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Bernard Hopkins Becomes Oldest to Unify World Titles

Forty-nine-year-old living legend Bernard Hopkins becomes the first fighter in boxing history to unify world titles when he beat Beibut Shumenov by split decision on April 20.

Apr 21 2014, 2:18am CDT | by

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Bernard Hopkins Becomes Oldest to Unify World Titles

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Bernard Hopkins Becomes Oldest to Unify World Titles

Bernard Hopkins Becomes Oldest to Unify World Titles
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Bernard Hopkins is now the oldest fighter in boxing history to unify world title belts. 

The 49-year-old accomplished the feat after he beat Kazakhstan's Beibut Shumenov by split decision on April 20, per ESPN's Dan Rafael:

"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 resume that makes him a shoo-in first-ballot Hall of Famer as he outpointed Beibut Shumenov to unify light heavyweight 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 boxing history. Even Shumenov didn't think he won the fight.

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

With the win, Hopkins, the IBF light heavyweight champion, added Shumenov's WBA belt, notes The Washington Post's Gene Wang.  

The first two rounds were a means for both fighters to size each other up. Action picked up slightly in the second with Shumenov connecting on some of his shots, per Wang. 

Hopkins landed several stiff jabs in the third before gaining more momentum in the fourth round. He landed his first solid blow of the night in the sixth -- a left straight that snapped Shumenov's head backward. 

Hopkins would never relinquish momentum as the fight wore on, even scoring a knockdown in the 11th round with a powerful right. 

The outcome would never be in doubt in spite of how Padilla scored it. 

Hopkins told ESPN he would not settle for anything less than becoming undisputed light heavyweight champion this year. He is now setting his sights on a showdown with WBC light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson of Canada. 

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

"(Adonis) Stevenson, I'm coming to Canada. I'm getting my papers together." 

For his part, Shumenov told Jim Gray he utliized the incorrecct strategy in fighting Hopkins, per BadLeftHook.com's Scott Christ. 

"I chose the wrong strategy and the wrong style. I'm angry that I couldn't get the victory. I'm a true warrior. I want to only fight the best. Tonight obviously wasn't my night." 

Hopkins upped his record to 55-6-2 with 32 knockouts while Shumenov slipped to 14-2 with nine stoppages. 

 

 

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Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.

 

 

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