Alien For Real: Who Is This Man Bernard Hopkins?
Hopkins demolished his opponent
One week later many boxing fans are still asking "Who is Bernard Hopkins?"
Is he a figment of our imagination, or a real figure of the person that we want to be when we reach his age or older?
Again the 9th wonder of the world, but, only of boxing, Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins, fooled Father Time and easily defeated his younger opponent, Beibut Shumenov, 16-2, 9 k.o.’s, last Saturday -- applying every boxing generalship skill of the ring arsenal he has acquired in his 27 years of fighting.
It was amazing to all of us how this ancient warrior fought in a style and energy more aggressive and confident than his opponent, and not even tiring.
Although talk is cheap he tells us how he takes care of his body-eating the right foods, exercising, and gaining another victory, proves that what he tells us is indeed fact.
Hopkins is now the oldest fighter in boxing history to unify boxing titles in the Light Heavyweight division, as he did in the Middleweight division, breaking his own boxing record sand setting the mark for excellence in this tough sport.
“I am not finished yet, now I am going after Adonis Stevenson to claim his 175 pound crown, because I won’t rest until I own all of the Light Heavyweight titles before I am 50”, so I am preparing my passport to go to Canada”, declared Hopkins.
After the fight we feared that another fight judging travesty was going to occur when the decision was announced. Although it was obvious that Hopkins had won the fight clearly, one Judge, Gustavo Padilla caused a minor uproar when his vote favored the clearly beaten Beibut Shumenov, by a score of 114/113. Fortunately the other 2 Judges, Dave Moretti & Jerry Roth both awarded the decision to Hopkins by a margin of 116/111. Black Star’s score card read, 118/110 for Hopkins.
Although round 1 was a very cautious “feel-out” round by both fighters, which I called even, you could sense that Hopkins was just biding his time just jabbing and moving out of harm’s way as he avoided the self-trained Shumenov’s bull rushes.
By the 3rd round Hopkins became the aggressor hitting Shumenov almost at will with sharp jabs and right hands. At times as the fight progressed from round to round during the punching exchanges, Hopkins would score the harder punches causing a swelling of Beibut’s left eye, and blooding his nose and mouth.
At times Shumenov seemed frustrated not being able to hit, nor hurt Hopkins as the ancient warrior bounced around-- punching and hurting Shumenov.
To add insult to injury, Hopkins going for a knockout as per his trainer Nazeem Richardson’s instructions, knocked Shumenov down in the 11th round with a hard right hand.
Shumenov struggled to get up just beating the 10 count, but Hopkins was just content to out box him all the way to the end of the fight.
In the post-fight interview Hopkins stated that what he had accomplished was an example the younger boxers should follow. He said: “You are in this business to hit and not get hit, and don’t try for a knockout, it will come in time. If it doesn’t come then settle for the decision, in the end when you retire, you are the one counting your money, not someone else because your brains are too scrambled”.
Hopkins who displayed a gray beard has been involved in 30 title defenses, and is considered the elder statesman of boxing with a fight record of, 55-6-2-1, 32 knockouts.
Hopkins’ advice to the youth was indeed a profound one coming from a man who spent the early part of his young life in prison, and actually learned how to box while incarcerated. He converted to Islam, and was released after 5 years. Hopkins restructured his life, even though he lost his first pro fight, in October 11, 1988.
Resuming his career in 1990, he won 21 straight fights, 16 by knockouts, and 12 in the 1st round. As we say in boxing the rest is history, and history it is for this genuine role model for our youth, Black or White in this urban society.
I hope that Hopkins would go to the schools of our nation, and talk to our youth in terms of how to lead their lives in a positive way. Maybe there is a book inside Hopkins that should be written.
Hopkins is now also heading a committee to raise funds to erect a statue of the late great heavyweight Champ, “Smoking” Joe Frazier in his home town of Philadelphia.
The other 2 world title fights ended as expected with W.B.O. 160 Champ Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin, 31-0-0, 22 knockouts, defeating veteran journeyman, Lukas Konecny, 50- 4, 23 k.o.’s, from the Czech Republic.
Konecny fighting in a “rope-a-dope” style presented no problem for Quillin who coasted through the 12 rounds winning by a score of 119/109-twice and 120/108.
In the other title fight Shawn Porter I.B.F. Welterweight Champ, 25-0-1, 14 knockouts, scored a technical knockout over former world champ Paulie Malignaggi 33-6, 7 k.o.’s, when the referee stopped the fight at 1:14 seconds of the 4th round when Malignaggi could not continue after absorbing a brutal beating. Malignaggi a commentator for Showtime cable stated that he might consider retiring from the ring.
Malignaggi has seen better days in the ring, and yes he should listen to Hopkin’s word of wisdom of not getting hurt anymore and not even for money.