Oct 29 2013, 1:18am CDT | by Poch de la Rosa
The 48-year-old Hopkins, already the oldest world champion in boxing history, defeated Murat by unanimous decision in front of 6,324 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City when he gained momentum and the upper hand in the latter rounds. The final scores from the judges read 119-108, 119-108 and 117-110.
The champion wanted to go for the knockout but couldn't pull it off, giving credit to his opponent for his toughness.
"I really wanted the knockout, but he was tough. You know you've got to take some punches. Yeah, I have a little bit of blood on me, but this is what they want to see. They wanted to see the knockout, so I took some shots."
Hopkins first became the oldest fighter to win a world title two years ago when he beat Canadian Jean Pascal by unanimous decision in a rematch held in Montreal. The win eclipsed the previous record held by George Foreman.
On the other hand, Murat thought a cut over his left eye was his biggest impediment. He said, "Bernard is a good boxer. But I know if it was not due to these cuts, I would have been in better shape and I could have won."
The fight started out slowly in typical Hopkins fashion, featuring several clinches which he initiated. Murat made his presence felt in the third round with a solid right hand, which Hopkins countered with a right of his own.
Hopkins showed off his flamboyant side in the fifth round when Murat had his back turned on him after a clinch. The champion kissed Murat on the neck and on the back of his head to the delight of the crowd in attendance.
In the sixth, referee Steve Smoger issued a warning to Murat after he hit Hopkins twice when the latter was on the mat after a slip.
Hopkins then unleashed a powerful left-right combination followed by a body shot in the seventh. He continued to dominate Murat with several hard left hooks which prompted the champion to yell at his challenger's corner to stop the fight.
However, Murat would not go away easily. He denied Hopkins his first knockout victory since he stopped Oscar de la Hoya in 2004 for the undisputed middleweight championship.
For the fight, ESPN's Dan Rafael reported on Oct. 28 that Hopkins connected with 44 percent accuracy (247 of 565 punches) as opposed to Murat's 30 percent (147 of 486).
Hopkins upped his record to 54-6-2 while Murat fell to 25-2-1.
Poch de la Rosa
Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.
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