Bernard Hopkins does intend to make a mandatory IBF title defense against Karo Murat sometime this year, according to Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, who says that Hopkins wants to fight on, and has talked about also facing Nathan Cleverly, who holds the WBO title.
Hopkins, 48, broke his own record as the oldest man in boxing history to win a world title, beating Tavoris Cloud convincingly over 12 rounds on March 9. For Hopkins, it was probably the last fight he'll ever have on HBO, as the network no longer does business with Golden Boy Promotions, and Hopkins probably won't fight long enough for that to be a different situation.
"When I made the deal for Bernard to fight Tavoris Cloud, I made a deal as well with Sauerland at the same time - which basically said that if Bernard wins, and in case Bernard wants to keep the title and wants to defend it - we already worked out the deal structure back then. So then I had a meeting with Bernard at my office in Los Angeles last Friday, and he informed me that he did decide that he wants to continue with his record making tour, so to speak, and that he wanted to go and defend his title as the oldest fighter ever to defend his title," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
"Now we are going to go and put the fight together. I informed the IBF and I informed Sauerland. All of that happened on Friday and now I'm going to be working on the date and the venue and the TV arrangements."
Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO) will fight at least two times this year, and could make it three if he gets a Murat fight in soon enough, and if Cleverly gets past Robin Krasniqi (they fight on April 20) and then another WBO mandatory, Juergen Braehmer. Hopkins-Cleverly could conceivably happen in late 2013, but more likely would be sometime in the first third of 2014, if it's going to happen at all.
Murat (25-1-1, 15 KO) is a quality fighter, whose only career loss came to Cleverly in 2010. He hasn't actually done anything notable since then, other than getting a debated draw with Gabriel Campillo, but sanctioning body rankings suck and we're all aware of it, and there are a lot of mandatory challengers who have no business in the position, and we're all aware of it, so let's just move on from that. Hopkins-Murat looks like a reality.