Sergey Kovalev might get his wish, as Bernard Hopkins says he "respects and accepts" the IBF's decision to name Kovalev the mandatory challenger, and will defend his title against the red-hot Russian contender.
Hopkins took to Twitter for these comments:
Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO) was due to face Karo Murat on July 13 in Brooklyn, but that fight was canceled when Murat, the former IBF mandatory, had visa issues getting into the States. Following Kovalev's three-round win over Cornelius White last Saturday, he was named the mandatory challenger on Monday.
Early indications from Golden Boy Promotions, particularly Richard Schaefer, revealed the company to be hypocritically lukewarm to the idea, saying that Kovalev may not be an "attractive" opponent due to a lack of notoriety, as if somehow Karo Murat were some level of star fighter. But Hopkins, as you might expect of a 48-year-old legend who continues to make younger men look like the oldster on fight night, doesn't sound like he's interested in giving up his belt to avoid a fight.
Hopefully, GBP and Main Events can get this done. A purse bid is set for July 17 if the two sides can't come to an agreement before then, and a purse bid is probably something Main Events would rather avoid, since it's extremely unlikely that anyone but Golden Boy would win the fight if it comes to that.
This may also put the predictable kibosh on the Cleverly-Kovalev talk that Frank Warren floated yesterday, acting surprised that Kovalev didn't jet over for a press conference on what was supposedly a done deal.