By Mark Vester
Last year, HBO passed on Bernard Hopkins' December challenge of WBC/IBO light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (26-1-1, 16 KOs). The network reportedly had no interest in televising Hopkins (51-5-2, 31 KOs) after carrying his lackluster rematch win over Roy Jones Jr. Because of HBO's decision, Showtime televised what became one of Hopkins' best performances in years. Hopkins fought Pascal to a controversial twelve round draw. Many observers scored the fight for Hopkins and the WBC ordered an immediate rematch.
A few months later, HBO has a new position on Hopkins. The former champion, 46, tells USA Today that Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer has worked out a three-fight deal with HBO, with a possible fourth fight in the deal. The first fight of the deal is the May 21 rematch with Pascal, which is likely going to take place in Quebec City.
"Richard Schaefer structured it with HBO for a three-fight deal, with possibly another fight after that," Hopkins said. "My hit list is Pascal first, Chad Dawson, and Lucian Bute. … For me to be in this position to do this at my advancing age will outdo anything I've ever done in my career, and I'd like to thank (the WBC) again for doing the right thing."
Former champion Chad Dawson will appear in the HBO televised co-feature with a guaranteed shot at the main event, so Hopkins can achieve the goal of facing him next. IBF super middleweight champion Lucian Bute is another story. He recently signed an exclusive contract with Showtime and the first fight of that deal will take place on March 19 against Brian Magee.