Bernard Hopkins turned his bout with Karo Murat into a brawl and retained his share of the light heavyweight championship with a unanimous decision on Saturday night.
Hopkins (54-6-2) battered Murat for most of the seventh, eighth and ninth rounds to help successfully defend his championship at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
“I really wanted the knockout, but he was tough,” Hopkins said. “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.”
The 48-year-old extended his record as the oldest fighter to defend a major championship. He had winning scores of 119-108, 119-108, 117-110.
Murat (25-2-1) lost a point in the seventh round for hitting after the break and was warned several times for questionable blows. Referee Steve Smoger shoved Murat in the face after another hit after the bell to end the 12th round.
Hopkins retired the “Executioner” nickname he has had for most of his nearly 25-year career and became the “Alien.”
Hopkins walked to the ring in a green mask with black eyes and a cape. He had the Alien emblazoned on the green waistband of his black trunks.
The Philadelphia fighter also had the crowd on his side, with chants of “B-Hop, B-Hop,” echoing through the arena with each right hand in the late rounds.
Hopkins finally busted open Murat in eighth, with cuts above the left eye and the cheek. The blood did not appear to seriously affect Murat.
Murat, born and raised in Iraq before moving to Germany, came out swinging and attacked Hopkins from the opening round.
Hopkins built a successful career with a methodical style of doing just enough in the ring to win, but he answered Murat and they spent most of the bout exchanging big punches.
In the co-main event, Peter Quillin retained the WBO middleweight title with a 10th-round technical knockout of Gabriel Rosado.
Rosado was busted open above the left eye and could not stop bleeding, forcing the ringside doctor to call for the stoppage. Rosado was irate and yelled profanities from the top rope.
“They knew he was getting hurt and they stopped it,” Rosado said. “I was hurting him in the later rounds. I deserve a rematch.”
Quillin, one of the best knockdown fighters in the sport, sent Rosado to the canvas in the second round and was ahead on the three scorecards when the bout was stopped 40 seconds into the 10th.