• Light-heavyweight

Hopkins targets 'superfight' after Murat obligation

ESPN staff
April 13, 2013
Bernard Hopkins became the oldest fighter to win a world title with victory over Tavoris Cloud © AP

IBF light-heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins has stated he will only face Karo Murat because he is obliged to, and that preferred options for his next bout are not available.

Hopkins defeated Tavoris Cloud on points on March 9 to become the oldest fighter in history to win a world title but the fight was sanctioned through exception, as Hopkins was due to fight mandatory challenger Murat.

The exception was granted by the International Boxing Federation with the stipulation that both Cloud and Hopkins agree to face Murat or relinquish the belt, to which Murat's camp agreed.

"It's an obligation I have to do now," Hopkins told ESPN.com. "If there was a better option, maybe I'd do it.

"But there is no real option that's better right now with all the other [top] guys fighting other fights right now. So there's no other better option right now financially or historically than doing this fight and getting it out of the way, and at least you don't get stripped of the title.

"But I got bigger fish to fry after I execute this guy. After this I want a superfight."

WBO light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly has already stated his desire to face 48-year-old Hopkins, but first has to defend his title against Robin Krasniqi on April 20 before facing another mandatory defence against Juergen Braehmer.

Hopkins also expressed interest in a potential bout with super-middleweight titlist Carl Froch, but 'The Cobra' faces Mikkel Kessler in a unification rematch on May 25.

"Those are both huge fights over there in the United Kingdom, and I'd go over there for those fights, no problem," Hopkins said. "I love when the crowd is against me. I love shutting them up."

WBC light-heavyweight champion Chad Dawson, who defeated Hopkins in April 2012, defends his title against Adonis Stevenson in June, while Lucian Bute is tied to a bout with Jean Pascal on May 25 leaving Hopkins with little option to fight anyone other than Murat.

Murat has only suffered one defeat in his professional career, to Cleverly in a 2010 elimination bout, but Hopkins believes he will still have to be at the top of his game to inflict another loss on the 29-year-old German.

"From what I've seen of Murat, he's a durable guy and a 'B' fighter, but I have to look at him like he's an 'A' fighter," Hopkins said. "He fought Cleverly and he got some experience.

"He's rough and tough, so you got to come up with a game plan, especially aged 48. People want to tune in and see, 'Is tonight the night Bernard Hopkins gets old?'"

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