IBF Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins and WBA titleholder Beibut Shumenov continued their media tour on Wednesday at Lucille’s Bar & Grill inside B.B. King’s Blues Club in New York to formally announce their unification battle 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 with only 15 professional fights under his belt.
In theco-main event, undefeated WBO Middleweight Champ 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 light middleweight Champion Lukas Konecny (50-4, 23 KOs) of the Czech Republic.
Below is what the participating boxers had to say at Wednesday’s presser:
BERNARD HOPKINS, IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion:
"Look at your age and look at mine. You want to risk this being done again, that you’ll be living to witness it? That’s like waiting for another black president. I wish you luck. I’m not risking that.
"You talk boxing. I live boxing. One thing that’s important to live in boxing is the lifestyle. So there’s noting that I’m doing that you haven’t written, because most of you have been writing about me for 10 years or more.
"I could have come out here with a walker, taken my teeth out, and then have him help me up to the seat there and play right into the old man syndrome. But I’m not going to play games with you.
"This is something that you’re going to remember, tell your grandkids, someone younger, someone in the boxing game, someone not in the boxing game. This is not only my personal achievement in history, but this is something that you can pass down to your kids. You can pass down to anyone you care to pass it down to. I can tell my son who’s two years old, Bernard III,that this is the legacy he inherits from me.
"Let’s talk about Father Time. He’s a son of a bitch. He is. Father Time is undefeated because time is undefeated. That’s the fight that I can’t win and nobody on this earth can win. I’m not fighting Father Time. That’s why me and Father Time really have no problem. There’s no war going on.
"So at the end of the day, Father Time says to me, "Have fun, you’ve got time." Everyone asks me about my age because their stomach is out this big. Because they’re eating bagels. Because they’re drinking wine. Enjoy yourself. That’s what you want to do. But when you see me, don’t be envious, be motivated. Be energized, woman or man. And say to yourself: how can I start to be like him? How can I take a page out of his book and have a long life and play with my grandkids?
"When you see me April 19in D.C. on SHOWTIME, be inspired. Be inspired that if you’re near 40, if you’re over 40, if you’re over 50, over 60, that it’s never too late to change your lifestyle. It’s only too late when you’re dead."
BEIBUT SHUMENOV, WBA Super and IBA Light Heavyweight World Champion:
"I’m very excited that I’m fighting one of the greatest fighters ever. That’s the way for me to show the world that I am the best in the world. Don’t miss out on April 19. It will be a history-making event.
"Bernard has his legacy, but I am looking to build my own legacy. But don’t forget that I am here to make history, too.
"This is a great opportunity to show the world that I am one of the greatest champions in boxing. He’s considered the best light heavyweight champion but this is my opportunity to show the world that I am the best light heavyweight.
"My main goal is to unify all the titles, but right now I’m 100 percent focused on my fight with Bernard Hopkins. It’s the most important fight in my life and it will be the hardest fight in my life.
"Bernard is a boxing genius. He is a legend. He has the highest boxing IQ and skills ever."