Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs), at 49-years-old, made history once again on Saturday night. He is now the oldest man to unify a boxing world championship and the oldest fighter to defend a world title-besting his own record-as he defeated Beibut Shumenov (14-2, 9 KOs) via split decision to become the Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion. Judges Dave Moretti and Jerry Roth scored the fight 116-111 for the future Hall of Famer while Gustavo Padilla scored the bout 114-113 for Shumenov. The event, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, took place at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C.
Boxing’s elder statesman, Hopkins was calm and confident throughout the fight, enforcing ring generalship against Shumenov who was never able to figure out a game plan to score. Shumenov, who is self-trained, threw very few combinations, and did not press the pace. Hopkins, on the other hand, dazzled with his timing, counterpunching and, at times, showmanship. In the 11th round, Hopkins landed a short right hand that sent Shumenov to the canvas for the fifth time in his career.
After the judges scores were read, SHOWTIME ringside reporter Jim Gray asked Hopkins what he thought of the split decision. He responded, “Listen, when you get into all that about the judges and all that stuff, they go to school. They have commissions to regulate all that. I don’t like to get into all of that. It’s not my job to deal with that. It’s my job to get ready and to unify the championship before 50.”
When Gray asked about his legacy, Hopkins compared himself to another boxing great. “I describe my legacy like a Joe Frazier. We get knocked down but we get back up. I’ll let the historians analyze and debate over the years as I grow a deeper gray beard watching soap operas. I’ll let them break down my legacy.”
On his future, Hopkins said, “We are with SHOWTIME until I end my career. Stevenson, I am coming to Canada. I am getting my papers together. I want to be the undisputed light heavyweight world champion this year, period.”
A disappointed Shumenov told Gray, “To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about the scorecard. I tried hard. Bernard, but he was the better man tonight. I chose the wrong strategy and used the wrong style. I am angry that I couldn’t get the victory. I am a true warrior and I want to fight only the best. Tonight, obviously it wasn’t my fight.”