SAN DIEGO, April 19, 2013 – Light heavyweight Bernard Hopkins became the oldest boxing title holder and oldest ever to unify belts age 49 with a decision victory over Beibut Shumenov of Kazakhstan in front of over 6,200 elated fans at the DC Armory.
Hopkins (56-6-2, 32 KO) was efficient, effective, and surprisingly entertaining in a fight he controlled from the opening bell. Whether Shumenov (14-2, 9 KOs) was intimidated by Hopkins and his legacy, or unprepared for the strength of his ring generalship, he was outboxed and outfoxed by the veteran Hopkins.
Hopkins controlled the pace of the fight, throwing sparingly but seemingly at will, making every punch count. His connect percentage was impressive, landing 50 percent of his power punches to Shumenov’s 21 percent.
Hopkins started slowly as he always does but gained speed and control, toying with Shumenov like a cat with a mouse. In the 11th round, Hopkins hit Shumenov with a powerful right hand and dropped him to the canvas to the delight of the DC Armory crowd. It was his first knockdown since 2004 when he stopped Oscar De La Hoya.
Throughout the fight, Hopkins played head games with his opponent, something he has perfected over his career. He gave Shumenov the evil eye, stuck out his tongue Michael Jordan style, and took advantage of Shumenov’s respect for the amazing specimen in the ring that is Bernard Hopkins. After all, Shumenov was only five years old when Hopkins became a professional boxer. The crowd loved it, and seeing it up close on television, it made for a surprisingly entertaining contest.
Shumenov fought the wrong sort of fight against Hopkins, and he admitted it in the post-fight interview. “Bernard was a better man tonight. Obviously I chose the wrong strategy and used the wrong style,” Shumanov told Showtime’s Jim Gray. Shumanov said he was angry, and would go home and review the fight.
The head scratcher of the night was yet another judging controversy. Observers all saw it as a lopsided fight, but two judges (Dave Moretti and Duane Roth) scored it 116-111 for Hopkins. Gustavo Padilla of Panama scored it 114-113 for Shumenov. Not even Shumenov thought he won.
No matter to BHop, a win is a win. “It’s the commission’s job to regulate who made the improper scorecard. It’s not my job,” he told Showtime’s Jim Gray. “I’m special, in a way that you believe is good … Special speaks for itself.”
Hopkins said he wants to be the undisputed light heavyweight world champion before age 50 on January 15, 2015. That would mean fighting Canadian Adonis Stevenson, assuming he wins his next bout with Andrzej Fonfara on May 24. Hopkins said he’s getting his papers ready.
At this point, all the superlatives and expressions of excellence have been used up writing about Hopkins. Whether he’s an example of what is physically possible with discipline and a smart game plan, or a freak of nature, or a little of both, it is exciting watching what Hopkins can achieve. It’s enjoyable seeing Hopkins enjoy the ride as much as his fans. Only his opponents are counting down the days until BHop finally calls it a career.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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