48-year-old light heavyweight boxing champion Bernard Hopkins will face mandatory challenger Karo Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs) of Germany this summer, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Wednesday. â€œHistory is marching on,â€ Schaefer said. â€œBernard is up for the challenge. Karo Murat is 29, young enough to be Bernardâ€™s son. Heâ€™s a good fighter and he has been waiting for this kind of opportunity.â€ He said the fight would take place in July or August at either the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., or Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
â€œItâ€™s an obligation I have to do now,â€ Hopkins told ESPN.com while in Philadelphia. â€œIf there was a better option, maybe Iâ€™d do it. But there is no real option thatâ€™s better right now with all the other [top] guys fighting other fights right now. So thereâ€™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 donâ€™t get stripped of the title. But I got bigger fish to fry after I execute this guy. After this I want a superfight.â€
Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs) defeated Tavoris Cloud on points on March 9 in Brooklyn, NY to win a light heavyweight belt for the third time and become the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title, breaking his own mark set at age 46 against Jean Pascal in their 2011 rematch. However, in order for the IBF to sanction Cloud-Hopkins, Cloud had to get an exception because his mandatory defense against Murat was due. The IBF granted the exception — and Muratâ€™s team did not protest — with the stipulation that Cloud and Hopkins both agree to the winner facing Murat next or forfeit the title.
â€œFrom what Iâ€™ve seen of Murat, heâ€™s a durable guy and a â€˜Bâ€™ fighter, but I have to look at him like heâ€™s an â€˜Aâ€™ fighter,â€ Hopkins said. â€œHe fought Cleverly and he got some experience. Heâ€™s rough and tough, so you got to come up with a game plan, especially at age 48. People want to tune in and see, â€˜Is tonight the night Bernard Hopkins gets old?â€™â€
Hopkins said his goal is take care of Murat, but with his sites set higher after that, with a goal of unifying the light heavyweight divisions by fighting Walesâ€™ Nathan Cleverly, or by defending his title against super middleweight champ Carl Froch of England. â€œThose are both huge fights over there in the U.K., and Iâ€™d go over there for those fights, no problem,â€ Hopkins said. â€œI love when the crowd is against me. I love shutting them up.â€
Hopkins also mentioned a possible future fight with former super middleweight champ Lucian Bute. â€œListen, these guys have fights coming up and nobody is banging the door down to fight Bernard Hopkins,â€ he said. â€œI talked to Richard along with [attorney] Eric Melzer, and I know I had a duty after the Cloud fight to fight the mandatory, so we decided to get Murat out of the way, and then I can go on and unify the titles before I turn 50.â€