On Monday, light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins was ordered by the International Boxing Federation that he must fight new mandatory challenger Sergey Kovalev next.
Hopkins was originally scheduled to defend his title against Karo Murat on July 13, but the fight was cancelled last week after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security denied Murat's visa application.
On Wednesday, Hopikins responded to the mandate via Twitter:
I respect n accept the IBF decision.. I see this guy is good!! I look forward to defending my title
— BERNARD HOPKINS EX (@THEREALBHOP) June 19, 2013
Hopkins likely saw Kovalev's talents on Friday, when he knocked out Cornelius White in the third round. The winner of that fight was originally supposed to face the winner for the Hopkins-Murat fight in April 2014, but because of Murat's inability to get into the country, that fight has been moved up.