Bernard Hopkins and Joe Calzaghe have said all along they wanted to fight each other, and it appears the two champions will get their wish.
MGM Mirage has set aside April 12 at Mandalay Bay Events Center for Hopkins-Calzaghe. All that remains is for the attorneys for both fighters to approve the contracts.
The fight would be for Hopkins’ Ring Magazine light heavyweight title and would be televised on HBO Pay Per View.
Frank Warren, the veteran British promoter who represents world super middleweight champion Calzaghe, said a deal is imminent.
“Nothing can ever be definite until the contracts are signed,” Warren told The Guardian newspaper in London. “But the paperwork is with the lawyers, and it looks as though it will be done.
“It is a huge fight for both men, and it would give Joe the big American date he has been looking for.”
Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Hopkins, said the deal is close but not quite finished.
“I’m comfortable we’ll get it done in the next few days,” Schaefer said Wednesday. “This is my first time working with Frank, so it’s taken a little longer than when I negotiate with (Top Rank president) Bob Arum.”
If the fight is made, it would be the third major bout in three months for Nevada.
Middleweights Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor will meet Feb. 16 at the MGM Grand Garden. Super featherweights Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez are scheduled to fight in a March 15 rematch at Mandalay Bay.
Calzaghe (44-0) never has fought in Las Vegas. The 35-year-old native of Newbridge, Wales, has held the WBO title for 10 years, the longest reigning titleholder in any weight class in boxing history. His most recent fight was Nov. 3, a unanimous decision over Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler.
The last time Hopkins, 42, fought in Las Vegas, it proved to be costly. He shoved Winky Wright at the weigh-in before their July 21 light heavyweight fight, which Hopkins won by unanimous decision. Two months later, the Nevada Athletic Commission fined Hopkins a record $200,000 for starting the fracas.
Contact reporter Steve Carp at firstname.lastname@example.org or (702) 387-2913.