Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Bernard the brilliant

This Saturday at the DC Armory in Washington DC, USA, the oldest man to win a recognised world title in the history of boxing, Bernard Hopkins, will be taking on Beibut Shumenov for the WBA (Super) Light Heavyweight title, as he looks to add another honour to his long list of achievements.

Bernard Hopkins, 49-years-old, is a man who has defied odds and broke records. He currently holds the IBF strap at 175lbs, which he won in early 2013 when he dominated Tavoris Cloud over twelve rounds.

He won his first world title back in 1995, against Segundo Mercado, whom he drew with four months prior to their second meeting.

Then known as “The Executioner”, Hopkins dominated the Middleweight division by unifying all of the belts and beating ring legends, Felix Trinidad and Oscar De La Hoya.

Hopkins’ reign came to an end in 2005, when he was beaten by Jermain Taylor in what was a very close fight - many felt that B-Hop should have had his arm raised in victory. 

The pair fought for the second time, five months later, but this time the fight wasn't as a close and "Bad Intentions" retained his titles.

With another two losses added to his record and no world champion status, Hopkins stepped up two weight classes to take on Antonio Tarver for the IBO strap. The "Magic Man" entered the ring the heavy favourite, but was outclassed from the outset and the underdog walked away with the title and a unanimous decision victory. 

The Philadelphian then went on to beat Ronald "Winky" Wright over twelve rounds, before suffering another defeat, that time at the hands of undefeated Welshman, Joe Calzaghe. Many felt he beat the Brit, but Ted Gimza and Chuck Giampa gave the fight to the younger man, with scores of 115-112 and 116-111.

The reason Hopkins was branded as "The Executioner" is because of the way he ruined fighters, once he had finished beating them in the ring. The most famous example being his win over Kelly Pavlik back in 2008. Pavlik was an undefeated fighter who was dominating the middleweight division. He was never the same after stepping inside the squared circle with Hopkins. He was out-boxed and beaten up for twelve rounds and he was given the first blemish on his perfect record in the process.

Hopkins was chasing records and he was looking to become the oldest man in the history of the sport to win a recognised world title. His first attempt was unsuccessful, as he drew with the strong Canadian, Jean Pascal. He rose from the canvas on two occasions and dominated the rest of the match-up. However, the judges scored it a draw and the pair were to meet again five months later. That time he walked out of the ring the victor, the new WBC light heavyweight champion and he had earned the right to call himself the oldest man in boxing history to claim a world title belt.

He then went on to lose his title to Chad Dawson in yet another rematch, after their first encounter was ruled a no contest. 

So in 2013, he would go on to break his own record.

He took on the very rugged and extremely tough IBF champion, Tavoris Cloud. The effervescent old man rolled back the years once again, with a dominate twelve round points win over a man seventeen years his junior. 

His first defense came against Karo Murat, but it was to be the end of "The Executioner" and the beginning of "The Alien". Once again he dominated a much younger man and retained his title.

Now he looks to unify the titles, but first he must overcome the inexperienced and slightly untested WBA Super champion, Beibut Shumenov.

Shumenov hasn't had many fights as a professional, and really and truly, he shouldn't hold the higher version of the WBA crown. 

His record currently stands at 14 wins with 9 KO's and 1 loss. His only loss thus far came against Gabriel Campillo, but he went on to avenge that defeat in his very next fight.

The man from Kazakhstan has defended his WBA and IBA Light Heavyweight titles six times and has now been upgraded to WBA Super champion.

I think this will be a relatively easy victory for Hopkins. 

"There is nothing he can do that I haven't seen". This is what B-Hop told an interviewer when asked about the potential threat that his opponent has to offer.

I agree with that statement. He has fought virtually every style boxing has to offer and he has a lot more experience than Shumenov. That will be the big difference in the fight and I am expecting the American to walk away with a unanimous decision victory and the IBF and WBA Super light heavyweight belts.