Boxing: Bernard Hopkins has until July 26th to defend his IBF title

hopkins6By Carlos Jones: The International Boxing Federation has given IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KO’s) until July 26th to defend his title against his mandatory challenger. Hopkins recently successfully defended his IBF strap against #2 IBF Karo Murat last week in winning a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision on October 26th.

Hopkins now will have to defend his belt against his mandatory. Currently the #1 contender for the IBF is Andrzej Fonfara. If he continues to be listed as the #1 by the IBF, then Hopkins will have another rather easy title defense on his hands by next summer.

In the meantime, Hopkins can face anyone in an optional title defense within 60 days of his mandatory defense. That’s the whole problem. Hopkins doesn’t have anyone picked out yet for his next fight, although he’s made it pretty clear that he’d love to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. at 160 next May on Cinco de Mayo. However, Mayweather has shown zero interest in fighting Hopkins for obvious reasons. It’s kind of a no win situation for Mayweather should he agree to the fight with Hopkins. If he beats him, which would seem likely given Hopkins’ advanced age, Mayweather wouldn’t get any credit at all. If Mayweather wins but struggles, then Hopkins will get a lot of praise while Mayweather will be looked at as tarnished goods. If Mayweather loses to Hopkins, then fans will think that Mayweather was never that good to being with or they’ll see him as a shot fighter.

WBA super middleweight champion Andre Wards’ promoter Dan Goosen reportedly would likely to match Ward against Hopkins. However, Hopkins will likely say no to that fight because he’s friends with Ward, and Ward is said to have learned a lot from watching Hopkins fight.

Hopkins reportedly has no interest in fighting a unification bout against WBA champion Beibut Shumenov. Hopkins also isn’t too keen about fighting WBO champ Sergey Kovalv or WBC champion Adonis Stevenson because they both fight on HBO, and Hopkins fights on Showtime. It’s perhaps a good thing for Hopkins that he’s not fighting either of those guys because they would appear to be way too good for Hopkins at this stage in his career.

Hopkins, 48, will be turning 49 on January 15th of next year. Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer recently said that he likes the idea of matching Hopkins against Mayweather on the eve of Hopkins turning 50, and Mayweather approaching his 50th win. However, this is what Schaefer wants, not what Mayweather wants.