The clash between former RING light heavyweight and middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins and undefeated IBF 175-pound beltholder Tavoris Cloud will be formally announced during a 12:30 p.m. press conference on Tuesday, Jan. 15 — Hopkins’ 48th-birthday — at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where the two combatants will meet on March 9.
Although the IBF still is awaiting the signed contracts from the fighters, organization president Daryl Peoples said that he has already sanctioned a fight he calls “99 percent done,” and that he will be present at the press conference.
Promoted by Don King, who handles Cloud, and Golden Boy, which has Hopkins, The fight was approved providing that the winner of Hopkins-Cloud agree to make his first defense against IBF mandatory challenger Karo Murat (25-1-1, 15 knockouts), of Germany, who is 3-0-1, with two knockouts since, himself, being stopped in the 10th round in September of 2010 by current WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs).
“There are just the regular routine stuff that needs to be done,” said Peoples. “I plan on going to the press conference, and I don’t see any problems with the fight.”
With a victory over Cloud, Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KOs), who will be presented with a birthday cake on Tuesday, would extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown, a feat the Philadelphia native accomplished at the age of 46 with a unanimous decision over Jean Pascal for the WBC’s light heavyweight belt in May of last year.
Hopkins was last in April, where he lost a majority decision to RING and WBC champion Chad Dawson.
Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs), who is 30, is looking to make the fifth defense of his belt and is coming off a controversial split-decision victory over Gabriel Campillo in February of last year.
Thurman is coming off a fourth-round stoppage of former WBO 147-pound beltlholder Carlos Quintana on Nov. 24, scoring his eighth consecutive knockout the day after his 24th birthday.
Photos by Dave Londres, Hoganphotos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org