Bernard Hopkins (55-6-2, 32 KOs) unified the IBF and WBA light heavyweights with a controversial split decision over Beibut Shumenov (14-2-0, 9 KOs) in front of a crowd of more than 6,800 at the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C. The controversy was not that Hopkins won, but that the decision was split.
Hopkins, however, was not focused on the semantics of the outcome, just the next steps.
“Whatever the fight is, I want to be the undisputed light heavyweight champion before 50,” said Hopkins after the fight.
Hopkins craftiness exposed the flaws in Shumenov’s technique, mainly his wide-open, but immobile stance. Regardless of the flaws, the Nevadan by way of Kazakhstan showed that he has a chin of steel.
“Shumenov is a gallant warrior,” said Hopkins. “He will be champion when I leave from this I’m pretty sure. He’s going to learn from this.”
Hopkins played to the D.C. by wearing the colors of the Washington Redskins. The fighter who once entered the ring with an executioner mask now came in wearing an alien mask and to the adulation of the majority of the crowd. Shumenov’s sparse fan base sat to the side of the ring waving Kazakhstani flags.
As was the case with Hopkins fights of late, he was judicious with his punches. He spent the first round feeling out Shumenov, landing a small amount of punches. In the second round Hopkins threw punches and grappled with Shumenov in the first half of the round, but Shumenov threw more in the second half. The third was the first round that Hopkins dominated from start to finish.
Shumenov wide-open stance left him open to lead rights from Hopkins, who landed a few in the fourth. In the fifth, Hopkins missed with a wild left hook, but still landed a few power shots.
The sixth and seventh rounds saw little action, with Hopkins seeming to do enough to win both. In the eighth round, Shumenov left himself open and Hopkins nailed him with an unusually high number of rights.
Shumenov pressed Hopkins in the ninth and tenth rounds. While neither was dramatic, both were very close.
In the 11th, Hopkins left himself open to an overhand right and Hopkins put him on the canvas, bringing the crowd to its feat with chants of “B-Hop.” Shumenov got to his feet and Hopkins again wobbled him with a right and left hook. Shumenov clinched his way out of dire straits and made it through the round.
The twelfth round saw a mix of Hopkins power shots.
Two of the final scorecards read 116-111 for Hopkins with the other reading 114-113 for Hopkins. An example of Hopkins punching efficiency comes from the COMPUBOX numbers, showing that Hopkins threw 383 punches and landed 186, while Shumenov threw 608 punches and landed 124.
The main event was part of a tripleheader aired on Showtime that comprised one of the biggest fight cards ever to be held in the District of Columbia.
Shawn Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) defended his IBF Welterweight title and surprised the Armory crowd with a brutal fourth-round knockout of Paul Malignaggi (33-6-0, 7 KOs). The former two-time champion entered the ring a crowd favorite, but experienced the most devastating loss of his career.
Malignaggi and Porter went after each other early in the fight. An accidental head butt in the middle of the first round opened a cut under Malignaggi’s eye. In the final minute of the second round, Porter nailed him with a vicious left hook and wobbled him with a series of rights.
Porter sent Malignaggi to the canvas at the beginning of the fourth round. The challenger quickly rose to his feet, and Porter gave him a devastating amount of punishment. After Porter knocked him down again 1:24, referee Sam Williams had seen enough and stopped the bout.
“I definitely needed a victory like that over a guy like this,” said Porter. “I’m going to enjoy this and let my team handle [what’s next].”
As for Malignaggi, he said that he did not want to make an emotional decision about his future and that he was going to take some time to decide.
WBO Middleweight champion Peter Quillin (31-0-0, 22 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Lukas Konecny (50-5-0, 23 KOs) in a fight that was much more contentious than the final scorecards indicated. Konecny, who Quillin called a “tough customer,” is from the Czech Republic and fought all of his previous 54 fights in Europe. He used this title shot and first bout in the U.S. to show his grit.
From the opening bell, it was clear that Quillin was the more physically gifted fighter and spent most of the first and second rounds pawing with his jab to set up the big punch. Konecny, meanwhile, attacked with a flurry of body shots. In the third and fourth rounds, Quillin began to land more punches, but Konecny responded by working his way inside to land a barrage of hooks to the body. The action was more of the same in the fifth, but by the end, Konecny was bleeding from the mouth.
The challenger looked tired as he started the sixth round and a brief pause to retie his shoe did him no favors. Quillin’s punches seemed to be crisper and the fire Konecny showed in the first few rounds seemed to be fading. At the end of the eight round, he was bleeding from the nose.
Konecny roared back in the ninth, landing more blows and punctuating the round with a vicious left hook. He continued to apply that same level of pressure in the 10th and 11th rounds as well. Quillin controlled the final round and the judges’ scorecards read 120-108, 119-109 and 119-109.
“I’m going to home and watch the tape (of the fight) and see what improvements I need to make,” said Quillin.
Konecny call Quillin a “good champion, but not a great one.”
On the undercard, welterweight Sadam Ali (19-0-0, 12 KOs) dispatched Michael Clark (44-10-1, 18 KOs) with a vicious left hook that resulted in a knockout a little more than two minutes into the first round. It was the second first-round knockout in a row that Clark has suffered.
Light heavyweight southpaw Marcus Browne (10-0-0, 7 KOs) cruised to an eight-round unanimous decision over Otis Griffin (24-16-2, 10 KOs). Browne was a 2012 Golden Gloves national champion.
Junior welterweight Zachary Ochoa (7-0-0, 4 KOs) remained unbeaten with a fifth-round stoppage of Hector Marengo (6-8-4, 4 KOs). Ochoa had sent Marengo to the canvas twice before his corner stopped the bout.
David Grayton (7-0-0, 6 KOs), a welterweight from Washington, DC, had a short night, knocking out Howard Reece (2-5-0, 1 KO) in the first round.
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?