will face Murat at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Oct. 26, a date which, in turn, resulted from the match being moved from Oct. 19 by Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer to avoid a conflict with rival promoter Top Rank’s Mike Alvarado-Ruslan Provodnikov fight on HBO.
“Karo Murat is my mandatory, and he is coming here to take down this 48-year-old champion, except he’s coming three months late,” said Hopkins in a statement from Golden Boy.
“He gave me extra time to spend time with my family, stay in the gym longer to get ready for this fight. I’m going to be so physically and mentally prepared come Oct. 26, Murat will know he is facing a great champion regardless of my age. I feel like a fighter in my 20s not my 40s.”
A former undisputed middleweight champion and RING light heavyweight champion, Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 knockouts) defeated Cloud to extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown. Hopkins first set the record at the age of 46 in May of last year by outpointing Jean Pascal for the WBC’s 175-pound belt.
A 29-year-old resident of Kitzingen, Germany, Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs) is 3-0-1 with two knockouts since being stopped in the 10th round by WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly in September of 2010.
“This fight has been a long time coming. I had some issues with my visa, but those are finally solved. I felt ready in July, and in October, I will feel even more ready. I’ve been awaiting the chance to fight for the IBF title since late 2011, so three months extra is nothing to me,” said Murat.
“Bernard Hopkins is 48 years of age. I guess he has enjoyed the summer. Will he be ready for me? I do not know. What I can say is that I will be at my best on Oct. 26. When I am messing up his old bones, it will make me a star in an instant.”
Photo by Rich Kane-Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com