Signs look good for Cleverly-Hopkins meeting
WBO light-heavyweight world champion Nathan Cleverly could be in line for a lucrative bout against the great Bernard Hopkins - if he overcomes Shawn Hawk on Saturday.
Cleverly, 25, is preparing to fight on US soil for just the second time in his career, as he looks to make another successful title defence against late stand-in Hawk.
The Welshman has struggled to secure fights with the other big names in the division in recent times, but influential promoter Oscar De La Hoya has revealed that an eye-catching fight with Hopkins could be on the cards - with the American potentially coming to Britain to face one of the bright young talents of the sport.
"What is very possible is Bernard Hopkins going to Britain to box Nathan," De La Hoya said, according to the Daily Mail. "We feel that the UK fans are some of the most passionate and knowledgeable in the world when it comes to boxing.
"A lot of fighters in the United States are now realising they should go overseas and challenge the best."
De La Hoya added: "Nathan can go far. He is a fan-friendly fighter. He has a great promoter in Frank Warren. Along with Frank we can come up with the big American fights and bring in the people.
"But, ultimately it is up to what Nathan does in the ring. It is in his hands whether he wants to make a big splash or not. As long as you can match him up with the right fighters there is no limit to how far he can go.
"He looks motivated, ready to go but he has very tough fight against Hawk. It will be compelling viewing."
Hopkins, 47, would not bring a title to the table - after losing his WBC and Ring straps to Chad Dawson in his last fight in April. But the American, who fought and lost to Joe Calzaghe back in 2008, has insisted he will fight anyone who holds a title at the weight.
"I will continue my career and challenge any champion in my division," Hopkins said.
Cleverly, who aided Calzaghe in his preparations for that Hopkins fight four years ago, has been working with Freddie Roach ahead of his contest with Hawk - with Amir Khan's former trainer admitting he would love to become the youngster's full-time coach if the opportunity arises.
"You want guys like that at your gym," Roach said. "I wouldn't hesitate to take him on. He's definitely talented, I'd love to have him.
"We haven't discussed him coming here yet but he's here and maybe there's a reason why he is here.
"I think he is at the right stage where a unification fight would be good for him and he has the potential to beat any of the world champions."