WBA World light heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9 KO’s) plans on putting IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KO’s) out to pasture tonight by beating him and sending the 49-year-old fighter into his next endeavor in their fight on Showtime from the DC Armory, in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. While Hopkins has been bragging all week long how he’s going to school the 30-year-old Shumenov in this fight, it’s Shumenov who feels that he’ll be coming up victorious.
“I have no doubts I’ll be the winner,” Shumenov said. “I’m going to show the world what I’m capable of. I’m going to show I’m the best one in our division.”
It’s impossible for Shumenov to show that he’s the best fighter in the division by beating the 49-year-old Hopkins, because there are two arguably better fighters than him in Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev. You can also make an argument that Jean Pascal could beat Hopkins at this point, even though he lost a close decision against him in 2011. Hopkins has gotten older since then, while Pascal is still more or less the same fighter he was in 2011.
Shumenov has the tools to beat Hopkins if he puts an effort into throwing a lot of punches every round. Shumenov has the kind of power that would give Hopkins problems, but the only thing he needs is to put pressure on him. One thing that’s going to hurt Shumenov is that he’s faced such weak opposition during his career. It’s going to be a considerable bump up in competition for him, and that could be a problem for him if he’s unable to adjust to the better talent that Hopkins has going for him. It doesn’t matter that Shumenov isn’t as talented or as experienced as Hopkins. If he can put pressure on him and throw a lot of punches, that might be enough to get the win.
Shumenov has beaten Tamas Kovacs, Enrique Ornelas, Danny Santiago and William Joppy in his last four fights. Those guys are far below Hopkins in the talent perspective and that in itself could be a problem for Shumenov. In other words, he might not be ready for someone as good as Hopkins after years of weak opponents.