The old man once again tests his reflexes and spartan training methods when 48-year old Bernard Hopkins defends his IBF light-heavyweight crown against Karo Murat on Showtime Sports. This is one card where Hopkins, and his attempts to promote the fight citing his middle-age success is being due to his “alien” genes, takes a backseat to the co-feature of Peter Quillin vs. Gabe Rosado, and even to a smaller extent of the opener, which is pretty much an exhibition for undefeated Deontay Wilder.
Let’s get right to the predictions.
OPENER — DEONTAY WILDER (29-0, 29 KOs) VS. NICOLAI FIRTHA (21-10, 8 KOs)
Prediction: The reason to watch this fight is just for the spectacle of a 6’6, 250+ pound man careening to the canvas. Firtha is a lumbering fighter without much head movement, and Wilder is a seek and destroy slugger with massive power and much faster hands. That’s a recipe for a short night. KO1 is probably the safe bet, but I’lll give Firtha a little more credit and say he makes it into the second and loses via a TKO. This should be the last subpar opponent Wilder faces as the rumor persists that he’s due for an early 2014 date against a name opponent.
CO-FEATURE — PETER “KID CHOCOLATE” QUILLIN (WBO TITLIST, 29-0, 21 KOs) vs. GABRIEL ROSADO (21-6, 13 KOs)
Prediction: What a intriguing and solid fight! Rosado is making his third appearance at middleweight this year and is in desperate need for a “W” to avoid a winless 12-month streak. Quillin last fought in April when he dropped Fernando Guerrero twice in route to a seventh round TKO.
There’s been a lot of jawing on both sides. Rosado vows it will be a war and that Quillin’s undefeated record is the result of good political backing. He further stated that he’s faced the better opposition and will drown Quillin in deep waters. On the other hand, Quillin says Rosado’s six losses are indicative of his level and what will happen to him tonight.
Even though Rosado looked bigger than Quillin at the weigh-in, I’m not convinced he belongs at middleweight. I was ringside for his last two fights. Gabe’s fight with Golovkin speaks for itself; he fought hard, but his power at this weight wasn’t much of an issue for GGG. I thought he beat J’Leon Love, but he had issues handling the inside battle due to Love’s size and physical strength.
I don’t see him having an easier time with Quillin, who’s not only physically strong but also explosive with his offense. Rosado’s made it clear he won’t box much and look to make it a war, and that favors the faster and harder puncher in Quillin. Gabe has the heart to survive a few knockdowns so his making it the distance wouldn’t surprise anyone. But in light of the recent tragic death of Frankie Leal, I think the refs will be more cautious and this one gets stopped around the eighth over the vehement protests of Rosado.
MAIN EVENT — BERNARD HOPKINS (53-6, 32 KOs) VS. KARO MURAT (25-1, 15 KOs)
PREDICTION: Don’t expect this one to be competitive. If you’ve never seen a Murat bout, he’s the epitome of mediocre. Nothing stands out. His best punch, a left hook to the body, is a telegraphed shot Hopkins will see a mile away. He’s not fluid on offense and defense — each have to be done one at a time ala Arthur Abraham. Difference being, Abe was a fearsome puncher in his day — Murat has no such luxury.
Hopkins will have his way in this one. He’ll bully Murat inside, counter his slow jab with overhand rights, and get multiple opportunities to clown and drum up B-Hop chants. Hopkins has tried to make some noise about ending his KO drought (10 years), but outside of a cut Murat does seem sturdy enough to withstand the elder statesman’s firepower. Hopkins UD12, a shutout on all three cards.