Bernard Hopkins is without a fight, all of a sudden. And Adonis Stevenson is looking for a payday.
Maybe these two could become a match.
At least that is the speculation going on in Canada today as Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions is trying to figure out a way to keep Hopkins busy. The 48-year-old was slated to fight Karo Murat, who would have been challenging him for his IBF light heavyweight title belt, with the bout to take place July 13, but Murat is facing issues that include an inability to get a U.S. visa.
That left a date at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn without a main event There is little doubt that they could come up with something to fill the vacuum, because there is talent available. But getting something salted away is sometimes difficult when dealing with a short notice situation.
So they canceled. But Hopkins has to get a fight sooner or later.
Could Stevenson provide an answer?
Well, if the Haitian-born power-puncher, who now resides in Montreal,.were to get involved, it would turn Hopkins’ rather ho-hum first title defense into a unification fight, since Stevenson jack-hammered his way to the WBC crown last weekend with a vicious one-round KO of Chad Dawson.
From the promotional perspective, there are positives and negatives. The positive is that it represents the adage “striking when the iron is hot,” because there is buzz about Stevenson after his devastating left hand flattened Dawson. If they were to schedule something without a whole lot of lag time, they could capitalize on the momentum.
No one can exactly argue that Stevenson went through any wear and tear from last Saturday’s fight, since it lasted only 75 seconds and Stevenson took no punishment.
The fight is very marketable to anyone who understands boxing, because it is, on paper anyway, a classic matchup. No, it won’t necessarily provide chills and thrills, because Hopkins isn’t going to stand there and slug it out. But it is precisely BECAUSE of that factor that this prospective matchup intrigues. In his “old age,” Hopkins has dedicated himself to being even more frustrating then usual; he knows every trick in the book and has probably invented a few of them himself, and opponents who do not have a rather wide-ranging education in the sport may fall easy prey to the way he tends to control a fight.
You cannot say that Stevenson, even at age 35, has had vast experience. In fact, the genuine contenders he has fought are few and far between. He has certainly never fought anyone remotely like Hopkins.
But he has the punching power to change the course of things within a split second, and even though Hopkins has shown a durable chin in his career, that doesn’t mean he can’t be hurt. Stevenson possesses that great equalizer from which even the most experienced fighters are not immune.
The question is, can he land it?
Hopkins probably wouldn’t be pondering that question as much as he would be figuring out ways to make Stevenson look foolish and pedestrian if he gets the chance. Looking at someone who can most likely only win one way (knockout) and from one side (the left hand) may be a welcome sight for him, because in that case he won’t have to worry about a guy with a full repertoire, OR enough experience to improvise when the situation warranted it.
Those are the guys who have generally failed to get through all that much against him, even as he has advanced well beyond the age that most pugilists have settled into their EZ chairs.
He might just say “Bring it on, the sooner the better.”
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