*WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs), at 49-years-old, made history once again on Saturday night.
He is now the oldest man to unify a boxing world championship and the oldest fighter to defend a world title-besting his own record-as he defeated Beibut Shumenov (14-2, 9 KOs) via split decision to become the Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion.
Judges Dave Moretti and Jerry Roth scored the fight 116-111 for the future Hall of Famer while Gustavo Padilla scored the bout 114-113 for Shumenov.
In the co-feature bouts, Shawn “Showtime” Porter (24-0-1, 14 KOs) overwhelmed Paulie “Magic Man” Malignaggi (33-6, 7 KOs) to remain undefeated and retain his IBF Welterweight World Championship with an impressive fourth-round TKO over the veteran fighter. Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs) retained his WBO Middleweight World Championship with a unanimous decision win over Lukas Konecny (50-5, 23 KOs) in a fight controlled by “Kid Chocolate.”
The event, promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, took place at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C.
Boxing’s elder statesman, Hopkins was calm and confident throughout the fight, enforcing ring generalship against Shumenov who was never able to figure out a game plan to score. Shumenov, who is self-trained, threw very few combinations, and did not press the pace. Hopkins, on the other hand, dazzled with his timing, counterpunching and, at times, showmanship. In the 11th round, Hopkins landed a short right hand that sent Shumenov to the canvas for the fifth time in his career.
After the judges scores were read, SHOWTIME ringside reporter Jim Gray asked Hopkins what he thought of the split decision. He responded, “Listen, when you get into all that about the judges and all that stuff, they go to school. They have commissions to regulate all that. I don’t like to get into all of that. It’s not my job to deal with that. It’s my job to get ready and to unify the championship before 50.”
When Gray asked about his legacy, Hopkins compared himself to another boxing great. “I describe my legacy like a Joe Frazier. We get knocked down but we get back up. I’ll let the historians analyze and debate over the years as I grow a deeper gray beard watching soap operas. I’ll let them break down my legacy.”
On his future, Hopkins said, “We are with SHOWTIME until I end my career. Stevenson, I am coming to Canada. I am getting my papers together. I want to be the undisputed light heavyweight world champion this year, period.”
A disappointed Shumenov told Gray, “To be honest, I wasn’t thinking about the scorecard. I tried hard. Bernard, but he was the better man tonight. I chose the wrong strategy and used the wrong style. I am angry that I couldn’t get the victory. I am a true warrior and I want to fight only the best. Tonight, obviously it wasn’t my fight.”
In the middle fight of the three fight SHOWTIME telecast, Porter rushed Malignaggi right from the opening bell and opened up a cut on Malignaggi’s cheek in the first round. In the second round, Malignaggi was clearly hurt by a leaping left hook from the champion.
Early in the fourth, Porter threw a powerful right hand to the temple, dropping Malignaggi for the fourth time in his career. While Malignaggi gamely continued, he was clearly hurt. Porter closed the show with a barrage of punches that sent Malignaggi down again and forced referee Sam Williams to wave waved off the fight without a count at 1:14 of round four.
In the aftermath, Gray asked Porter what it was that Malignaggi had told him just moments after the bout. “Paulie, wished me the best and I don’t know what he is looking at for himself [in the future] but he said, ‘Make sure they know that I lost to a great champion. Go out there and be great.’ I am going to honor his words and his wishes.”
Speaking about the win, Porter said, “I definitely needed this victory. To get it like that from a guy like this. He touched me in every way possible being in the ring with him. I knew what he was coming with. But I always had questions of my own. I came in and answered those questions tonight.”
When asked what he wants next, Porter said, “I’m going to enjoy this and let my team handle what is next. I’m sure they will all communicate. We’ll come up with the next game plan and we’ll tackle it.”
Gray then asked Malignaggi what it was that he told Porter. “I just said, ‘Don’t make me have lost to an average fighter. Go be great so that I can say that a really great fighter beat me.’ I know that he has that potential.
Regarding retirement, “If I do retire, and I don’t want to make that decision right now while I am emotional, but I don’t want to do it off of an average champion. I want to do it off of a great champion.
Breaking down the fight, Malignaggi said, “He was controlling the distance. I couldn’t get going. He was going away and then bringing the attack. He mixed it up well. He came right at me at times and then, at other times, he moved away.”
When asked about retiring and focusing the rest of his career solely on his commentating work for SHOWTIME, Malignaggi said, “I can’t really think about that right now. If I give you an answer right now I would tell you that I am stopping fighting but maybe I’d change my mind next week. I want to go home and think about it.”
Quillin, who implemented his game plan from the first round, was the stronger, quicker and more effective fighter. While Konecny never appeared to be in jeopardy of going down, he wasn’t able to adjust to Quillin’s style and won 2 just rounds combined on the three judges’ scorecards. The scores were 120-108 and 119-109, twice.
After the fight, Quillin said, “I’m thankful that I was able to get up in here with a tough customer in front of me and get up and fight.”
SHOWTIME EXTREME® Results:
Sadam Ali (18-0, 11 KOs) defeated Michael Clark (44-9-1, 18 KOs) via a first-round knockout (2:06) in a scheduled 10-round welterweight bout.
Marcus Browne (9-0, 7 KOs) defeated Otis Griffin (24-15-2, 10 KOs) in an 8-round light heavyweight bout via unanimous decision. All three judges scored the fight 80-71.
Zachary Ochoa (6-0, 3 KOs) defeated Hector Marengo (6-7-4, 4 KOs) via TKO due to the request of Marengo’s corner to end the scheduled 6-round junior welterweight bout.
Tonight’s SHOWTIME EXTREME telecast will replay on Wednesday, April 23 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.
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Hopkins vs. Shumenov, a 12-round fight for the IBF, WBA and IBA Light Heavyweight World Championship, took place Saturday, April 19 at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. The event was promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona, AT&T and Casamigos Tequila. In the 12-round co-features, Shawn Porter defended his IBF Welterweight World Title against Paulie Malignaggi and Peter Quillin retained his WBO Middleweight World Title against Lukas Konecny.
For more information, visit www.goldenboypromotions.com and www.sports.sho.com and follow on Twitter at @TheRealBHop and @SHOSports, follow the conversation using #HopkinsShumenov and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GoldenBoyBoxing and www.facebook.com/SHOBoxing