- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins' first defense, which will come against mandatory challenger Karo Murat of Germany, will take place July 13 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Monday.
The fight, agreed to three weeks ago, did not have a set date other than being penciled in for sometime in July or August.
"The fight was made and we were looking for a date and we were holding July 13 at the Barclays Center for quite awhile for a fight," Schaefer said. "I talked to Murat's promoter, Chris Myer from Sauerland Event, and they are OK with the date and I talked to Bernard and he was OK with it also, so since everyone was fine with it why not get it done? So I am finalizing everything for that date in that building."
Schaefer said the fight will be televised on Showtime, with whom he said he is wrapping up a deal.
Philadelphia's Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs) outpointed Tavoris Cloud on March 9 at the Barclays Center to claim his 175-pound belt and, at age 48, become the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title – breaking his own record, which he set when he was 46 by outpointing Jean Pascal on Pascal's turf in Montreal to win a title.
"The people at the Barclays Center are excited to have Bernard Hopkins back and Bernard is excited to go back to the Barclays Center," Schaefer said. "He told me he is already training for the fight."
Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs), 29, will be fighting in the United States for the first time.
Schaefer said that featherweight Gary Russell Jr., the 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year who has been beset by injuries, will likely be on the televised undercard.
"We feel that Gary Russell is ready to take on anyone," Schaefer said. "We want to see who is available and who will take the fight. It's not easy to make a fight for Gary Russell because not too many people want to fight him."
The 24-year-old Russell (22-0, 13 KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympian from Capitol Heights, Md., has faced very soft opposition throughout his pro career. In a
shutout 10-round decision win against Russia's Vyacheslav Gusev in Las Vegas on March 2, Russell fractured his left hand. He missed significant time in 2012 because of an ankle injury.
Bernard Hopkins' first defense, which will come against mandatory challenger Karo Murat of Germany, will take place July 13 in Brooklyn, N.Y.