Weekend Review: Hopkins throws us a curve
Bernard Hopkins: Almost everyone thought Bernard Hopkins would beat Karo Murat, a solid, tough fighter with slow hands and little power. No one expected it to be so much fun to watch, though. Hopkins is 48. He’s supposed to take few risks and do just enough to win to preserve energy, as he had done in recent fights. Instead, he stunned onlookers by taking it to the Iraqi-German, actually fighting toe-to-toe at times – and getting the better of it – as the crowd Saturday in Atlantic City, N.J., roared. And he found time to clown, kissing Murat (25-2-1, 15 knockouts) at one point and chatting with Murat’s cornermen at another. It was as enjoyable as any Hopkins fight in recent memory. Let’s reiterate one important element to this: The man will be 50 in 15 months. The cautious Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs) we usually see is astounding; the aggressive one we saw Saturday is something beyond that. He’s not the alien he was dressed up to be, though. In fact, he’s one of us. And that makes us very proud.
Peter Quillin vs. Gabriel Rosado: A lot happened in this fight, which was on the Hopkins-Murat card. First, it was a good scrap. We knew Rosado was tough and determined but he was surprisingly effective. Forget the scores at the time of the stoppage, 90-80, 87-83 and 89-81 after nine rounds. The fight was more competitive than that. More questionable judging. The 10th-round stoppage was appropriate, though. The cut above his left eye apparently didn’t bother Rosado, who protested the doctor’s decision because he could taste Quillin’s WBO title, but it obviously was huge and deep. The officials had no choice. Rosado probably wouldn’t have won anyway, as he needed a knockout, but he didn’t know that at the time. In the end, Rosado (21-7, 13 KOs) emerged with at least as much respect as Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs). The Philadelphian is more than an “opponent”; he’s a good fighter. And Quillin might not be quite as good as we thought.
Another fight, another knockout for Deontay Wilder (30-0, 30 KOs). He had to work a little for this one. Nicolai Firtha (21-11-1, 8 KOs) is no contender but he comes to fight. That allowed him to last longer than most of Wilder’s opponents, although a fourth-round knockout isn’t much of a stand. Wilder says he’s ready for bigger game. Depends how big. He’s is fighting with poise and knows when to go for the knockout. However, he still could do a better job of keeping his opponents at the end of a long jab to set up his power shots, a la Wladimir Klitschko. And, even if this sounds odd given his 6-foot-7 stature, Wilder could probably use more beef on his frame to make him more sturdy. He weighed in at 224 pounds, which isn’t much for his height. ÔÇª Kell Brook (31-0, 21 KOs) scored his most spectacular knockout Saturday in Sheffield, England, putting VyacheslavSenchenko (34-2, 23 KOs) down twice before stopping him with a right-left combination in the fourth round. Brook also demonstrated resilience, as he too was hurt in the final round. Brook, who has had scheduled fights with IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander scuttled because of injuries, could face the winner of the Dec. 7 Alexander-Shawn Porter fight. ÔÇª Olympic super heavyweight champ Anthony Joshua (2-0, 2 KOs) stopped veteran Paul Butlin (14-20, 3 KOs) in two rounds on the Brook-Senchenko card. ÔÇª Arthur Abraham (38-4, 28 KOs) easily outpointed Giovanni De Carolis (20-5, 10 KOs) on Saturday, which apparently sets up a rubber match with WBO super middleweight champ Robert Stieglitz. Wow, can’t wait for that one.