Who wins Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov?



IBF light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins was ringside at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, in December when WBA counterpart Beibut Shumenov ended an 18-month absence to score one knockdown each in the first, second and final rounds of a third-round stoppage over Tamas Kovacs for the fifth defense of his belt.

By then, however, the 30-year-old Shumenov (14-1, 9 knockouts) already had seen plenty out of Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs), who, at 49, already had become the oldest man to win a significant crown.

On Saturday, at the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C., Hopkins will face Shumenov in a Showtime-televised clash of age versus youth.

Shumenov has studied two of Hopkins' most recent fights, a unanimous-decision victory last October during which he was roughed up as Karo Murat often fired low blows and hit the older man when he was down, as well as one in October 2011, when Chad Dawson slammed Hopkins to the canvas, injuring the aging warrior's left shoulder during an eventual no-contest bout initially ruled a technical knockout.

Shumenov, for his part, has insisted that he won't fight dirty under any circumstances against Hopkins, who wouldn't blame Shumenov to fight him like Murat and Dawson did. In fact, he expects it.

A 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian living in Las Vegas, Shumenov is a man Hopkins admitted that he is "looking through" toward eventually facing RING and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson perhaps later this year.

Shumenov dethroned Gabriel Campillo by split decision in January of 2010, avenging a loss by majority decision in their previous fight in August of 2009.

Shumenov established a title record for the light heavyweight division by defeating Campillo in just his 10th professional bout before making the first defense in July of 2010 with a unanimous decision over Vyacheslav Uzelkov, who had knocked out Campillo in 2007.

Hopkins had already established himself in the record books by then.

After winning the IBF middleweight title from Segundo Mercado on April 29, 1995, Hopkins went on to defend it a record 20 times before losing to Jermain Taylor by split decision on July 16, 2005.

Hopkins wants to achieve similar accolades at 175 pounds and appears to be ready to win by any means necessary, while Shumenov said he's ready for whatever Hopkins has to offer. However, he won't do what Murat and Dawson did and he won't retaliate in kind — even if his rival fights dirty.

Below, polled 28 boxing insiders as to their thoughts on what will transpire in Hopkins-Shumenov.


Marc Abrams,

Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Beibut Shumenov: Bernard Hopkins by unanimous decision. I think Beibut Shumenov may get some work done early. By the middle rounds, "BHOP" will begin to teach class and give yet another lesson to Shumenov.

Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Pacquiao UD 12 Bradley]


Jake Donovan,

Beibut Shumenov W12 Bernard Hopkins: This one has controversy written all over it. Rounds could potentially come down to a shoe-shine but I see Beibut Shumenov doing enough to edge out Bernard Hopkins, deservedly or otherwise.

Record: 4-2 [Last pick: Alvarez UD 12 Angulo]


Anatoliy Dudchenko, light heavyweight contender

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov: I think it will be a very ugly fight. Beibut Shumenov can punch and that always makes him dangerous. But he was very inactive for a long time and I question his hunger.

Everyone in the Russian community knows he comes from much money and he is a professional attorney also. Too comfortable is never good in sports. Hopkins wants to unify against Adonis Stevenson. This drives him.

So I think Hopkins will win with very boring slow fight that will be typical of Hopkins. I like watching him fight. I sleep very well because of his boring style.

Record: 0-0


Coyote Duran, copy/content editor,

Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Beibut Shumenov: I might be part of the smallest of minorities in saying I'm a Bernard Hopkins fan. I enjoy his savvy, cunning nature and wink-and-a-nudge antihero mentality when he plays the psychological game only he knows how to play.

Promotional consideration (or lack thereof), made the light heavyweight title unification bout between "The Executioner" (no, I'm not down with this "Alien" business. Sorry, 'Nard) and Beibut Shumenov possible — and very much in Hopkins' favor.

Hopkins hasn't gotten this far in his career and life on accident or by luck. He's an anomaly to say the least and has always had all the right tools to control every facet of this bout, especially with intimidation, unintentional or not.

Shumenov will be nervous, perhaps on the most subtle of levels, and will not impose enough will or skill on the ageless wonder and will lose his strap with ease — and no shame — to Hopkins, likely around 117-111. And yes, the fight will probably be just as boring as you imagine.

Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Pacquiao UD 12 Bradley]


Norm Frauenheim, THE RING magazine,

Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Beibut Shumenov: Bernard Hopkins has been around for so long that there's not much he hasn't seen and doesn't know. That's the problem. Beibut Shumenov is an unknown, which makes him as dangerous as anyone Hopkins has encountered in years.

With only 15 fights on his resume, Shumenov looks a lot like a paper champion. Yet, he displayed some real power behind an awkward style in beating an overmatched Tamas Kovacs in December. Hopkins is nothing if not a quick study.

That should work to his advantage during the first few rounds. Hopkins figures to be careful early and clever late with tactics that figure to confuse, exasperate and frustrate Shumenov in a fight that will be remembered only as a steppingstone in Hopkins' quest to unify the light heavyweight title.

Record: 6-3 [Last pick: Pacquiao UD 12 Bradley]


Jeffrey Freeman, www.KODigest.TV

Bernard Hopkins W12 Beibut Shumenov: Handicapping Bernard Hopkins fights is like trying to forecast the weather in New England. Good luck with that. Just when you think you know what will happen, Hopkins proves you wrong, a longtime speciality of his.

My gut tells me that Beibut Shumenov lacks the experience and quality of opposition required to tangle successfully with the likes of Hopkins, even at the IBF champion's advanced age of 49. Does that mean Shumenov pulls off the upset? Don't bet on it.

Expect a relatively entertaining fight, one not too dissimilar from the Karo Murat brawl where "The Alien" looked for a knockout that never came.

From the opening bell, Shumenov will press the fight to the inside where Hopkins will control the action with a combination of guile and guts. Still no knockout for "BHOP" but he'll score a unanimous decision in the range of 117-111.

Record: 6-3 [Last pick: Pacquiao SD 12 Bradley]


Tom Gray,

Bernard Hopkins UD12 Beibut Shumenov: I won’t harp on about the genius of Bernard Hopkins but if “The Executioner” AKA “The Alien” has retained his unexplainable conditioning and reflexes, then his opponent presents nothing that he hasn’t seen before.

Beibut Shumenov has been woefully inactive in recent years and will be made to flounder from the start against Hopkins. The more frustrated he becomes, the more success the old man will have with smash-and-grab tactics. An air of acceptance will be on Shumenov's face as the championship rounds approach.

Record: 6-2 [Last pick: Pacquiao UD 12 Bradley]


David Greisman,

Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Beibut Shumenov: Bernard Hopkins is one of the smartest boxers around, intelligence that has long worked in his favor even if time will eventually work against him.

Beibut Shumenov is younger, powerful and also seems smart but he has limits that Hopkins can exploit. Unless this is the fight that Hopkins finally shows his age, I don't expect Shumenov to make that happen.

I don't see Hopkins allowing himself to take shots the way he did against Karo Murat but instead see "B-Hop" boxing his way to victory, perhaps bringing back his trademark ugly tactics or some combination of both.

Record: 0-0


Lee Groves,

Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Beibut Shumenov: Any other 49-year-old fighter wouldn't be given a ghost's chance against an energetic fighter like Beibut Shumenov but Bernard Hopkins has this gift for gumming up other fighters' offenses.

Hopkins' greatest weapon is conceptual rather than physical — his ring intelligence — and that intelligence intimidates other fighters into inaction for fear of what may come back.

If Shumenov wants to win and I believe he does, he must start fast and build up momentum round by round. But I believe Hopkins' know-how will eventually crack Shumenov in the middle rounds and allow the elder statesman to win by decision and extend all the records he has already set.

Record: 3-3 [Last pick: Bradley W 12 Pacquiao]


Andreas Hale,

Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Beibut Shumenov: Honestly, I'm sick of waiting for Bernard Hopkins to get old. It just doesn't seem like it is ever going to happen. And as long as Hopkins faces inexperienced guys like Beibut Shumenov, he'll continue to look good.

Shumenov should have lost both fights to Gabriel Campillo but somehow took home a split decision and the WBA light heavyweight title in the rematch. Shumenov hasn't faced anyone as crafty as Hopkins.

Shumenov will truly be in for a rude awakening when "B-Hop" frustrates him over the course of 12 rounds. Hopkins knows how to pick them and he'll end up looking good against Shumenov.

Record: 7-2 [Last pick: Bradley SD 12 Pacquiao]


Jack Hirsch, president of the Boxing Writers' Association of America

Beibut Shumenov W 12 Bernard Hopkins: I hate to pick against Bernard Hopkins but feel Father Time has probably slowed him down just enough for Beibut Shumenov to win a close fight on points.

Shumenov will keep pressuring Hopkins, who just doesn't have the power any longer to hold him off. Hopkins can still beat a lot of guys but Shumenov is somewhat underrated.

Record: 0-0


Keith Idec, The Record/

Bernard Hopkins UD12 Beibut Shumenov: If he hangs around much longer, there will be a night when Bernard Hopkins gets old in the ring. Based on what I saw in his last fight against Karo Murat, I don't think that'll happen Saturday night.

Hopkins is extremely motivated to fight after his 50th birthday in nine months and he wouldn't have embraced this fight if he didn't see several exploitable holes in Beibut Shumenov's game.

Though a world champion who's 18 1/2 years younger than Hopkins, Shumenov is relatively inexperienced — just 15 pro fights — and won't be able to overcome Hopkins' legendary guile in what' will likely be an ugly, uneventful fight.

Record: 6-3 [Last pick: Pacquiao UD 12 Bradley]


Rich Marotta, KFI Radio, Los Angeles

Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Beibut Shumenov: I stopped picking against Bernard Hopkins long ago. He is one of the most amazing athletes of the last several generations. I picked against him when he fought [Felix] "Tito" Trinidad and then again when he fought Antonio Tarver.

At that point, I said "Never again." I don't see anything in Beibut Shumenov that indicates to me he will beat Bernard. He is strong; I'll give him that but that one-punch-at-a-time stuff is not going to get it done against the likes of "The Executioner."

I think it will be a very slow pace, Shumenov may win a couple of rounds early but that's it and Hopkins pulls away to an easy decision victory.

Record: 6-3 [Last pick: Pacquiao SD 12 Bradley]


Seanie Monaghan, light heavyweight contender

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov: Bernard Hopkins is going to school him. I'm not really too impressed with Beibut Shumenov. To me, Shumenov is the lowest on the totem pole of all four of the light heavyweight champions.

Shumenov is a young, energetic guy and he's throws a lot of punches and I expect that he'll come into the fight with a lot of confidence but Bernard's got every trick in the book.

Shumenov's got, like, 15 fights or something like that and he's never seen anything like Bernard. That being said, Bernard's time has got to come sometime. I just don't think that Shumenov is that dangerous. We'll see what happens though.

Record: 0-0


Jack Obermayer, Fight Fax Inc.

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov: So what if he is 49? Bernard Hopkins plays the part of he old professor well. In this one, he again tests a quite-not-ready – will he ever be – foe in Beibut Shumenov.

Hopkins slips and slides and parries with the best of them. Confrontation is not part of his game plan. Shumenov can only take what Hopkins offers him. Hopkins by decision.

Record: 3-1 [Last pick: Pacquiao W 12 Bradley]


John J. Raspanti, Monthly Magazine/

Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Beibut Shumenov: With Bernard Hopkins, age really is only a number. I see the crafty 49-year-old using all of his various tricks to keep Beibut Shumenov guessing. Shumenov will press the action but Hopkins will box his way to a clear unanimous decision.

Record: 6-3 [Last pick: Pacquiao W 12 Bradley]


Matt Richardson,

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov:  This is the exact type of fight Bernard Hopkins usually excels in.  If Hopkins can continue to fight guys like Karo Murat and Beibut Shumenov, he could probably fight well into his 50s.

Against Shumenov, a relatively unintelligent fighter inside the ring, Hopkins' work rate should be enough for him to pile up points. That probably won't work against someone quick or with a higher ring I.Q. but that's not Shumenov.

Record: 5-3 [Last pick: Bradley W 12 Pacquiao]


Cliff Rold,

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov: With the caveat being that one never knows when Bernard Hopkins will act his age, Beibut Shumenov doesn't have the sort of speed or awkwardness that troubles the older Hopkins. Hopkins, if he's still reasonably Hopkins.

Record: 5-4 [Last pick: Pacquiao W 12 Bradley]


Abel Sanchez, trainer of WBA 160-pound titleholder Gennady Golovkin

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov: This will be an ugly fight, which is very uncharacteristic for Beibut Shumenov, who will have too much respect for Bernard Hopkins early. But Hopkins will look OLD in the second part of the fight.

Shumenov's physical strength could cause injury to Hopkins between rounds six and nine. At any rate, the fight will then go to judges while Hopkins still is ahead on points. If not Shumenov, will outwork Hopkins late to win a close decision.

Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Pacquiao UD 12 Bradley]


Joseph Santoliquito/THE RING Magazine/ Sports

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov: I no longer doubt the old man or “The Alien” or whatever Bernard Hopkins is calling himself these days. He continues to defy time, logic and everything else. Hopkins by decision over Beibut Shumenov.

Record: 4-0 [Last pick: Pacquiao KO 9 Bradley]


John Scully, trainer

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov: I've got Bernard winning a pretty decisive 12-round decision here over Beibut Shumenov. I think he will be up to his old tricks with a lot of subtle tactics that will see a relatively inexperienced opponent looking extremely confused.

Record: 4-2 [Last pick: Bradley W 12 Pacquiao]


Ryan Songalia,

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov: Is this the "one fight too many" for Bernard Hopkins? I doubt it. Beibut Shumenov, though younger and not too shabby, is the perfect style to bring out Hopkins' best qualities. I like Hopkins, the modern-day Archie Moore, to handle this predictable fighter by decision.

Record: 2-2 [Last pick: Ortiz W 12 Collazo]


Rob Soucy,

Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Beibut Shumenov: Bernard Hopkins is the recognized the IBF 175-pound champion but WBA counterpart Beibut Shumenov is a live dog. Will Hopkins show his age in a fight before he retires and could that happen on Saturday night?

If Shumenov was more experienced, especially in a big fight atmosphere, he would have a great chance to pull the upset. However, Hopkins will take away what Shumenov does best and make his opponent fight at his pace.

Hopkins will make it an ugly fight and probably foul-filled but once again, he will get the job done. I believe the vast difference in experience between Hopkins and Shumenov will be the difference.

Record: 3-1 [Last pick: Pacquiao UD 12 Bradley]


Bob Velin, USA Today

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov: Bernard Hopkins hasn't acted his age for the last decade. Don't expect him to start against Beibut Shumenov, who is a smart fighter with some power, which should make this fight a lot closer than most people believe.

But Beibut has only 15 pro fights and has never fought anyone with the ring smarts of a Hopkins. Then again, there's nobody like "B-Hop." Just sit back and enjoy him while he's still around.

Record: 3-0 [Last pick: Pacquiao UD 12 Bradley]


Dominic Verdin,

Bernard Hopkins MD 12 Beibut Shumenov: Bernard Hopkins continues to deny Father Time and make a mockery of it. Beibut Shumenov had the much more advanced amateur career. However, this will not help 2004 Kazakhstan hopeful. Hopkins in a fun-filled majority decision.

Record: 3-4 [Last pick: Pacquiao W 12 Bradley]


Charles Villa, guest/fan, Portland, Ore.

Bernard Hopkins UD 12 Beibut Shumenov: Beibut Shumenov is a pretty decent titlist but at this point, that's all he is: a guy with a title. With less than 15 names on his resume, the most notable being Gabriel Campillo, Shumenov doesn't exactly look like a world-beater.

Sure he's got a pretty decent jab that he follows up with a nice stiff right but it's going to take more than the old one-two to grab a "W" from Bernard Hopkins. For well over a decade, we've all been wondering if Hopkins' next fight is the one where he finally gets old.

There were hints that it was happening after the fights/debacles with Roy Jones Jr. and Chad Dawson but each time, he's managed to come back and school young fighters in their prime.

If there's anything I've learned when it comes to boxing is that you just don't pick against "B-Hop." Hopkins has too much experience, too many tricks and superior skills in this match-up.

Record: 2-3 [Last pick: Pacquiao UD 12 Bradley]


Anson Wainwright,

Bernard Hopkins W 12 Beibut Shumenov: This is an intriguing light heavyweight match-up. I think Bernard Hopkins' greater know-how and counter-punching skills will see him home, picking and choosing his moments to old-man his way to a points decision over Beibut Shumenov.

Record: 5-3 [Last pick: Bradley W 12 Pacquiao]


Abe Wiggington, guest/fan, Arlington, Texas

Beibut Shumenov SD 12 Bernard Hopkins: When looking at this fight, you have an aging legend in Bernard Hopkins is a legend a relatively young and inexperienced champion in Beibut Shumenov.

Hopkins, in my view, is one of the most fascinating athletes the world has seen. He is almost 50 years old and still is fighting at the highest level in the sport. Extremely incredible.

Shumenov is tall and hits hard. Through 15 fights he is 14-1 and has nine knockouts. I believe that Shumenov will win the fight but it will be tough. Hopkins just has a way of making things tough on his opposition.

Record: 0-0



By a landslide margin of 25-3, the insiders favor Bernard Hopkins to win, adding Beibut Shumenov's WBA 175-pound tltle to the IBF belt he already owns to become the oldest man to unify belts in the light heavyweight division.


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