Karo Murat is not, by any account, a superstar now. I haven't met the man or woman who tabs him to be one in the future, either. His best win came back in 2008, against Gabriel Campillo, and he's lost to Nathan Cleverly, which is no scarlet mark against him. But one and all expect Hopkins to have his way with Murat at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City this evening, and maybe even stop the man, achieving his first KO since 2004. So, it isn't inconceivable that a fighter the caliber of Bernard Hopkins might be tempted to look past the German-based challenger, and maybe slack off a bit in training.
Or is it?
Hopkins is almost 49, and lives a lifestyle free from toxicity with a religious zeal. He steers clear of garbage food and only rarely indulges in sugar. He isn't the oldest world champ in the history of the sport, and didn't notch that record string of middleweight title defenses because he underestimates foes. Of all the titlists in the game today, I dare say Hopkins is actually the one guy I'd least suspect of dropping the ball in training camp, assuming he'd have his way with a lower tier talent, like a Murat.
But just out of curiosity, I asked Hopkins' trainer, Naazim Richardson, if B-Hop has EVER slacked off in camp because he knew he was matched against a lesser light.
"No," Richardson said, he's never done that. Not even against Enrique Ornelas, in Dec. 2009, when he won a UD12 but didn't look as sharp as some of us were accustomed to? "No ... he didn't underestimate him, but we didn't have the information on the guy."
Sorry, Karo. I'm guessing you won't be aided in the ring by a misstep by Hopkins in preparation. It's not his way.