49-year-old IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KO’s) is in the last legacy-building portion of his career as he heads into his April 19th fight against WBA World light heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9 KO’s) at the DC Armory in Washington, DC. Hopkins wants to not only defeat the little known Shumenov to capture his WBA title, but then he plans on facing WBC 175lb champ Adonis Stevenson to try and capture his title as well.
Ultimately, Hopkins wants to attempt to win all four of the 175lb world title belts before he retires in 2015 at the age of 50. With all those goals in front of him, it’s easy to predict that Hopkins may end up overlooking the Shumenov fight this month because he’s considered to be the easy part of him trying to unify the light heavyweight titles. Hopkins is saying that he’s absolutely not overlooking Shumenov, as he plans on being ready for him when the two of them face each other this month.
“There’s no style I haven’t seen. I’ve been in this game 27 years,” Hopkins said. “I want to make everyone to have a really hard time figuring out where to put this alien. Shumenov has the pedigree. His record is the dark horse. I’m not overlooking him at all. Stevenson has made it clear that he wants to fight other chamnpions, myself, and anybody else. The winner will move forward, and I’m looking to be the winner, and to make history.”
What Hopkins doesn’t say is that once he faces Stevenson in a unification bout this year or next, it’ll be the end of the line for both fighters in terms of unifying titles. The WBO light heavyweight title is held by Sergey Kovalev, who fights on HBO. There’s absolutely no way that the winner of the Hopkins-Stevenson fight can face Kovalev short of them quitting Showtime and joining Kovalev on HBO for the final unification bout. Stevenson had the chance to fight Kovalev in an unification out, but he chose to move on to Showtime instead of taking that fight. So what we’re looking at with the Hopkins-Stevenson fight is a match-up that will determine that No.2 fighter at 175 instead of the No.1.
Interestingly enough, Hopkins isn’t the only one in this fight with dreams of unifying all the 175lb titles. Shumenov also has the same goal, believe it or not.
“My main goal is to unify all the titles. I am only focused on Bernard Hopkins right now, and if people overlook me, it motivates me even more,” Shumenov said.
Shumenov isn’t being given too much of a chance in this fight. It’s not that he’s not a decent fighter, but rather that he’s not looked particularly good in many of his important fights during his career, especially against Gabriel Campillo. Shumenov has not faced a good opponent in a long time, and he’s not been very active either. As the WBA 175lb champion, Shumenov has pretty much played it safe with underwhelming title defenses rather than ones where there was a good chance that he might end up losing it.