Hopkins wants to face Cleverly; willing to fight him in UK
By Scott Gilfoid: 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO’s) became the oldest fighter to ever capture a world title last night in beating IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (24-1, 19 KO’s) by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores of 116-112, 117-111 and 116-112 in Brooklyn, New York.
According to Dan Rafael of ESPN, Hopkins would like to face WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KO’s) in a unification bout next, and get this, Hopkins is willing to fight Cleverly in the UK in front of Cleverly’s British fans.
I think Hopkins is going to have to make other plans unless he’s willing to sit for a long time while he waits for Cleverly to face Robin Krasniqi (39-2, 15 KO’s) on April 20th, and then Jurgen Braehmer. The World Boxing Organization already ordered that the Cleverly-Krasniqi winner has to fight Braehmer next, and not someone else. That means Hopkins won’t be able to face Cleverly anytime soon even if he does get past Krasniqi next month at the Wembley Arena in London, UK.
Hopkins needs to look in another direction towards one of the other light heavyweight champions like WBA champion Beibut Shumenov. That would be a good fight for Hopkins because he could pick up another strap, and further cement his position as the best fighter at 175. Ideally, Hopkins needs to lure one of the super middleweight champions to face him at a catchweight of 171, someone like Arthur Abraham or Mikkel Kessler.
Hopkins already said that he doesn’t want to fight Andre Ward, the WBA/WBC super middleweight champion, so he’s out. But that doesn’t mean he won’t take on Kessler or Abraham. I could see him being open to facing one of those guys. I would include Froch among the list but I don’t see him Kessler on May 25th in their fight in London, so there’s no real point in adding his name.