- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Light heavyweight titlist Bernard Hopkins' mandatory defense against Karo Murat, scheduled for Oct. 19, has been pushed back to Oct. 26, still at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Thursday.
Schaefer also said he has made a deal with Showtime to televise the card, which he said could be a tripleheader. The other bouts Schaefer said he is working on for the card are super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika (32-5-2, 21 KOs) taking on mandatory challenger Anthony Dirrell (26-0, 22 KOs) -- although Bika could have taken an optional defense because the mandatory is not due yet – and "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin (29-0, 21 KOs) making the second defense of his middleweight belt against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.
"We're trying to get the Bika-Dirrell fight done and we're also looking at having Quillin on the card as well," Schaefer said.
Schaefer said one reason for moving Hopkins-Murat to Oct. 26 was to avoid going head-to-head with Showtime rival HBO, which has a significant fight Oct. 19 when all-action junior welterweights Mike Alvarado and Ruslan Provodnikov meet in Alvarado's hometown of Denver in a much-anticipated bout that many expect to challenge for fight of the year honors.
"Bernard generates good ratings whenever he fights and we could have stayed on the 19th, but when we had the opportunity to move, we decided to move and avoid going head-to-head," Schaefer said. "Sometimes you can't and it's impossible to move, but when we can, we try. It would be nice if others did the same thing."
Hopkins was originally scheduled to defend against Murat on July 13 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. However, the fight was called off in mid-June when Murat, of Germany, was denied a visa by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Murat's visa situation was eventually resolved but not in time to keep the fight on July 13, so it was rescheduled for Oct. 19, and then bumped a week later.
Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs) is 48 and broke his own record on March 9 by becoming the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title when he easily outpointed Tavoris Cloud. Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs), who turns 30 in September, will be fighting in the United States for the first time.
Bika won a vacant belt -- which had been stripped from lineal champion Andre Ward -- by majority decision in a hard-hitting slugfest against Marco Antonio Periban on June 22 in a thrilling fight on Showtime. Injuries from a motorcycle accident kept Dirrell out of action for 17 months, but he has won both of his fights since returning in May, including an impressive third-round blowout of Anthony Hanshaw on July 27, after which he called out Bika.
Quillin, who would be making his fourth consecutive appearance on Showtime, scored six knockdowns in a decision win against Hassan N'Dam to win his belt in October and made his first defense April 27, dropping Fernando Guerrero four times en route to a punishing seventh-round knockout.
20hDarren Rovell and Dan Rafael