Bernard Hopkins set on unification, Beibut Shumenov then Adonis Stevenson


Bernard Hopkins (L) with April 19 opponent Beibut Shumenov. Photo by Rich Kane.


Calling RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson's recent switch from HBO to Showtime "a win-win for boxing fans," IBF counterpart Bernard Hopkins is looking toward creating another unification match with Stevenson later this year, after an April 19 clash with the WBA's Beibut Shumenov.

Stevenson (23-1, 20 knockouts) must first get beyond a May 24 defense against Andrezej Fonfara, though.

"It's good for both of us, myself and Shumenov, because we're going on April 19, in D.C. on Showtime … [Stevenson’s move is] going to be mentioned by the commentators leading up to the fight," said Hopkins.

"So, it's out there. It was out there when Stevenson came on board, and we'll see him fighting his fight in May. So all of these things are a win-win for the boxing fans. People want to see one guy. When you're a fighter, you want all of the major belts."

In October, Hopkins unanimously decisioned Karo Murat in defense of the IBF belt he won from Tavoris Cloud in March, extending his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown.

Hopkins first set the record at the age of 46 by outpointing Jean Pascal for the WBC’s title in May 2011 before being dethroned in a majority-decision loss to Chad Dawson in April 2012.

Hopkins has already been an undisputed middleweight champion, having made a record 20 defenses of that belt.

Hopkins reigned at 160 pounds from April 29, 1995, when he stopped Segundo Mercado in the seventh round to win the IBF's vacant title, to July 2005, when he was dethroned by Jermain Taylor following a split-decision.

"I've been here before … So, I have a track record of having itch to prove myself," said Hopkins. "At the end of the day … Stevenson has made it clear that he wants to fight other champions, myself, and anybody else … The winner will move forward, and I'm looking to be the winner, and to make history again."

If everything were to go Hopkins' way, the winner of Hopkins-Stevenson would potentially hold the RING, IBF, WBC and WBA light heavyweight titles. That would leave only the WBO titleholder, currently Sergey Kovalev, standing in the way of full unification.

Hopkins said that he is preparing as if he is a 10-to-1 underdog against Shumenov

"I'm not underestimating him," said Hopkins. "I'm in a position where I haven't been in many, many years, and that is that people are overlooking my opponent … He's definitely a darkhorse, but I'm not a fool."