WBO light-heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly is determined to throw fists with former two-weight world champion Bernard Hopkins at some point in 2013.
Cleverly (25-0, 12 KOs), also a past European, British and Commonwealth light-heavyweight king, is slated to fight Robin Krasniqi on March 16.
Conversely, the soon-to-be 48-year-old Hopkins (52-6-2-2, 32 KOs), 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.
“The Executioner,” 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, is tentatively scheduled to meet IBF light heavyweight titleholder Tavoris Cloud on March 9 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
"Hopkins has jumped to the top of the list, he's the fight I want," said Cleverly, 25, a Welshman who battled for only the second time on US soil when successfully defending his crown against American Shawn Hawk with an eighth round TKO in November at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. "I've got to perform and impress against this guy [Krasniqi] and that's going to set up the rest of 2013 then for the big unification fights. Everything will fall into place after this fight. If it all goes well with the Krasniqi fight, I would definitely like to fight the winner of Hopkins and Tavoris Cloud."
Cleverly, who has long been criticized for clashing with a host of tomato cans, is 22 years younger than the legendary geriatric.
Regardless, 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, is confident that the tough Philadelphian will be ready for the unproven bloke.
“Hopkins is not in it for the money,” said Cappiello, the owner of Cappiello Brothers Boxing gym in Brockton. “He loves to fight. That spirit will always be in him”
Unfortunately for Nathan Cleverly, everything probably will “fall into place” and Bernard Hopkins will continue defying age and adding to his legacy this year.