- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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The specific date and location haven't been set, but German light heavyweight contender Karo Murat is just happy that titleholder Bernard Hopkins has decided to fight him.
"I was so excited when I first found out about this," said Murat, 29.
On March 9, Hopkins won a light heavyweight title for the third time by outpointing Tavoris Cloud to become, at age 48, the oldest fighter in boxing history to win a world title -- breaking the record he set at age 46 in 2011 by beating Jean Pascal in their rematch.
Hopkins isn't going to fight much longer, so he had to make a decision: take the mandatory defense against Murat, an unknown fighter in the United States, or give up the title and pursue a bigger fight. Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs) elected to face Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs).
The bout will take place in July or August in the United States, likely at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., or Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J., according to Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer, who promotes Hopkins.
"Hopkins proved that he doesn't belong to the old guard," said Murat, who will be fighting in America for the first time. "I will do everything I can to be in the best shape possible. I am really looking forward to it. Fighting in the States will be a very special occasion in my career.
"I will hurt Hopkins. I have the same attitude as he does. I don't just train hard, but I train the right way. He is going to feel that."
Murat's only defeat came by 10th-round knockout to Nathan Cleverly of Wales in a 2010 title elimination bout, after which Cleverly went on to win a world title.