Bernard Hopkins: Making history daily

Each passing moment that Bernard Hopkins retains his IBF light-heavyweight championship, the self-titled ‘Alien’ is prolonging his seemingly insurmountable record of being the oldest fighter ever to hold a recognised world title.

At a sprightly 49 years-old, the Philadelphian has totally shattered the previous record held by the great George Foreman, who defeated Michael Moorer in 1994 at the now relatively young age of 45 – a record that stood for seventeen years.

This Saturday night, Hopkins aims to not only keep a firm grip on his own belt and extend his history-making feat, but amazingly has the chance to unify the division against WBA champion Beibut Shumenov.

If Hopkins can pull it off at the DC Armory in Washington, it will surely be an achievement impossible for anyone to match and would be a fitting way for the ex-middleweight king to cap an astounding ring career. The former ‘Executioner’ is preparing to once again lock horns with an opponent young enough to be his son and make no bones about it, Shumenov is a livewire that is going to be a tough nut to crack for Hopkins.

Never one to shirk a challenge, the adaptable Hopkins will need to be weary of the Kazakh’s power, something nine of Shumenov’s previous fourteen foes have found to their cost. Shumenov, 30, has been fast-tracked since turning pro in 2007, winning the world title in just his tenth contest, with this weekend’s bout representing his sixth defence of the title he ripped away from Gabriel Campillo at the second attempt.

The seasoned Hopkins does start as the slight favourite, but you have to wonder whether this will be the fight when his age finally catches up to him. The already legendary boxer will have his own fun attempting to prove those doubters wrong yet again as he has done since defeating Jean Pascal at the second attempt three years ago.

Hopkins has been written off from the very beginning of his career, but whilst losses to the likes of Joe Calzaghe, Jermain Taylor, Joe Calzaghe and Roy Jones Jr. hurt, they never signalled the end – and who could bet against the wily campaigner staving off those retirement demons once more.

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