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Hopkins vs. Cloud approved by IBF for March 9th

Bernard Hopkins Tavoris CloudBy Allan Fox: The IBF has reportedly approved the March 9th fight between IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (24-0, 19 KO’s) and 47-year-old Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO’s), according to RingTV. The Hopkins-Cloud winner will have to defend the title next against IBF mandatory challenger Karo Murat, which might take some of the excitement out of picking up the title if you’re Hopkins.

Should he beat Cloud, Hopkins will no doubt be more interested in facing someone with a name or at least a large following like WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly.

Hopkins is turning 48 on January 15th, which will make him the oldest boxing world champion of all time if he can beat Cloud. It’s not going to be easy because Hopkins hasn’t looked good since he beat WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal in May of 2011.

By the time Hopkins faces Cloud on March 9th, it’ll have been nearly two years since Hopkins last won a fight and it’s asking a lot of him to beat one of the better light heavyweights in the division in 30-year-old Cloud.

It’s not that Cloud is a great fighter, but he’s good enough and young enough to cause a lot of problems with Hopkins’ style of fighting. To win over the judges, Hopkins is going to have to throw enough punches to make it close enough for him to get a narrow decision.

It goes without saying that Cloud will outwork Hopkins in that fight, but if Hopkins can make it a closer margin each round he’ll have a chance to win the fight.

Hopkins will probably have to use his clinch and grab technique to have a real chance at winning this fight because he’s going to need to limit some of the punches that Cloud throws.

Hopkins has been out of the ring since losing to Chad Dawson by a 12 round majority decision in April 2012. That’ll mean Hopkins may be rusty against Cloud because that’s an 11 month layoff. However, Cloud hasn’t fought since winning a controversial 12 round split decision over Gabriel Campillo in February of 2012. That’s a long time to be out of the ring for a prime fighter like Cloud.

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