Bernard Hopkins vs. Karo Murat on July 27th in Brooklyn, New York
By Scott Gilfoid: WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly might not be feeling too good today after the news of IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO’s) agreeing to defend his International Boxing Federation title against his mandatory challenger #3 IBF Karo Murat (25-1-1-, 15 KO’s) on July 27th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. According to ESPN, the 48-year-old Hopkins and Murat have agreed on the fight for July 27th.
It’s not as if Hopkins had a choice in the matter because Murat had already been promised by the IBF to fight the winner of the Hopkins vs. Tavorois Cloud fight regardless of who won the fight. If Hopkins had opted to fight Cleverly next, then he would have been stripped by the IBF for failing to face his mandatory challenger Murat.
Cleverly wants to fight Hopkins in the worst way and he was hoping to be able to face him after Cleverly defends his title against Robin Krasniqi this month on April 20th at the Wembley Arena in London, UK.
Hopkins gave Cleverly a bit of hope saying that he likes the idea of fighting him and complimenting his talent, but Hopkins never said he would agree to fight Cleverly next.
Cleverly may get a fight with Hopkins but it’s not going to happen soon. If he’s lucky he might get a fight with Hopkins near the end of the year, provided that Hopkins doesn’t lose to Murat or find a more interesting opponent to face either at 175 or 168.
Hopkins defeated Cloud last month by a 12 round unanimous decision to capture the IBF light heavyweight title. It was a great performance from Hopkins especially given that he hadn’t fought in 11 months since losing to Chad Dawson by a 12 round decision in April of last year.
Murat, 29, has had mixed success in the past three years, losing to Cleverly by a 10th round TKO in September of 2010, and then beating Christian Cruz and Otis Griffin before fighting to a 12 round draw against Gabriel Campillo in October of 2011 in a fight that many boxing fans felt Murat should have lost. In his last fight, Murat defeated Sandro Siproshvili by a 7th round TKO in June of last year.
Murat is a good body puncher with poor defensive skills. He’s incredibly easy to hit, not big for the weight class, and not very fast. He can hit good to the body but his power doesn’t carry over for head shots.