On October 26, 2013, 48-year-old boxing legend Bernard Hopkins will return to the ring to face Karo Murat. Hopkins will defend his IBF Light Heavyweight championship at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
In order for Hopkins to continue to defeat father time, he'll need to mix the proper precautions with the perfect precision.
Hopkins, 48, will enter his 64th career fight and attempt to extend a career that defies the laws of age in athletics. While many retire between the ages of 35 and 40, Hopkins continues to step into the ring and battle for division titles.
On Oct. 26, Hopkins will look to continue his path to unparalleled longevity.
The question is, what must he do to succeed?
It's difficult to diagnose a 48-year-old boxer considering we rarely see fighters reach that age during their career. Fortunately, it is manageable to acknowledge the factors that go into winning a fight.
Here's the perfect storm for Hopkins to win big.
Combatting Speed with Precision
No matter how incredible Hopkins' longevity may be, there comes a time in which the human body stops functioning as it used to. Hopkins has defied that logic for quite some time, but his speed isn't quite what it used to be.
Against Murat, Hopkins must use his precision to combat the German's speed.
Murat, 30, is an undeniable knockout threat who uses a combination of speed and power to overcome his opponents. 15 of his 25 wins have come by knockout, including his most recent bout, when Murat earned a TKO over Sandro Siproshvili.
By comparison, Hopkins hasn't won a fight via knockout since 2004.
What this all adds up to is Hopkins needing to keep this match at a fair distance by using his combination of length and accuracy. If he's able to, he'll avoid the big punches and maintain a steady pace to establish his control of the fight.
From there, it's all about keeping his eye on the prize.
According to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, Hopkins believes that he could defeat pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. Hopkins was reluctant to answer questions about that dream fight, but eventually opened up with words of confidence.
The Executioner believes he could slay the monster known as Money.
“Floyd, his skills are so out there that he can risk going up to 160,” Hopkins said. “It isn’t the weight that is going to win the fight, it’s the skills. The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The only guy who is going to beat a guy like Floyd Mayweather is a master chess player. And who is the master chess player? I’ll go back to 160. It’s the biggest old [man] fight. Everyone from the nursing home will be watching.”
Comedy aside, it would be a very intriguing fight.
Hopkins made a point to state that he's more focused on his current fight than what could be, and that's the way it needs to be. Murat may not be a household name, but he's a dangerous fighter who can strike at any moment.
That danger becomes maximized when the fighter Murat faces is less than 15 months from 50.
Fortunately, Hopkins hasn't experienced much trouble doing this against fighters with significantly greater name-value than Murat. Unfortunately, that doesn't make him immune to a letdown.
If Hopkins is to avoid the upset here, he'll need to value caution against a fighter with strong fists.