By Derek Gionta, ringside: Bernard Hopkins, 55-6-2 (32), unified his IBF light heavyweight title along with his newly acquired IBA and WBA titles after defeating Beibut Shumenov, 14-2 (9), of Las Vegas by way of Kazakhstan at the DC Armory in Washington, DC on Saturday night April 19th in a Golden Boy Promotions event entitled "History at the Capitol".
Hopkins made history as the oldest fighter, at 49 years old, to unify world titles.
The Philadelphia great put on a display of boxing in what was despicably scored a split decision with scores of 116-111 x 2 for Hopkins and an inexplicable score of 114-113 for Shumenov.
The opening round was uneventful as many expected. Shumenov stood in front of Hopkins while Hopkins slowly circled and threw and occasional jab. Neither fighter landed any noteworthy punches.
The second round was much of the same with a little more activity on both ends. Hopkins nearly landed two sneaky right hands, countering Shumenov. Both let their hands go in the final ten seconds.
Hopkins landed a right hand early in the third and began touching the target with his jab. At the tail end of the round Hopkins landed a short right uppercut and slid out of Shumenov’s counter range.
As the rounds progress, Hopkins heats up. The fourth was his best round so far, as vintage Bernard Hopkins continued what has made him a Hall of Famer and all-time great. His right hand found the target more consistently and effectively. Shumenov looked to be soon captured into the Hopkins trap.
In the fifth, Hopkins landed a clean right hand and grabbed Shumenov while sneaking in two lefts in the clinch. Another clean right hand ensued shortly after.
The sixth round was much of the same as the Hopkins showboating started, compliments of his success hitting and not getting hit in return.
The next two rounds were a continued boxing display by the ageless wonder. Shumenov’s body language and hesitation to be first is showing more as the rounds progress. He tried to open up on Hopkins at the end of the eighth but had minimal success.
The ensuing rounds were similar, while Shumenov did display more aggression and pressure. Shumenov had no answers for Hopkins’ tricky offensive attack, who simply outclassed the younger champion consistently and methodically.
A right hand floored Shumenov in the eleventh round. B-Hop chants began as the round progressed. Hopkins had his most entertaining round of the fight, taunting and landing at will.