Fight Pick & Preview – Hopkins vs. Shumenov:
It’s not often, if ever, in the history of boxing that you can look at a 49-year-old fighter and pick him to beat a respected contender that is literally two decades his junior. That certainly is the case here though for the record-breaking Bernard Hopkins, who is fighting Beibut Shumenov in a title unification match.
The legendary B-Hop keeps on breaking records and expectations, but will have a tricky opponent in the shape of the Kazakh Shumenov. The fight is to take place in Washington, D.C., on April 19, and will be televised on Showtime.
Shumenov has only one loss to his name against the Spaniard Gabriel Campillo, who took home a majority decision against Shumenov in what was only his 9th fight. Shumenov was then victorious in a rematch, though it was a somewhat controversial decision.
Campillo is probably the only name to jump off on Shumenov’s ledger. Yet, it’s less impressive after Campillo joined the growing list of fighters to be turned into mincemeat by Sergey Kovalev.
Shumenov doesn’t have lightning hand speed, but is quite strong much like his national counterpart Golovkin. A methodical fighter, Shumenov will look to try and land some aggressive shots without working harder than required. He should have the stamina advantage and will no doubt look to use that as the fight goes on.
Hopkins hasn’t knocked anyone out in almost a decade, so Shumenov hits harder than Hopkins at this stage, but that’s more down to Hopkins’ age and progression through the weights than anything else. He’ll need to exploit this and keep the fight going at a fast pace to impress the judges.
What’s there to be said about B-Hop that we don’t already know? While you might not like some of the opponents Hopkins has been facing as of late, boxers in their prime are avoiding Adonis Stevenson and Kovalev at the moment, so I think we can give the guy who isn’t far off from being half a century old a slight break.
Myself – and the bookies – have Hopkins as favorite, though I am actually giving Shumenov more than a puncher’s chance. Hopkins will want a slow fight, using his superior technique and boxing intelligence to lure him into mistakes and vulnerable positions.
Hopkins showed his age at times against Karo Murat, but still won convincingly using his supreme ring IQ and decades of experience to his benefit. In previous fights, Shumenov hasn’t fought at the frantic pace that many would expect someone to fight a much older opponent with; if this remains true for this bout then Hopkins will see that as a massive advantage.
If this is finally the fight where Hopkins looks his age then he might well be looking at some trouble here. Shumenov isn’t an opponent who can be looked past, not at this stage of his career. Fortunately for ‘The Alien’, in his last encounter he appeared to still have more than enough skill, patience and conditioning to see him last the full 12 rounds against his young, game challenger.
Hopkins vs. Shumenov Prediction
This is a difficult one to call, more than most seem to think. Shumenov is a relatively unknown fighter and Hopkins could either look 60 or 30 years old when he steps into the ring.
I don’t think Shumenov is the guy to end Hopkins’ career just yet though — he has never comfortably beaten any fighters of note and is well into the prime of his career already. Hopkins will take a stroll around the ring and edge this tactical thriller with a majority decision.
His experience and boxing ability will be too much for Shumenov, who won’t get KO’d but will get ‘schooled’ by the old master. Post fight, I imagine Shumenov will fade onto a growing Wikipedia list of befallen Hopkins’ fighters, while Hopkins will be looking towards the next obvious choice, Adonis Stevenson, who with Al Haymon behind him as joined up with Showtime.