By: William Holmes
Father time will defeat us all. But, the ageless wonder Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins has defied father time and has managed to stay relevant and remain a champion in the light heavyweight division despite the fact he’s quickly approaching the half a century mark.
Hopkins will look to become the oldest boxer to ever unify belts when he takes on Beibut Shumenov for the IBF and WBA Light Heavyweight titles in the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. Two other title fights will occur on Saturday night, as Shawn Porter looks to retain his IBF welterweight title against Paulie Malignaggi and Peter Quillin looks to make another successful defense of his WBO middleweight title against Lukas Konecny.
Golden Boy Promotions presents a very competitive card on the Showtime network, and the following is a preview of all three televised bouts.
Peter Quillin (30-0) vs. Lukas Konecny (50-4); WBO Middleweight Title
Peter Quillin is one of the boxers that have been negatively impacted by the on-going cold war, and despite the fact this is his third title defense he has yet to defend his title against a well known and popular opponent.
Quillin is three years younger, three inches taller, and has a three in height advantage over Konecny. Konecny however does have an edge over Quillin in amateur experience, as he competed for the Czech Republic in the 2000 Olympics.
Konecny isn’t known for his power, less than half of his victories have come by way of stoppage, and only one of his past five victories did not go the distance. Also, despite the fact Konecny has over fifty fights he has never fought outside of Europe. Konecny has lost to the likes of Zaurbek Baysangurov, Serhiy Dzinziruk, Ruben Varon, and Michele Piccirillo.
Konecny won the WBO European middleweight title in his last bout, but other than that he does not appear to be worthy and credible challenger to Kid Chocolate.
Quillin has stopped twenty of his opponents, including three of the last five to step inside the ring with him. He was in a tougher than expected bout with Gabriel Rosado the last time he was in the ring, and also defeated the likes of Winky Wright, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, and Fernando Guerrero.
Quite simply, Konecny is overmatched by Quillin. It’s basically a stay busy fight for Kid Chocolate, but he needs to fight a well known opponent soon if he wants to increase his value while he’s still in his athletic prime.
Shawn Porter (23-0-1) vs. Paulie Malignaggi (33-5); IBF Welterweight Title
Paulie Malignaggi’s career was on life support until he went into Vyacheslav Senchenko’s home country and lifted the WBA Welterweight title from him on April of 2012. Since then Malignaggi’s career has been revived and he remains a profitable opponent for many upcoming boxers in the welterweight division.
His opponent, Shawn Porter, has the biggest victory of his career in his last bout against Devon Alexander. Porter also has a much more decorated amateur career than Malignaggi. Porter won the World Golden Gloves Championship in 2007 and almost made the Olympic team in 2008.
Malignaggi has the edge in experience, height, and reach. However, Porter is seven years younger than Malignaggi and has a much higher knockout ratio.
Porter had a tougher than expected bout again Julio Diaz in December of 2012 which resulted in a draw, but he was able to perform much better in the rematch with a clear ten round decision victory. He roughed up Devon Alexander in his last bout five months ago, and he also defeated Phil Lo Greco, Alfonso Gomez, and Ray Robinson.
Malignaggi obviously has defeated a longer list of well-known opponents. He won the right to claim himself as the best welterweighti n Brooklyn with a decision victory over Zab Judah in December of 2013. He gave Adrien Broner a tough fight in June of last year but still lost the decision. His other notable victories include a gutsy performance against Pablo Cesar Cano, Juan Diaz, Lovemore Ndou, and Herman Ngoudjo.
Malignaggi however, with the exception of Senchenko, has often come up short against opponents he’s supposed to beat. He has the ability to outbox Porter, but his lack of power won’t stop Porter from coming in tight and making this bout a slugfest.
Shawn Porter should emerge victorious on Saturday, but at least Malignaggi has a very promising career as part of the Showtime Boxing Announce Team awaiting him if he fails to win the welterweight title.
Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2) vs. Beibut Shumenov (14-1); IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight Titles
You won’t find many boxing experts who consider Hopkins to be ranked above Adonis Stevenson or Sergei Kovalev in the light heavyweight division, but there’s little doubt that he remains one of the light heavyweight division’s top draws.
Hopkins career has been considered “over” by many in the boxing industry several times over the course of his career, but after every time he loses he scored a major upset victory to stay relevant. Many felt he was done when he lost to Chad Dawson at Boardwalk Hall in 2012, but he refused to retire and won the IBF Light Heavyweight Title over Tavoris Cloud with a clear decision victory.
Hopkins hasn’t scored a stoppage victory since he defeated Oscar De La Hoya in 2004, and despite the fact he’s promising a more exciting and fan friendly style it’s unlikely he’ll score a stoppage victory on Saturday.
Hopkins won easily over Karo Murat in his last bout, but that was expected as Murat was not truly worthy of a title shot. Hopkins has long had a hall of fame resume, but his most recent list of credible victories include Jean Pascal, Roy Jones Jr., Kelly Pavlik, and Tavoris Cloud.
Beibut Shumenov will be Hopkins’ toughest test since he faced off against Chad Dawson in 2012. Shumenov has a deep amateur background and represented Kazakhstan in the 2004 Summer Olmypics. He was expected by many to win a gold medal but he came up short.
Shumenov will have a slight height advantage over Hopkins, but Hopkins has the edge in reach. Shumenov has decent power, as he has stopped nine opponents including three of his last five. Shumenov however, has nowhere near the ring experience as Bernard Hopkins.
Shumenov’s most impressive victories have come against Tamas Kovacs, a faded William Joppy, and Vyacheslav Uzelkov. Shumenov impressed many by winning the WBA Light Heavyweight Title by his tenth fight, but many observers feel he was lucky to earn the decision against Gabriel Campillo.
Shumenov has a puncher’s chance at pulling off the upset. He has power, and father time is bound to catch up with Hopkins sooner or later. But, Hopkins hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down and possess a near genius level of ring IQ.
Hopkins should win by decision and set up a super fight with fellow Light Heavyweight kingpin Adonis Stevenson in the near future.
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