By Rick Reeno
Sources with knowledge of the situation have advised BoxingScene.com that there is serious interest from HBO to put together a fight between WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (24-0-1, 22KOs), if he beats Blake Caparello (19-0-1, 6KOs) next month, and IBF/WBA champion Bernard 'The Alien' Hopkins (55-6-2, 32KOs).
For most of 2013, HBO was building up a unification fight between Kovalev and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson (24-1, 20KOs).
A few months ago, Stevenson jumped ship to rival network Showtime, with the obvious goal of facing Hopkins. Kathy Duva of Main Events, who felt confident that she reached an agreement with promoter Yvon Michel for Stevenson-Kovalev unification on HBO, filed a federal lawsuit against Michel, Stevenson, Showtime, Al Haymon and former Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.
Some insiders believe the legal situation surrounding Stevenson could potentially push back a Hopkins unification until 2015. And given that Hopkins is 49-years-old, it's no surprise that he's open to explore every lucrative possibility.
There is also no surprise that HBO is interested in Hopkins, because Kovalev's options at 175-pounds are running a little dry.
While not revealing too many details regarding some of the discussions going on behind the scenes, Hopkins did confirm two things to BoxingScene - 1. There have been no serious negotiations to make a fight Stevenson. 2. Hopkins is open to facing Kovalev next.
"My thing is this, I have to look out for my position, and my team is looking out for what my situation is - and Kovalev might be a more viable quicker [fight to make], from what I'm understand, than Stevenson is. The perception is, is that Kovalev is a killer and Stevenson doesn't want to fight him, he wants to fight an old man. If that's the case, I'll knock off Kovalev first, because I believe that I can beat him. I believe that he's a tough fight, but I believe that I can beat him. It's a fight where if I make a mistake I can get knocked out. And yeah Bernard Hopkins can get knocked out too, and so can Kovalev and so can Stevenson, who's been knocked out once in his career," Hopkins told BoxingScene.com.
"I got two titles and a legacy. What's Kovalev got? A punch and a WBO title - let's do it. He can take care of this softie coming up, that nobody gives two sh*ts about, not even you Rick. And as quick as he knocks this guy out, we'll see him on the quickest available date that comes. I have nothing to do with no lawsuits. I am not being sued. I don't have anything to do with whatever. I want to be the undisputed champion before I leave and if that means getting one or the other first - I am not going to discriminate. If he wants to be undisputed then he can get it. And if he don't, then he can see if he continues to keep getting ratings by fighting guys like the one he has coming up."
"This is a guy who claimed that he wanted to fight me [last year], but then he ran to fight Cleverly which was an easier fight than me. Smart management by Kathy Duva. She needs the manager of the decade for that move, because it was a good move to fight the least dangerous and win. But - I'm still here."