Thursday, January 30, 2014
Hopkins-Shumenov nearly set
By Dan Rafael
One fight that has been in the works probably will be finalized and another probably won't, according to Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer.
Golden Boy has been working on the light heavyweight unification fight between 49-year-old Bernard Hopkins and Beibut Shumenov. Schaefer told ESPN.com that he is putting the finishing touches on the deal for the fight, which will be carried by Showtime, assuming it is finalized. Schaefer said the fight will take place either April 19 or April 26 at a site to be determined. With the other top light heavyweights -- champion Adonis Stevenson, titleholder Sergey Kovalev and former champ Jean Pascal -- fighting on HBO, this is the one top-level fight at 175 pounds that Schaefer and Showtime can make.
Incidentally, whichever date Hopkins-Shumenov lands on, Schaefer said he will put together another Showtime card for the other April date.
Another fight, however, that probably won't happen as initially planned is the rematch between featherweight titlist Jhonny Gonzalez and former titlist Abner Mares, who lost the belt to Gonzalez via first-round knockout on Aug. 24 in a major upset.
The fighters were supposed to meet in a Feb. 15 rematch on Showtime at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but the fight was postponed because Mares suffered a rib injury in training. Right after the fight was postponed there were plans to immediately reschedule the bout. But that is seemingly no longer the case.
Schaefer said that Gonzalez, who isn't represented by Golden Boy, and his team have been itching for another defense first. (Translation: Gonzalez wants an easy fight and payday before a very tough rematch with Mares.) Schaefer said Mares' manager Frank Espinoza has also been talking to him about the prospect of a tune-up fight first.
"So I think they will have other fights first before we do the rematch," Schaefer said.
Presumably, if the interim fights happen and they both win, the rematch would come after that.