IBF orders Bernard Hopkins to face Sergey Kovalev – Breaking news!
By Allan Fox: IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO’s) got some bad news today from the International Boxing Federation who have ordered the 48-year-old Hopkins to defend his IBF 175 lb. strap against unbeaten #1 IBF Sergey Kovalev (21-0, 19 KO’s) without the possibility of Hopkins slipping in a title defense against another opponent.
Chris Mannix of Sportsillustrated tweeted this moments ago: “IBF has ordered @THEREALBHOP to defend his title against Sergey Kovalev immediately. Negotiations must be complete by July 17, or purse bid. IBF made it clear neither fighter may take another fight. Main Events’s Kathy Duva tells SI she has already sent an email to @GoldenBoyBoxing’s Richard Schaefer to begin negotiations.”
It’s unclear how Hopkins will take this news. He was supposed to have been defending his title against his mandatory challenger Karo Murat next month, but the German based fighter was unable to get a visa to travel to the United States to take the fight. Hopkins’ promoters at Golden Boy Promotions were said to have had several options they were looking at for Hopkins to fight instead. It’s doubtful that the hard hitting Russian Kovalev was in their plans.
Kovalev, 30, is coming off of a 3rd round TKO win over Cornelius White last Friday night on June 14th in an impressive power punching display from Kovalev. He knocked White down three times in the 3rd round before the fight was finally halted. Kovalev immediately called out Hopkins after the fight. It seems that the IBF was listening to him, and chose to order Hopkins to take the fight.
Kovalev is going to be a really tough fight for Hopkins because this is easily the biggest puncher Hopkins has faced in many years and it’s going to be difficult for him to get through this fight without getting hit with a lot of big shots from the hard hitting Russian.
Hopkins has talked about wanting to fight WBO light heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly and IBF/WBA super middleweight champion Carl Froch. The interest hasn’t been returned on Froch’s part, but Cleverly is eager to face Hopkins. Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen for a while now. Hopkins is going to have to figure out a way to get through the Kovalev fight in one piece before he starts looking for bigger money fights like the Cleverly bout.
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