Lem Satterfield

IBF: Hopkins, Molina have time to mull big fights

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Bernard Hopkins and Carlos Molina, holders of IBF belts in the light heavyweight and junior middleweight divisions, respectively, have some leeway to entertain lucrative options before being required to make mandatory title defenses, according to organization president Daryl Peoples.

Peoples said Molina has seven months, while Hopkins has eight months before each has to face an IBF mandatory challenger next summer. 

“Hopkins mandatory is due on July 26, 2014. Molina’s mandatory is due on June 14, 2014,” Peoples said in an e-mail to RingTV.com. “The champion can fight any ranked opponent until he is notified approximately 60 days before his mandatory due date.”

Coming off September’s majority decision over Ishe Smith for his belt, Molina has become a consideration for a potential bout against Canelo Alvarez, albeit, behind such notable competition Miguel Cotto and Sergio Martinez.

Alvarez was dethroned as RING and WBC 154-pound champion following a majority decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September, and is scheduled to return to the ring on March 8, July 26 and Nov. 22 of 2014. Hard-hitting Mexican Alfredo Angulo has also been mentioned as a potential January opponent for Molina.

A 48-year-old future hall of famer, Hopkins unanimously decisioned Karo Murat last month in defense of the he won by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Tavoris Cloud in March to extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown.

A former undisputed middleweight champion with a division record 20 defenses, Hopkins first set the record at the age of 46 by outpointing Jean Pascal for the WBC’s title in May of 2011 before being dethroned following a majority decision loss to Chad Dawson in May of 2012.

In victory over Murat, Hopkins said he longed for a megabout at 160 pounds against RING No. 1-rated pound-for-pound fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr., who plans to return to the ring in May.

Among Hopkins’ hard-hitting conterparts are RING and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson and WBO beltholder Sergey Kovalev, but they are long shots since they are aligned with Showtime’s network rival HBO.

Meanwhile, Dan Goossen, promoter of RING super middleweight champion Andre Ward, has expressed interest in matching Hopkins against Ward, who is scheduled to face Edwin Rodriguez on Nov. 16 on HBO.

Although WBA 175-pound beltholder Beibut Shumenov will face Tamas Kovacs on a Dec. 14 card promoted by Golden Boy, Hopkins has said that he is not interested in Shumenov.

Peoples said the IBF has procedures that permit Molina and Hopkins to face others before making their required defense.

“If the champion wants to do otherwise, he has to request and be granted an exception,” said Peoples. “Unless the bout is for a unification. We haven’t received a request for any of these fights as of yet.”

 

 

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com

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