Pavlik-Hopkins fight slated for Oct. 18, promoter says

Updated: July 18, 2008, 12:47 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Unable to secure a meaningful opponent to wage a middleweight championship defense against in the fall, Kelly Pavlik will move up in weight and face former light heavyweight champion and middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN.com Thursday.

Arum said he and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer struck a deal Thursday for the nontitle fight, which will take place Oct. 18 on HBO PPV at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.

Pavlik, 26, will move up 10 pounds and face Hopkins at 170 pounds, five under the light heavyweight limit, Arum said.

"There's a deal, but there are a few details to be tied up," Arum said. "But the fight is happening."

Since Pavlik (34-0, 30 KOs), who was in Hawaii preparing for his wedding on Friday to the mother of his daughter, blew out Gary Lockett in three lopsided rounds in his first title defense at Boardwalk Hall on June 7, Arum has run through numerous potential opponents.

There were talks for a fight with Joe Calzaghe (which would have taken place at super middleweight), Marco Antonio Rubio, Randy Griffin, Sergio Mora, Paul Williams and Winky Wright. For various reasons, none panned out, leaving Arum to turn to the 43-year-old Hopkins (48-5-1, 32 KOs), who lost the light heavyweight title to Calzaghe on a split decision on April 19.

Arum and Schaefer had briefly discussed the fight a few weeks ago, but they couldn't come to terms. When the fight was revisited, they agreed to split the revenue 50-50, Arum said.

"This fight was not our first choice, but it was the only alternative we had to make a buck," Arum said. "We didn't have any place to go except a pay-per-view card. At least it will do halfway decent numbers. We turned it down once. It came back around and we accepted it."

Schaefer was traveling and unavailable for comment.

"Kelly isn't thrilled with the fight, but one of the incentives he has is that if he's going to fight Calzaghe after Calzaghe fights Roy Jones, it will be 168 pounds anyway. So it gets him ready for that fight."

Jack Loew, who has trained Pavlik since he began boxing as a kid, said he likes the matchup.

"Bernard is really a middleweight, he's not a light heavyweight," Loew said. "I think 170 pounds is fine for us. Bernard will be strong, but I know what we have to work on. I'm fine with Bernard Hopkins. I think it will be good fight. We're fighting a legend. He's experienced and he's an old veteran. He knows all the tricks and Bernard is a survivor. I think he's a great fighter and it will be an honor for us to fight him."

Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.

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