On Saturday night, Bernard Hopkins looked to continue defying all odds at 49 years old when he placed his IBF light heavyweight championship up for grabs against WBA champion Beibut Shumenov in a title unification bout.
Hopkins was in for a tough test against Shumenov, but you could never count the veteran out after the way he has been able to continue performing at a high level despite his age. Hopkins dominated the fight, but was nearly robbed when judge Gustavo Padilla criminally scored the fight in favor of Shumenov.
Hopkins was certainly ready for the fight and came out to the 2001 Space Odyssey music in his hilarious alien getup.
Round 1: Both men were patient out of the gate and waiting for their opponent to present an opportunity to strike. Shumenov was looking to establish his jab early and was throwing it out there to keep Hopkins at a distance. Hopkins was content allowing Shumenov to strike first, while he circled around the ring without much action. Outside of Shumenov’s jab, there was very little action in the first.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Shumenov
Round 2: Shumenov came out more aggressive in the second but Hopkins quickly tied him up to force a break. Hopkins swung and missed with a lopping right, while Shumenov stuck with his short shots mixing them up to the head and body. Hopkins landed a solid right on the counter and quickly circled away. It was another slow round that ended in a little flurry, with Shumenov’s jab was once again dictating the pace.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Shumenov (20-18, Shumenov)
Round 3: Hopkins picked up the pace a little in the third-round as he tried to find his groove, and he began to double up his jab and start working some shots to the body. Shumenov was firing off his right hand and ate a right from Hopkins for his efforts after looking over to the referee. As the two fighters exchanged jabs, Hopkins was able to get off first and finally claim a round.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Hopkins (29-28, Shumenov)
Round 4: The volume and pace kicked up another notch in the fourth, with Hopkins landed a short right that forced Shumenov to clinch. Hopkins was showing some nice head movement and avoiding any flush shots from Shumenov, while landing his own rights and settling into his groove. Hopkins landed another stiffright that stopped Shumenov dead in his tracks for a quick moment, before Shumenov charged forward and tried to turn the tide. Shumenov hit a quick jab to the body, but Hopkins taunted him by sticking out his tongue and circling away.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Hopkins (38-38)
Round 5: Shumenov opened up his attack after watching Hopkins come back and take two rounds by throwing his jab to the body. Hopkins landed a lead right hand, which was open all night with Shumenov leaving his left hand so low. Hopkins connected with another right as Shumenov failed to make any adjustments to protect the left side of his face. Shumenov was plodding around the cage with his hands down, which was a questionable strategy to say the least. Hopkins was circling away and continued to rely on the right hand, which he was landing like clockwork as he began to take control of the fight.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Hopkins (48-47, Hopkins)
Round 6: Shumenov wasn’t doing much of anything to put an end to Hopkins’ momentum, which led to another slow round that Hopkins controlled with his right hand over top of Shumenov’s low defense.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Hopkins (58-56, Hopkins)
Round 7: Shumenov mixed up his punches more to start the seventh, but there was no sense of urgency as he watched the fight continue to slip out of reach. Hopkins landed a solid jab and another right hand with his back against the ropes, before clinching up and circling back to the center of the ring. Hopkins was content letting Shumenov walk straight in with his hands down, which led to easy scoring shots for the 49-year-old champ. Hopkins was using his jab effectively throughout the round and continued to run away with the fight.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Hopkins (68-65, Hopkins)
Round 8: In between rounds, Hopkins’ corner told him to turn it up, but he didn’t have to with Shumenov’s questionable gameplan. Hopkins was controlling the movement, controlling the exchanges and doing anything he wanted.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Hopkins (78-74, Hopkins)
Round 9: Hopkins coasted to start the ninth, and wasn’t throwing many shots. Shumenov was looking to continue using his job, but Hopkins eventually opened up and answered with a slick right and two quick pops with his jab. Shumenov was attempting to cut off the ring, but he walked right into another Hopkins shot. Hopkins landed a lunging right and followed it up with a straight left, as he continued to dictate the pace.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Hopkins (88-83, Hopkins)
Round 10: Shumenov was looking to land a hook, but there was no success on his end. He couldn’t get anything going and it became clear that the only way Hopkins was going to lose was a flash KO or a freak accident in the ring.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Hopkins (98-92, Hopkins)
Round 11: In the penultimate round, Hopkins once again landed his huge overhand right that sent Shumenov to the mat and secured the first knockdown of the night. The knockdown lit a spark under Hopkins and he began to pour it on while Shumenov had no answer. Shumenov picked up his own pace and landed a few solid shots at the end of the round, but it was not enough to make up for the knockdown.
FanSided scorecard: 10-8, Hopkins (108-100, Hopkins)
Round 12: Hopkins was having fun in the final round and showing no respect for what Shumenov had to offer by walking around the ring with his hands down and leaning against the ropes. Hopkins was talking to Shumenov throughout the final round and clowning him, which had to be demoralizing for the fighter that was ten years younger.
FanSided scorecard: 10-9, Hopkins (118-109, Hopkins)
RESULT: Bernard Hopkins def. Beibut Shumenov via split-decision (116-111, 113-114, 116-111)