(Photo credit: Casino/Showtime) PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (April 10, 2014) – Future Hall of Famer and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins worked out in front of a throng of reporters Thursday at DSG Boxing Gym in Philadelphia as he winds down preparation for his Saturday, April 19, World Championship Unification against Beibut Shumenov.
Hopkins, the IBF titleholder, and Shumenov, the WBA Super Champion, will square off in the main event of a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING world championship tripleheader at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C., live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast), immediately following the premiere of Episode 1 of ALL ACCESS: Mayweather vs. Maidana.
At 49-years-old, “The Alien” Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs), of Philadelphia, is looking to become the oldest fighter in boxing history to unify world titles, while Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs), of Shymkent, Kazakhstan, is aiming to become the fastest fighter to unify the light heavyweight division with only 15 professional fights.
Tonight on SHOWTIME EXTREME (10 p.m. ET/PT), SHOWTIME Sports® will re-air Hopkins’ unanimous decision over Karo Murat (last Oct. 26 from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City) followed by Shumenov’s knockout of Tamas Kovacs (last Dec. 14 from the Alamodome in San Antonio).
In the April 19 co-main event, IBF Welterweight World Champion Shawn “Showtime” Porter will defend his title against former two-time and two-division word champion Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi. In the opening bout of the SHOWTIME telecast, undefeated WBO Middleweight World Champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin will put his title on the line against former interim WBO Junior Middleweight Champion Lukas Konecny.
Joining Hopkins at Thursday’s workout was undefeated junior welterweight prospect Zachary Ochoa, who will square off against Hector Marengo in the second of three bouts that will air on SHOWTIME EXTREME beginning at 7 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Here’s what the participants had to say after Thursday’s workouts:
BERNARD HOPKINS, IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion
“If you don’t respect your job, it’s going to disrespect you and kill you.
“To be 49-years-old, approaching 50 and knocking on the door of being a senior citizen. It’s a profound statement of my dedication.
“It’s sweeter now to be here with everybody. Everything I do is history. If you had one more chance to see something that you loved before you never see it again…here I am. You’ll have a chance to see history. You can tell your grandkids about what you saw today at Danny Garcia’s gym.
“Taking the test without studying is like taking a fight without being in the gym. The gym is studying. The test is April 19. You can put the cart in front of the horse if you’re a fool and I think people would agree I’m no fool.
“I’m a guy that loves the craft and respects the craft. You can love something, but it doesn’t mean you respect it. Love is the emotional part; respect is the dedication and hard work. That attitude and that demeanor is always going to be there. That’s just who I am.
“I’m still having fun. That’s the thing that a lot of us miss. I’m having more fun now than when I was in the middle or beginning of my career. There were a lot more things I had to go through in my life, but I’m having more fun now than I had in the last 16 years. Since about 40-years-old, we’re talking nine years later. It’s a big deal. I don’t want to downplay it.
“Name another athlete in this country that is doing it at this age and winning, not just competing, but fighting the top fighters in the world. This guy is no run-of-the-mill guy, he’s a threat. I’m not fighting a cream puff; this isn’t a bum of the month club. I’m fighting real dudes. These guys are hardcore, hungry and top contenders.
“The sweet science that has been missing in this sport. We hate violence, but we love it. People don’t look at the sweet science like I do in this ring. The game is to hit and not get hit.
“You can overthink or over study for a test. There’s a time and a place for everything. You have to look at some tape, but I can’t sit there every day watching and watching. Your mind starts playing tricks on you. You start seeing things you aren’t really seeing. I want some element of surprise, so I can check it right there.
“I’m not going to be surprised by his style. There’s nothing he can do that I haven’t seen. Can he say the same thing?
“I’m fresher now, living the same lifestyle. Taking care of my body the same way I did them. I’m in better shape now and with wisdom.
“I don’t get caught up in anybody else’s business where it becomes negative to me. I have tunnel vision. Everything is looking towards my fight. I don’t get sidetracked.
“Shumenov wants to make a name, like everyone else. What better place to make a name than against me?
“I’m from the old school but I’m stuck in the new era.”
ZACHARY OCHOA, Undefeated Junior Welterweight Prospect
“This is my second day training at Danny Garcia’s gym. I came because Danny gave me an open invitation so I was here Monday and he invited me back.
“Every time I fight on a Hopkins undercard its history. That’s what he is.
“I’ve never been to D.C. in my life and this is my first time in Philly. I’m a Brooklyn kid. I’m not nervous, just excited.”