The July 14 matchup between Bernard Hopkins and Karo Murat is now canceled due to Murat experiencing visa issues getting into the country.
The news was broken late last night courtesy of Maxboxing’s Steve Kim and confirmed this morning.
Hopkins, coming off an impressive unanimous decision win over Tavoris Cloud in March, was going to make his first defense of his newly won IBF light-heavyweight title. Murat, an Armenian fighter who resides in Germany, was the mandatory for the IBF title and last fought in June 2012, knocking out Sandro Siproshvili in seven rounds. The July 14 bout would have been Murat’s first in the United States.
At press time, Hopkins is hoping to land a September unification date with either Adonis Stevenson (WBC), Nathan Cleverly (WBO) and Beibut Shumenov (WBA).
I’m sure Hopkins is mad since all that training will go to waste, but this will likely be a “blessing in disguise.” Every one of the current titlists are winnable fights for Hopkins, with the most high-profile being Adonis Stevenson with his two-punch KO over Chad Dawson last weekend.
Here is where it gets dicey. With HBO not doing business with Golden Boy, Stevenson would also have to choose between networks. If he stays with HBO, his options would be Andre Ward (who despertately needs a name opponent for his return) and Carl Froch. The downside there is that he’d probably be subjected to a catchweight. We also can’t forget Jean Pascal in what would be a fun brawl (Note: Contractually this might not be possible with Lucian Bute deal still in place).
Stevenson could do good business with Hopkins, but as always that’s a tough fight. B-Hop loves sluggers so he’d jump at the chance. If I were Stevenson, I’d look for my own unification against Cleverly or Shumenov. Those are hard, action fights, but with guys that will be there to be hit.