Bernard Hopkins once again proved that age is just a number with his victory over Karo Murat. His ability to defeat an opponent over a decade younger is a tribute to the focus and determination that have defined Hopkins’ career.
The question becomes what is next for Hopkins, and what are realistic options?
Hopkins has said that he would like to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. I doubt that Hopkins could make the middleweight limit at this point in his career. Mayweather will look for other challenges and Hopkins should as well.
With the Golden Boy/Top Rank war showing no signs of slowing down, fighters from HBO aren’t going to be options for Hopkins. They will come from the Showtime stable of fighters. The network has enough fighters in the light heavyweight division so that Richard Schafer could find a compelling foil for Hopkins.
Hopkins has only a handful of fights left in him. His next fight should be a unification fight with Beibut Shumenov, the WBA champion at light heavyweight.
Shumenov isn’t a well-known name to the general public. He got his title via a bad decision against Gabriel Campillo in January 2010. He has made four defenses.
It isn’t a great match since Shumenov is a boxer and Hopkins is a counter-puncher. The clash of styles could lead to a boring fight. Hopkins would be wise to take the fight if he can’t get anything else because he could win the fight. It would give him another belt to add to his great resume. He also would have leverage for an eventual fight against division kingpin, Adonis Stevenson.
Stevenson fights on HBO currently. Eventually, Golden Boy fighters will be back on the network. Until then, Hopkins should clean out everyone so Stevenson has no choice but to fight him. Stevenson is a huge puncher. He would be a huge test for Hopkins at this stage.
Hopkins lost to a tall southpaw before, Chad Dawson. Dawson was too rangy and fast for Hopkins to beat.
Stevenson is tall, rangy and a southpaw. He is not as slick a boxer as Dawson. However, he showed in the fight with Tavoris Cloud that he is a good boxer. He would give Hopkins problems because of his style.
Hopkins always keeps himself in prime condition, so he would be prepared. If his skills don’t erode, Hopkins may be able to win a fight with Stevenson. There was a brash, young puncher who thought he would beat Hopkins. His name was Kelly Pavlik. Hopkins schooled him for the whole fight. He was never the same.
Hopkins would be up for such a challenge. Whatever happens, he is still one of the greatest fighters of all time.