Bernard Hopkins added another title Saturday night. | Getty Images
He’s been doubted many a time during the past dozen years, but Bernard Hopkins continues to scoff at those who reckon he’s too old to climb into the ring.
The ageless wonder did it yet again in the nation’s capital on Saturday night as Hopkins unified a portion of the light heavyweight championship.
At a young 49 years of age, Hopkins took the much younger Beibut Shumenov to school for twelve rounds, nary losing any of them. “The Alien,” as he’s now called, did whatever he wanted inside the ropes as his tricky countering style perplexed Shumenov throughout the night. Shumenov, usually a very busy puncher for someone at 175, rarely threw more than a punch at a time and seemed lost in many of the rounds. He stood still as he repeatedly stared at the future Hall of Famer and when he did let his hands go, Shumenov fell into virtually every trap in the book.
In what was billed as a unification bout for the light heavyweight titles, the match quickly became a sparring match in which the old veteran demonstrated all of the younger man’s vulnerabilities. Hopkins raked sporadic hooks to the body, up-jabbed to the face, and landed his textbook counter right hand almost at will. Though he wasn’t a busy fighter by any means -- per the norm -- Hopkins made his punches count and he rarely made a mistake. It was a classic Hopkins fight in every sense.
Hopkins almost ended his decade-long knockout drought when he floored Shumenov in the middle of the 11th, but the tough Kazakhstan-American wasn’t terribly rocked by the punch and quickly picked himself up. Hopkins was even busier in the final frame, but after landing several clean, flush punches, he was not able to put his foe away.
However, with as dominant as Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) was, controversy spread throughout the DC Armory as ringside judge Gustavo Padilla inexplicably scored the bout in favor of Shumenov 114-113. Thankfully that dubious score was overturned by the more reasonable tallies of 116-111 on the other two cards. Shumenov fell to 14-2 with 9 KOs.
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