Shumenov is indeed a "real dude." He won a world title in his 10th fight and has made five defenses, although none against an elite opponent. He has vast respect for Hopkins, although Shumenov's goal is to win and etch a legendary name on his resume.
"I want to fight the best and I am fighting the best," Shumenov said. "I've been dreaming all of my life for this moment. I've been ready to fight at this level for several years. I am fighting one of the greatest ever, who beat so many other legends and great fighters. I am ready to show the world what I'm capable of. I will show the world that I am the best light heavyweight champion."
But what does Shumenov, who has followed Hopkins' career for years, think about what his opponent is doing at 49?
"It's truly amazing. It's unbelievable. It's incredible. I don't see where in the past or in the future anybody could do what Bernard does," said Shumenov, who turned pro in 2007 -- when Hopkins had already been a pro for 19 years and had 54 fights.
Shumenov and Hopkins both want to unify titles and move on to face Stevenson, who has his own defense to deal with first, against Andrzej Fonfara on May 24.
"My main goal is to unify all the titles, and I'm not thinking ahead," Shumenov said. "I'm only concentrated and focused on my upcoming fight against Bernard Hopkins, and it kind of motivates me more. They're only talking about Bernard facing Adonis Stevenson. It motivates me more. I don't care. It makes me train even harder. It makes me be a better fighter."
Hopkins has been much more vocal about fighting Stevenson, who jumped from HBO to Showtime last month with the goal of facing Hopkins later this year.
"One guy I care about is Shumenov or I won't get Stevenson, but Stevenson is the motivation to beat Shumenov," Hopkins said. "It's not barely beat him, it's not struggle to beat him. It's to have the top writers saying they want to see Bernard Hopkins and Stevenson. I want to start that buzz. I can't win and look old. I'm more motivated than ever because I got a chance to do something that's very special -- the undisputed light heavyweight championship of the world. I'm not looking past [Shumenov]. I'm looking through him, not because I'm underestimating him. Not because I don't think he's going to put up the best fight.
"My motivation is I'm not done yet. So I don't give ammunition to those to say I should be done. I'm trying to force history to write another book on me. When I'm gone, you all going to get the most boring-est sound bites. Enjoy me while I'm here."