Bernard "The Alien" Hopkins 54-6-2 (32), entered the ring last night looking like he was going to a Halloween party, dressed as his interpretation of an alien.
BHop left the ring as a super hero after vanquishing 30 year-old Karo Murat, 25-2-1 (15). If you looked close under the Atlantic City arena's lights you would have seen silver stubble on the 48 year-old champ's face.
As he let media know in the immediate aftermath of his unanimous decision over Murat to retain his IBF light-heavyweight crown, "I'm just 14 months away from being 50 ---14 months."
Yup, and as a result of that, we are all talking about an action fight from Hopkins that is unusual, a departure from recent years in his career.
Murat suffered from a nasty cut on his eyelid in the last half of the fight, but the German fighter was not just game, he was a solid opponent, given props from the victor, even if the official score cards read 119-108, 119-108, 117-110.
If the judges went by the punch stats it was easy to see it that way. The breakdown looked like this: .Hopkins landed 247 of 565, including 184 of 373 power shots, to just 147 of 486 for Murat.
The dirty tricks department was in high gear last night as BHop got under the skin of Murat, leading to retaliation which was so obvious, ring referee Steve Smoder was forced to deduct a point from the challenger. Smoder was a very cool customer as he watched the childish antics of Hopkins and Murat's childish attempts to blow off some of his frustration.
In basketball when the referees don't blow an excessive amount of whistles and the action is rough, it's called "letting them play." Smoger didn't make himself the story in a bout in which that could have happened. Congrats to him.
Hopkins remains the champ and gave us a good fight, but he was a nasty brat while it was in progress. Among his antics were planting a kiss on the back of Murat's head, sticking his tongue out at his opponent and then something that takes large stones.
BHop turned his back on Murat and headed to the German's corner in the midst of a round and jawed a bit with them, as he turned his head to look for Murat coming for him, all the while not missing a beat when the two men connected again.
Bratty stuff, but entertaining for the partisan fans in Atlantic City. Hopkins told the crowd after the decision was announced, "Richard Schaefer (Golden Boy Promotions CEO) said we needed to be crowd pleasers. The crowd wanted to see skill and blood so I had some blood to give them."
Turning from The Execution to The Alien looks like it was a good move.