WBA light heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov is a good fighter with a great story, but he doesn't have the skill set to knock off the IBF light heavyweight champion, Bernard "The Alien" Hopkins.
It seems odd saying such a thing about a 49-year-old boxer, but Hopkins is far from a normal 49-year-old. He always credits his training regimen and lifestyle for his longevity in a brutal sport.
Recently, he told Bob Velin of USA Today:
It's a testament to what I stand for and what I believe. I didn't plan to be here at this age. Who in their 20s or early 30s in any sport, says, 'hey, I'm going to be playing in the NBA at 48 or 49 years old'? They'd laugh at you and tell you to get your head checked.
We could talk for hours about how amazing Hopkins' age-defying accomplishments are, but instead let's focus on the nuts and bolts of the matchup.
Shumenov Is Strong but Too Deliberate
Hopkins has never been a big puncher. His best attributes are all defensive. It's very difficult to land a solid punch on his chin.
That's the case for slick, athletic fighters like Chad Dawson. Shumenov isn't stiff, but most of his punches—especially his right hand—can be seen coming.
Hopkins is going to pick up the telegraphed punches. His defensive instincts are outstanding. Shumenov likes to inch closer to his opponent, but he doesn't always jab his way in as he should.
Hopkins won't allow Shumenov to get in range to land the stiff straight right hand. He'll counter him with left hands, body shots and pivot his way out of punching range to force Shumenov to reset.
The Left Hook Is Too Wide
Shumenov's left hook will probably hit Hopkins' right glove more than it hits any other part of The Alien's body.
The punch from Shumenov is normally wide and winging. That's not going to be as effective as it was against Tamas Kovacs in Shumenov's last fight:
Hopkins will duck this punch, tie Shumenov up and chip away at him with safe inside shots.
Winning the Judges
Hopkins' in-ring IQ is perhaps only matched by Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s. Though Shumenov is 30 years old, he has only had 15 professional fights.
Bernard Hopkins is a living legend and one of the smartest fighters in any weight class. Hopkins always knows where he is in the ring. He stays aware of which side of the fighters the referee is standing, and exploits the opposite side with any shots he can get away with. He is perhaps the best worldwide when it comes to ring generalship, and knows how to fight to win a decision.
How will Shumenov respond when Hopkins begins to muck up the action? Probably not well.
Aside from those factors, the fight is taking place in Washington, D.C at the DC Armory. Hopkins was born in Philadelphia and lives in Delaware. Shumenov is from Kazakhstan. It's safe to assume the crowd will be pro-Alien.
Shumenov will have to really bring it to win a decision in this bout. Unless Hopkins suddenly starts to look like a 49-year-old, he'll keep amazing us with another winning performance.
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