Hopkins decisions Shumenov


WASHINGTON -- There are few superlatives left to describe Bernard Hopkins, the nearly half-century old living legend still going strong at 49. But brilliant works.

He added yet another piece of history to his bulging résumé that makes him a shoo-in first-ballot Hall of Famer as he outpointed Beibut Shumenov to unify light heavyweight world titles before a crowd of 6,823 on Saturday night at the D.C. Armory.

Two judges had it 116-111 for Hopkins while the third, Gustavo Padilla, had it 114-113 for Shumenov, a scorecard that will go down among the worst in modern boxing history. Even Shumenov didn't think he won the fight.

Nonetheless, it was another masterful Hopkins performance against a man who was 5 years old when Hopkins turned pro in 1988.

"I'm special, in a way that is good," Hopkins said. "I don't have to explain special. There is no definition for special. Special speaks for itself. I had a great night. I am a great champion."

In his third reign with a 175-pound title, Hopkins, who dropped Shumenov in the 11th round, retained his belt for the second time and added another strap, making him the oldest fighter in history to unify titles.

"Another page of history that I hope you don't get bored with," Hopkins said. "Money is great, but history is something that you can never get rid of and act like it didn't happen. I'm glad to [unify titles]."

It was yet another record for Hopkins. As a middleweight, he set the division record with 20 title defenses and also became the first fighter to unify all four major alphabet belts. In recent years, he has also set various age-related records, including oldest boxer to hold a world title (49), oldest to win a world title -- he did that twice, at age 46 and 48 -- and oldest to successfully defend a world title (49).

"Absolutely amazing," Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer said of Hopkins' masterpiece. "He keeps on turning back the clock and making history. Bernard Hopkins should be in the top 3 pound for pound. He turns in these performances against guys who could be his son."

Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs), of Philadelphia, now wants to seek more history by further unifying titles against lineal champion Adonis Stevenson of Montreal, a fight on the drawing board for the fall in the wake of Stevenson's defection from HBO to Showtime to last month.

"I want to be undisputed light heavyweight champion this year," Hopkins said. "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."

Stevenson first has to win his own title defense against Andrzej Fonfara on May 24.

"I think it's a terrific matchup," Schaefer said. "I believe this is a big fight for Bernard and for Stevenson and I will get it done."

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