CAN SHUMENOV RETIRE BERNARD “POPS” HOPKINS?
TIME FOR HOPKINS TO FIND A NEW VOCATION
Las Vegas, NV- It seems as if Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins has been around the boxing game forever. With multiple championships in the 160 and 175 lb. divisions, the 49-year old current IBF light heavyweight champion (175) faces once beaten WBA titleholder Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs) Saturday night on Showtime Championship Boxing. The Kazakhstan native’s short resume is deceiving as the current WBA beltholder won his title in his 10th professional fight, a Split Decision 12 over slick southpaw Gabriel Campillo in a rematch in 2010. He has defended that title five times but has had large gaps on inactivity. If Hopkins is truly slipping at 49, Shumenov has the busy punching style to send Bernard reeling into a long overdue retirement.
HOPKINS IS ALMOST 20 YEARS HIS SENIOR
The opinion of our Ringtalk radio host Pedro Fernandez, and HBO godfather Larry Merchant who aired on Ring Talk radio a few weeks ago is that “Popkins”(as he will be referred to here) ability to fight at the elite level at such an advanced age is an indictment on the level of boxing talent today in the division or lack thereof. Shumenov must not only win this bout, but do so in such a decisive manner to rid boxing of the “ancient” Philadelphia native. Hopkins has never been stopped in 64 fights. A definitive and conclusive win will put the Kazakh in the drivers seat for a potential unification showdown with WBC and lineal champion Adonis Stevenson (23-1, 20 KOs), who must prevail in his Showtime debut May 24th.
IS “POPKINS” A MARVEL OR BAD FOR THE FIGHT GAME?
Is Bernard at this stage of his career more of a novelty than an entertainer? His last bout had some action, but at this stage Hopkins game plan is more about limiting action than being a part of it. One would expect that Shumenov has the tools and conditioning to pull off a decisive win. The real problem here is that whenever you think the Philadelphia near Sr. Citizen is about to go away, he produces another breakthrough performance. One has to expect that the train stops here. There is no beating father time. Shumenov, while not as crafty as Hopkins, is younger, faster, and at this stage appears to be more athletic.