Bernard Hopkins' return to the ring on March 9 against Tavoris Cloud -- official other than pending IBF approval as a title fight, which will almost surely happen -- will air on HBO, and not on Showtime, from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Hopkins, who turns 48 next month, will look to break his own record as the oldest man to win a world title in boxing history against 30-year-old Cloud, who by that time will have been out of the ring for 14 months.
From The RING and Richard Schaefer:
"Assuming the IBF will grant permission and will sanction the fight for the IBF world title, it would be Bernard Hopkins versus Tavoris Cloud. And there will be an opening bout there as well, which would most likely be Keith Thurman. The big news is that fight will be on HBO."
While one might wonder why HBO would attach themselves again to Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO), whose last two fights have been entertainment duds against Chad Dawson, one must also remind oneself that Hopkins draws good numbers on HBO; it's pay-per-view where he's a notable flop in recent years in that department. Hopkins talks up a good fight, and as far as Hopkins fights go, a matchup with Cloud (24-0, 19 KO) is enticing enough. Cloud is the sort of aggressive fighter that Hopkins can shine against, rather than a tricky, (exceedingly) patient southpaw like Dawson.
Thurman (19-0, 18 KO) has been relatively impressive in a pair of HBO fights in 2012, stopping Orlando Lora and, more notably, Carlos Quintana. He's been calling out anyone and everyone at 147 and 154, but it's probably realistic to expect another minor step up from Quintana, or even a sideways step.
As for the Daniel Ponce De Leon vs Jayson Velez fight that was originally rumored for the Hopkins undercard, Schaefer says that will move to March 2, and be paired with Sharif Bogere vs Richard Abril, and possibly Gary Russell Jr's next fight. Most likely, that would air on Showtime.