Bernard Hopkins Should Look to Unify Light Heavyweight Title with Next Fight

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Bernard Hopkins Should Look to Unify Light Heavyweight Title with Next Fight
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

After another age-defying performance on Saturday night, Bernard Hopkins is unbelievably ready for bigger and better things. Conventional wisdom would suggest a man that turns 49 in January should be hanging up the gloves soon, but the IBF light heavyweight champion has made a habit of rejecting the limitations of normal men.

After all, he is now referring to himself as The Alien. Check out Hopkins in his extraterrestial get-up, per Alex McClintock of The Guardian:

With his impressive 12-round decision win over Karo Murat on Saturday, the future Hall of Famer is certainly looking out of this world. 

Instead of talking about easy opponents to ensure Hopkins ends his career on a high note, it is appropriate to ponder the legend unifying the title. In the words of Jay Z and Kanye West, "who gon stop him?"

Sergey Kovalev is a dangerous KO artist who recently dismantled Nathan Cleverly to win the WBO crown. He will defend his title against Ismayl Sillakh in Quebec on Nov. 30. On the same card, the WBC champion at 175 pounds, Adonis Stevenson, will be in action against Tony Bellew.

He is another big-time puncher who recently showed off some of his boxing skills in a recent bout with Tavoris Cloud:

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Stevenson knocked out Chad Dawson in June to win his title. He successfully defended it by stopping Cloud in September. The fight in November will be his fourth fight of the year. 

As impressive as both of these men have been, can anyone say without a doubt they would beat Hopkins?

After watching Hopkins not only out-box, but also out-slug Murat, the answer is no. Obviously, both Kovalev and Stevenson bring much more in the way of punching prowess than Murat did. Kovalev's KO percentage is 86.96 and Stevenson's is 82.61, compared to Murat's 53.57.

Still, Hopkins is smart; he won't look to trade with them. 

It'll be all about boxing and defense against two more powerful horses. It is safe to say neither Kovalev nor Stevenson has ever faced an in-ring technician like Hopkins. Could the Alien make a bout with them an ugly, hard-to-score affair that he just might win by decision?

/Getty Images

It isn't a preposterous thought. 

The other world champion at 175 pounds is Kazakhstan's Beibut Shumenov. He is the least-known but longest-tenured champion in the division. He's held the WBA title since 2010. Shumenov is scheduled to take on Tomas Kavacs in December. He also stands 6'2", which could represent a challenge for Hopkins.

That said, Shumenov has had limited professional experience. He's had only 14 pro fights, and though his amateur pedigree is impressive, Hopkins is a different animal. 

All three champions are viable options for Hopkins as he continues to prove age is only a number.

 

Stat and scheduled fight references per BoxRec.com

 

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