Bernard Hopkins has been ordered to defend his IBF light heavyweight title against rising contender Sergey Kovalev, with a date of July 17 given to reach an agreement before the bout heads to purse bid.
Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KO) was set to face Karo Murat on July 13 in Brooklyn, but that fight fell apart when Murat couldn't get into the U.S. due to visa issues. Kovalev (21-0-1, 19 KO) fought this past weekend, smashing Cornelius White in three rounds. The 30-year-old Russian has made it very clear, as his his team, that he wants to face the 48-year-old legend and boxing's oldest-ever champion.
There is some question as to whether or not Hopkins will want to take this fight. Kovalev is very dangerous on paper, and Bernard has said he wants a unification fight with the likes of Nathan Cleverly, Beibut Shumenov, or Adonis Stevenson in the fall. But there won't be a belt on his side to unify if he doesn't defend against Kovalev, either. So he's between a rock and a hard place. And given his willingness to face Murat, it would look awfully fishy if Hopkins or Golden Boy started questioning the drawing power of Kovalev or anything like that.
Bottom line is that it's a very interesting fight between an all-time great and a guy who is just smashing opponents right now. Hopefully, it happens. If it does, who do you see winning?