Former RING light heavyweight middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins appears to be closer to his goal of facing undefeated IBF 175-pound beltholder Tavoris Cloud on March 9 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn thanks to the sanctioning organization’s “tentative approval” of a request for the bout by Cloud’s promoter, Don King, according to IBF public relations Public Relations Director Jeanette Salazar.
Although the IBF is reviewing the documentation received as part of the “formal request” from King, Salazar said that the Hopkins-Cloud fight has already been “tentatively approved” by IBF President Daryl Peoples.
With a victory, Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 knockouts), who will turn 48 in January, would extend 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.
Hopkins was last in April, where he lost a majority decision to RING and WBC champion Chad Dawson.
Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs), who is 30, is looking to make the fifth defense of his belt and is coming off a controversial split-decision victory over Gabriel Campillo in February of last year.
The fight is likely to be approved providing that the winner of Hopkins-Cloud agree to make his first defense against IBF mandatory challenger Karo Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs), of Germany, who is 3-0-1, with two knockouts since, himself, being stopped in the 10th round in September of 2010 by current WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs).
Thurman is coming off a fourth-round stoppage of former WBO 147-pound beltlholder Carlos Quintana on Nov. 24, scoring his eighth consecutive knockout the day after his 24th birthday.
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photos by David Martin Warr, Don King Productions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]