By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Golden Boy Promotions chief executive officer Richard Schaefer told BoxingScene.com that HBO rebuffed his inquiry about making a Bernard Hopkins-Adonis Stevenson fight.
Schaefer sent an email to an unidentified HBO Sports executive recently, but was informed in an email he said was returned a week later that the network wouldn’t televise a Hopkins-Stevenson fight. Hopkins’ last fight, in which the 48-year-old Philadelphia native won the IBF light heavyweight title from Tavoris Cloud, was broadcast by HBO.
Months after that deal was finalized, however, HBO Sports announced in a statement that it would no longer do business with Golden Boy Promotions, in which Hopkins is a partner. HBO will televise Stevenson’s next fight, his first since a career-changing, one-punch, first-round knockout of former WBC light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson that HBO televised from Montreal on June 8.
A fight against Stevenson (21-1, 18 KOs) is attractive to Hopkins because it would afford him an opportunity to beat the man who defeated Dawson (31-3, 17 KOs, 2 NC), the southpaw who out-pointed Hopkins nearly 14 months ago in Atlantic City.
“I think Stevenson wants to fight Bernard,” Schaefer said. “And Bernard wants to fight Stevenson. It’s an interesting fight.”
Schaefer added that if a Hopkins-Stevenson showdown is ever made it would take place in Montreal or Quebec City, the two cities in which Hopkins fought Quebec-based Jean Pascal (27-2-1, 16 KOs) in light heavyweight title fights. The Haitian-born Stevenson resides in Longueuil, Quebec, a city near Montreal where Stevenson was raised.
Meanwhile, the 35-year-old Stevenson could be headed toward a fight against Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs). Hopkins probably will encounter a less imposing opponent in his next fight, Germany’s Karo Murat.
Hopkins was supposed to meet Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs) on July 13 at Barclays Center, but the fight was postponed indefinitely June 14 because Murat was experiencing visa issues that could’ve prevented him from arriving in the United States in time for the fight. Murat has since settled those undisclosed visa issues and Hopkins said over the weekend that their fight, which will be broadcast by Showtime, could be rescheduled for Sept. 21 at Barclays Center.
HBO already has committed to televising another light heavyweight championship match between WBO title-holder Nathan Cleverly (26-0, 12 KOs), of Wales, and Russia’s Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19 KOs). Cleverly and Kovalev will square off Aug. 17 in Cardiff, Wales.
The IBF briefly installed Kovalev as Hopkins’ mandatory challenger once the Hopkins-Murat match was postponed, but Kovalev preferred the security of a guaranteed title fight against Cleverly, rather than waiting for a Hopkins fight to be made. The IBF has since made Murat the mandatory challenger for Hopkins again.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.