By Jake Donovan
Bernard Hopkins could not have been more pleased with the way everything fell into place for his light heavyweight title unification bout with Beibut Shumenov. From the Kazakhstani signing with Al Haymon and Golden Boy to ensure his place in the race, to lineal light heavyweight king Adonis Stevenson joining the Showtime family, Hopkins was surrounded by motivation to once again defy Father Time and add to his legendary pro career.
The 49-year old fought as such, overcoming a slow start to take a wide decision win over Shumenov in their April 19 clash, even though judge Gustavo Padilla somehow had Hopkins losing. Luckily, common sense prevailed on at least two scorecards, allowing the former middleweight king to do something he hasn’t been able to enjoy in quite some time – look down the road to a clear path towards his future.
Waiting in the wings in Stevenson, who first has to get past Andrzej Fonfara in their May 24 championship fight in Montreal.
Nobody would have blamed Hopkins if he chose to retire at any point from his upset win over Antonio Tarver in June ’06 (and he actually announced his retirement before returning to the sport a year later) onward. But the freak of nature – now aptly known as ‘The Alien’ after spending more than two decades as ‘The Executioner’ – continues to look for something that has never been done before.
With a Stevenson fight looming, Hopkins has the chance to become the universally recognized World lineal light heavyweight champion, his second tour of duty in such a position. The upside to such a feat is that, given his age, it would be a record-breaking moment.
The downside is that it could actually bring a definitive end to his incredible career.
“I feel that I would never get this opportunity again if I left the sport now, to become the undisputed light heavyweight champion. That's important,” Hopkins explains in why he continues to stick around.
However, he also braces for the potential aftermath of success in such a fight.
“After that fight, it will be really hard to keep me around,” Hopkins admits, although he has also begun floating the idea of a showdown with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather in 2015.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox