Hopkins (52-6-2-2, 32 KOs), a reformed ex-convict who outclassed Jean Pascal in May 2011 to earn a unanimous decision victory and become, at 46, the oldest man to capture a major belt, phoned Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer a few months ago and proclaimed, “I know I can still fight, I know I can still win.”
The soon-to-be 48-year-old Hopkins, who safeguarded his middleweight crown a record 20 straight times from 1995 through 2005, has not entered the squared circle since losing a majority decision to Chad Dawson in April.
Comparatively, the 30-year-old Cloud (24-0, 19 KOs) most recently threw fists on February 18 when he successfully retained his belt with a split decision triumph over Spanish scrapper Gabriel Campillo at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
“Cloud-Hopkins is an interesting fight,” Schaefer said. “He’s a young, undefeated guy going up against legend like Bernard Hopkins. Bernard feels like it [Cloud] is the perfect style for him. He feels confident he can beat his own record and win another title. Stylistically, it’s an interesting matchup.”
Mike Cappiello, a native of “The City of Champions” who once fought for the IBO super featherweight title and retired with an impressive mark of 33-6, has the utmost respect for Hopkins.
“Hopkins is not in it for the money,” said Cappiello, the owner of Cappiello Brothers Boxing gym in Brockton. “He loves to fight.”
Provided they clash in roughly three months, expect Bernard Hopkins to trump Tavoris Cloud and “beat his own record and win another title.”