Like a craftsman, Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins (55-6-2) put together another masterful performance on Saturday night at the DC Armory in the nation’s capital.
He easily out-boxed Beibut Shumenov (14-2) to take the Kazakhstani’s WBA light heavyweight title.
Officially, the bout was scored a split decision as judge Gustavo Padilla saw a different fight than everyone else. He scored the bout 114-113 for Shumenov.
Here are the official numbers, per ESPN's Dan Rafael:
Rafael also had some choice words for Padilla:
The 49-year-old ageless wonder is now the unified light heavyweight champion of the world after joining Shumenov’s strap with his IBF crown.
Max Boxing's Steve Kim marveled at Hopkins' stamina pushing five decades:
The entire fight was fought in the plodding, methodical pace that Hopkins has excelled at for decades.
As usual, Hopkins got off to a slow start. The early rounds were rather uneventful.
Around the fourth round, Hopkins gained his rhythm. His counter right hands and potshots found the mark with regularity. Shumenov was slow, robotic and predictable throughout the fight.
He threw very few combinations. He wasn’t busy enough to cause Hopkins any peril. This approach made it easy for the slick Hopkins to slip punches and counter with hard right hands.
After being urged to take some chances late in the fight by his trainer Naazim Richardson, Hopkins floored Shumenov with a big right hand in the 11th round to put an exclamation point on a great performance.
It’s hard to say which part of this result was most impressive. Is it the fact that a 49-year-old fighter now holds two legitimate world titles, or the fact that few—if any—are surprised he won.
After the fight was over, Hopkins followed up his boxing lesson with a gem for up-and-coming fighters.
Per Golden Boy Promotions, Hopkins said:
Hopkins’ age-defying performances have become old hat. He is now in position to challenge another young champion to win a third share of the 175-pound crown.
WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson will take on Andrzej Fonfara on May 24 in Montreal.
Should Stevenson win as most expect him to, he should be Hopkins’ next opponent. During the post-fight interview with Showtime’s Jim Gray, Hopkins called Stevenson out.
BoxRec Canada has the quote:
Stevenson is a big, strong 175-pound fighter who destroyed Tony Bellew, Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud in his last three fights, but it's hard to doubt Hopkins in any situation.
If you're wondering about a Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev matchup, things aren't looking good on that front. The boxing cold war will likely prevent The Alien from taking on the WBO champ.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix has the details:
For now, we'll just have to enjoy Hopkins' latest exhibition of skill and longevity.
When Gray was looking for a word to describe The Alien, Hopkins was as on time with a response as he was with his counter punching.
Shumenov was exposed in a major way in this fight.
It's going to be difficult for him to have success against any skilled boxer moving forward. Hopkins wrote the blueprint on solving him on Saturday.
Shumenov's future opponents just need to follow Hopkins' example.
Follow me. I'm addicted to the sweet science.