Bernard Hopkins further added to his legacy Saturday night as he took on WBA light-heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov and unified that title with Hopkins’ own IBF title according to ESPN. At 49, Hopkins became the oldest fighter to unify major world tiles. That accomplishment is just the latest in Bernard’s storied career.
Before Saturday night’s win, Bernard Hopkins had already set division records by being the oldest boxer to hold a world title (49), had twice become the oldest to win a world title at 46 and again at 48, and was the oldest to defend a world title. Before Hopkins became setting age records, he had already set the division record with 20 title defenses, and became the first middleweight fighter to unify all four of the major titles.
Now Bernard is looking for his next goal. He wants to be undisputed light-heavyweight champion before he turns 50.
“I want to be undisputed light heavyweight champion this year,” Hopkins said according to ESPN. “The best fighter pound for pound is Floyd Mayweather and behind him is Andre Ward, but I ain’t too far from the top three. I feel my age and the way I’m doing it, I’m not fighting cream puffs and I’m not done yet.
“I must be the undisputed light heavyweight champion before I leave. We are with Showtime until I end my career and whatever fight it is I want to be light heavyweight champion before 50. Stevenson, I’m coming to Canada. I’m getting my papers together.”
Hopkins was referring to WBC light-heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson, who is scheduled to defend his title on May 24 against Andrzej Fonfara. If Stevenson successfully defends, Hopkins wants to be next in line for a shot to wear a little more gold.
“I think it’s a terrific matchup,” Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer said. “I believe this is a big fight for Bernard and for Stevenson and I will get it done.”
Saturday night’s fight between Hopkins and Shumenov started out slow, but picked up in the third as Beibut seemed to hold a slight advantage until Bernard began finding openings. Hopkins scored a knockdown in the 11th, his first since 2008. Bernard stayed on the attack in the 12th round. Despite what seemed to be a clear win for Hopkins, the result was a split decision.
“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,” Hopkins said. “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 to unify the championship before 50.”
Golden Boy chief Schaefer was a little more fiery in his response, saying, “That was complete bulls—. I’m speechless. That’s another judge who should retire.”
Regardless of one scorecard, Bernard Hopkins walked out of the fight with two belts, and an eye on a third.
[Images courtesy of USA Today]