Hopkins-Cleverly Fight A Possibility For Cardiff Next Year - But Will Anyone Care Now?

By James Slater - Despite the fact that modern day legend Bernard Hopkins lost his world title and, in the eyes of some fans and critics, some credibility with Saturday’s bizarre TKO defeat at the hands of Chad Dawson, it has been reported (in The Mirror, amongst other publications) that WBO light-heavyweight champ Nathan Cleverly could still wind up meeting B-Hop next year.

Promoter Frank Warren is still keen on the fight, and The Mirror reports how a £5 million clash is being discussed for Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium next year..

“Hopkins’ loss was controversial so I’m still keen to make the fight,” Warren is quoted as saying. “The way you beat Hopkins is with speed and Nathan has got the tools.”

As for 24-year-old Cleverly himself, he said good friend and former Hopkins conqueror Joe Calzaghe told him he has the style to beat the 46-year-old “Executioner;” adding that “the fight could happen next, if not [WBA champ Beibut] Shumenov.”

So, despite the fact that Hopkins has not yet commented on his future (will he even fight again if the left shoulder injury he picked up in the Dawson fight fails to heal to his liking?), there is a chance - maybe just a small chance - that Cleverly-Hopkins could happen next summer. The fight, if it does go down, will still attract attention and prove to be something of a big deal, for U.K fight fans at least - but what would Cleverly gain by defeating a by then 47-year-old former champion?

Had Hopkins done as expected and beaten Dawson, Cleverly would be facing a massive challenge with a ton of potential rewards with a Hopkins fight; but now? Wouldn’t the Welshman be better off looking at guys like Shumenov and IBF champ Tavoris Cloud?

Hopkins may rebound, but if he does, it’s likely he will be interested most in sorting things out with “Bad Chad” - not in a fight with Cleverly. Then again, money talks; and maybe Hopkins will look at a fight in Wales as a big, motivating challenge.

In the meantime, we wait to see if Hopkins’ team will appeal Saturday’s decision. Promoter Oscar De La Hoya has said that the TKO will be appealed, but we have no idea how the California Athletic Commission will act if this is the case. A Dawson-Hopkins rematch looks doubtful (for the near future anyway), as 29-year-old Dawson is looking at a “revenge” rematch with former champ Jean Pascal; the man Hopkins beat to become the oldest world champion in boxing history.

Article posted on 18.10.2011

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