by Rick Reeno
In an earlier article on BoxingScene.com, WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (21-1, 18KOs) called for a unification with Bernard Hopkins (53-6-2, 32KOs), the IBF's beltholder. Earlier this month, Stevenson shocked many by knocking out Chad Dawson in 1:16 of the first round to capture the WBC title. Last year Dawson won a majority decision over Hopkins. Stevenson believes that he is fully capable of catching Hopkins with a big shot and putting him away.
"That's great that he thinks that. We know that a whole lot of people, most of them half my age, have said the same thing. I got a guy [in Stevenson] that can talk just as well as I can, who I believe is more liked than [Jean] Pascal in Canada. From what I understand, from my resources up there, is the people love Stevenson to the point where he's more of a people's person to him. I'm open to challenges like that. I never turn down a challenge like that. I skipped over the super middleweight division and went to the light heavyweight division to prove my point," Hopkins told BoxingScene.com.
"I like that excitement and a fighter doing something that nobody has done before, with [Stevenson knocking out] Chad Dawson. Boxing is all about knockouts now and not necessarily about skill. If I can't get knockout [on Stevenson], which I haven't had in six years, then look for a teaching from an old master and an ass-whooping like I've been doing to others for the last five or six years."
As BoxingScene reported earlier, light heavyweight contender Karo Murat (25-1-1, 15KOs) has obtained his visa and his promoter, Sauerland Event, have submitted an application to reinstate him as the mandatory challenger to Hopkins.
Hopkins was scheduled to fight Murat on July 13th at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, but last week the fight was canceled because Murat was unable to obtain a visa to gain entry to the United States. Earlier this week, the IBF sent out a notifcation that Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19KOs) was the new mandatory challenger to Hopkins.
However, promoter Frank Warren who handles WBO champion Nathan Cleverly (26-0-, 12KOs), indicates that a deal is nearly complete for Cleverly to defend his title against Kovalev in an HBO televised main fight on August 17th from the UK.
Hopkins made it very clear to BoxingScene that under no circumstances is he willing to give up his IBF title to Murat, Kovalev or anybody else. If the IBF decides to keep Kovalev in position as the mandatory, and the Cleverly fight is not finalized for August, then Hopkins is ready and willing to fight the hard-punching Russian.
"At the end of the day I am the IBF champ and you are going to have to beat me in the ring to get the belt. I'm not giving anything away. I earned it in my career and I'm not giving nothing away...why would I do that? If there is nothing around the corner that makes sense [I'll fight Kovalev] and I don't see nothing around the corner that makes sense right now. It's up to [Kovalev's promoter] Kathy Duva and them," Hopkins said.
"If they want Bernard Hopkins, the champion, I'm ready. She put a call out to [Golden Boy CEO] Richard Schaefer, asking for Richard Schaefer to get together to make this fight. What happened in a couple of days? They can make it easy on themselves and walk over here [to Brooklyn] and we can get a deal done to fight on the East Coast or wherever he's comfortable at, because he's down there in Florida training with John David Jackson. We're close by, he don't have to travel."
"There is a whole line of fighters who fought Bernard Hopkins and had an '0' on their record. Every year, the mad professor thinks they have a Frankenstein that's going to get me. Well Kathy Duva, bring on Frankenstein and let's get it on."