Former RING light heavyweight and middleweight champ Bernard Hopkins is being targeted for a March 9 return to the ring at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., against one of the current 175-pound titleholders — Nathan Cleverly (WBO), Beibut Shumenov (WBA),or Tavoris Cloud (IBF) — according to Golden Boy CEO, Richard Schaefer.
With a win, Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 knockouts), who will turn 48 in January, could eclipse his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown, a feat the Philadelphia native accomplished at the age of 46 with a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal for the WBC’s light heavyweight belt in May of last year.
“Bernard Hopkins will be coming back to try to break his own record by becoming the oldest man to win a world title,” said Schaefer.
Hopkins rose from knockdowns in the first and third rounds to salvage a disputed majority draw with Pascal in December of 2010, and was later dethroned as the WBC’s light heavyweight beltholder by Chad Dawson in April.
“As we know, he already broke George Foreman’s record when he beat Jean Pascal in the famous push-up fight, where he did push-ups during the middle of the fight between rounds. So Bernard will be coming back on March 9 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and he told me that he doesn’t care which one of the three champions he fights.”
Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs), who is 25, is coming off Saturday night’s eighth-round knockout of Shawn Hawk (23-3-1, 17 KOs), whom Cleverly dropped in the seventh and final rounds of his fourth defense.
“[Cleverly’s promoter] Frank Warren and us, we have a great relationship, and we work together well. I think that Cleverly made a great impression, and he’s an exciting guy in the light heavyweight division,” said Schaefer.
“Nathan Cleverly is a very respectful, nice young man, as well. We’ll see what’s going to happen. I will be going to work in the coming weeks to try to secure a title fight for Bernard, and we heard, yesterday, that Nathan Cleverly is certainly up for it, so we’ll see.”
Shumenov (13-1, 8 KOs), who is 29, made the fourth defense of his belt with June’s unanimous decision victory over against Enrique Ornelas, whom Hopkins vanquished the same way in December of 2009.
Trainer Al Bonani, who handles Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs), said that he expects that the 30-year-old will return to the ring for his fifth defense against mandatory challenger Karo Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs), of Germany, on Nov. 24 in Venezuela.
After he lost to Taylor, and then endured an immediate rematch loss, Hopkins rose into the light heavyweight division for triumphs over Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright, Kelly Pavlik, Ornelas and Roy Jones, his lone defeat prior to Dawson in the division being by split-decision against Joe Calzaghe.
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Ed Mulholland, Fightwireimages.com
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]