IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins will be looking to put in a ‘Special’ performance when he faces WBA titleholder Beibut Shumenov in a unification on at the DC Armoury on Saturday, April 19.
At 49-years-old, “The Alien” Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs), of Philadelphia, is looking to become the oldest fighter in boxing history to unify world titles, while Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs), of Shymkent, Kazakhstan, is aiming to become the fastest fighter to unify the light heavyweight division after only 15 professional fights under his belt.
Below is what the boxers had to say at Tuesday’s press conference at the W Hotel in Washington
BERNARD HOPKINS, IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion:
“I’m looking to put on something special. Because my thing is, you’re only as good as your last fight. Here in D.C. you’re only as good as your last vote. At the end of the day, I’ve realized that you can be a champion yesterday, but if you dwell on yesterday you will never go forward.
“I’m pretty sure that a lot of people don’t know who Shumenov is. And I tell them he’s a fast guy who is rising in the sport of boxing quickly. He comes to fight and he comes to win.
“You haven’t seen guys rise this quickly in boxing for many years. You usually see 30 or so fights before a guy gets a world title. But I’m not reading into all that stuff. All I know is that the guy signed up to fight a world champion. And he has something that I need to be the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world. He’s in the way of that.
“Not only is he in the way, I have to use a lot of other things that motivate me even more to be successful on April 19. This fight is about my legacy. I unified the middleweight division and now my goal is to unify the light heavyweight division.
“I am blessed to be here through hard work and disciplinee. Shumenov will learn from this fight because he’s still young and he still has some experience to gain after this fight. But I’m not playing him cheap and I’m not playing him short because anyone who steps in the ring with Bernard Hopkins has the skill to be a world champion.
“I believe I’m the most feared fighter in the world or maybe the last 15-20 years in spite of my age. Love me or hate me, people understand how dangerous I can be to a fighters’ career moving forward.”
BEIBUT SHUMENOV, WBA Super and IBA Light Heavyweight World Champion:
“I’m very excited that I’m going to fight one of the greatest fighters ever. I know that I’ve never faced anyone on his level and I know it’s going to be the hardest fight of my life. But I will do whatever it takes to win this fight. And I’ll do anything possible and impossible to get the victory.
“People will find out on April 19 that I belong in the elite level. That I am the best light heavyweight champion in the world. I’m looking to make a statement to the world.
“I’m confident, he’s confident. You have to be prepared for all styles. I never faced anybody at Bernard’s level. I consider him the best light heavyweight champion. And he is in my way to prove that I am the best light heavyweight champ.
“It’s a dream of mine to have this kind of opportunity. I’ve been ready to fight at this type of level for several years and now I have this platform to show off all my skills.
“I was honored to see the ambassador of our country [Kazakhstan] here. I have a lot of fans here in the U.S. and Las Vegas and all over the country.”
NAZIM RICHARDSON, Hopkins’ Trainer:
“When you’ve been in the game so long that you outlive your nickname … well, this guy has been in boxing longer than the ‘Executioner.’ Now he’s ‘The Alien.’
“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to actually watch him culminate into the type of athlete that he is today.
“A lot of people don’t understand our sport and they don’t understand that 30 in boxing is old. This guy is ancient. You have to sit back and realize how impressive this is.
“Beibut is just an exceptional athlete. If you look at this fast pace he’s been on you have to respect it and the success he’s had.
“But no one can ever tell you what you see when you climb into those ropes and you look across the ring and it’s not a fighter, it’s not a fighter that fights well, it’s not a champion, it’s not an elite-lever fighter. When you look across that ring and you see an absolute legend, no one can tell you what that’s like.
“I hope that we can appreciate this guy [Hopkins] while he’s here. Every single thing this guy does in this sport is history. Every press conference he has, every mouthpiece he puts in his mouth. Everything he does in this sport now is absolute history.”
In the Showtime televised co-main event, undefeated WBO Middleweight World Champion Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin(30-0, 22 KOs), of New York, will defend his title for the third time when he meets former interim WBO Junior Middleweight Champion Lukas Konecny (50-4, 23 KOs) of the Czech Republic.
March 11, 2014