Bernard Hopkins defeats Shumenov and makes boxing history . . . again

April 20, 2014

A lot of athletes may claim to be living legends, but boxing master Bernard Hopkins is perhaps the one guy who can back up the talk.  Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) is now at the unusual point in his career where every bout he fights becomes another historical accomplishment in and of itself, and Saturday night at the DC Armory was no exception, as the 49-year-old became the oldest man both to unify a boxing world championship and to defend a world title when he defeated Beibut Shumenov (14-2, 9 KOs) via split decision to become the Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion.

Hopkins surpassed his own record with a superb performance, moving laterally to slow down Shumenov's punch volume, slipping punches cleverly on the interior, and quickly potshotting his younger foe with counter rights and lefts.  He even scored an eleventh-round knockdown on a short overhand right for good measure.

Conversely, Shumenov, who is self-trained, had no answer for Hopkins' ring generalship, as he did not utilize his reach advantage and failed to press the action.

"I chose the wrong strategy and used the wrong style," said Shumenov.  "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."

Of course, in boxing nothing comes easy, as judging incompetence is always at play.  Judge Gustavo Padilla's absurd scorecard of 114-113 in favor of Shumenov should call into question his ability to judge any title fight in the future, as he astonishingly gave Shumenov seven rounds in the bout.  Fortunately, judges Dave Moretti and Jerry Roth scored the fight more logically -- 116-111 for Hopkins.

"Listen, when you get into all that about the judges and all that stuff, they go to school," said Hopkins, when asked about the scores.  "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."

The light heavyweight division recently has become one of the better weight classes in boxing, thanks to Hopkins' resurgence, and the recent accomplishments of exciting punchers Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev.

Hopkins made sure to call out one of them after the fight, stating, "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."

Shawn Porter wins by TKO over Paulie Malignaggi

On the undercard, welterweight champ Shawn "Showtime" Porter (24-0-1, 14 KOs) continued his impressive rise in the division, dominating slick veteran Paulie Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KOs) with a fourth round TKO to remain undefeated and retain his IBF title.

Porter was aggressive almost immediately, cutting Malignaggi below the eye in the first round.  Malignaggi was unable to get into his stick-and-move routine, as Porter never allowed him to get comfortable in the ring.

"He was controlling the distance," said Malignaggi.  "I couldn't get going. He was going away and then bringing the attack.  He mixed it up well.  He came right at me at times and then, at other times, he moved away."

In the second round, Malignaggi was clearly hurt by a leaping left hook from the champion, but was able to survive by slipping many of Porter's punches with good elusiveness.

Later, in the fourth, Porter threw a powerful right hand to the temple, dropping Malignaggi for the only fourth time in his career.  Although Malignaggi gamely continued, Porter closed the show with a barrage of punches that sent him down again and forced referee Sam Williams to stop the fight.

The victory brings a newfound respect to Porter's resume, as Malignaggi was fresh off a win over veteran Zab Judah in his last bout.

"I definitely needed this victory," said Porter.  "To get it like that from a guy like this.  He touched me in every way possible being in the ring with him. I knew what he was coming with.  But I always had questions of my own.  I came in and answered those questions tonight."

Malignaggi, a boxing television analyst when he is not in the ring, contemplated retirement after the loss.

"I can't really think about that right now," said Malignaggi.  "If I give you an answer right now I would tell you that I am stopping fighting but maybe I'd change my mind next week.  I want to go home and think about it."

By Staff of and news services

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