Hopkins wins split decision over Shumenov
WASHINGTON – Bernard Hopkins made some more boxing history, and did it in rather easy fashion.
Then, the 49-year-old boxer showed his age, referencing a TV character that might have gone over the heads of many young fans.
“I was so in my living room watching Archie Bunker,” Hopkins said, playfully comparing himself to the main character from the 1970’s series “All in the Family.”
“I was so relaxed, so relaxed.”
Already the oldest boxer in history to hold a world championship, Hopkins became the oldest to win a unification bout Saturday night as he captured a split 12-round decision over Beibut Shumenov of Kazakhstan.
Afterward, the Philadelphia native sounded far from finished – or satisfied.
“The pound-for-pound best fighter in the world right now is Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather,” Hopkins said. “I’ll tell you, behind Andre Ward, who I believe is second and should be, I’m not that far from the top three. My age and the way I’m doing it.
“I’m just telling you, I’m not done yet.”
Hopkins was in complete control Saturday and it was reflected in the statistics. Of the 608 punches thrown by Shumenov, only 20 percent landed. Of the 383 punches Hopkins threw, he landed 49 percent.
“I didn’t do that when I was 30,” Hopkins joked. “He was really surprised the way I could stand there and let him miss.”
When the split decision was announced the pro-Hopkins crowd of 6,823 jeered its disapproval. Two judges scored the fight 116-111 for Hopkins. The other judge gave the nod to Shumenov 114-113.
“I shut him out,” Hopkins said.
If there was any doubt about the outcome, it was removed in the 11th round when Hopkins rocked Shumenov with a chopping overhand right for the only knockdown of the fight, igniting chants of “B-Hop! B-Hop!” from the D.C. Armory crowd.
It was a reminder for Hopkins of 20 years ago, when he fought for the first time in Washington, losing a decision to Roy Jones Jr. at RFK Stadium, right across the street from the venue where Saturday’s fight took place.
“It motivates me every time I come to D.C. The dressing rooms, it took me back,” said Hopkins, who improved to 55-6-2.
After a slow start, in which he fought defensively, Hopkins controlled the action, growing confident, aggressive and playful as the fight progressed.
The fourth round saw Shumenov moving forward, but Hopkins landed the two best shots, both right-handed counterpunches, to secure the edge. In the fifth, Hopkins was doing more than counterpunching. A straight overhand right landed squarely to the cheek of Shumenov.
By the sixth round, it was clear that Hopkins’ confidence was growing as he became the aggressor, initiating the action and landing a big combination.
In the seventh round, Hopkins was feeling so good that he alternated leading with his right and left hands, befuddling Shumenov, who fell to 14-2.
“I’m kind of angry that I lost the fight,” Shumenov said. “I am a true warrior.”
Hopkins-Shumenov was one of three world title fights Saturday. In the first, Peter Quillin of Brooklyn, N.Y., retained his WBO middleweight belt and improved to 31-0 with a unanimous 12-round decision over Lukas Konecky of the Czech Republic.
In the IBF welterweight title match, Shawn Porter of Cleveland also remained undefeated with a fourth-round knockout of Brooklyn’s Paulie Malignaggi, who took time off from his job as an analyst for Showtime, which carried the night’s action.