SAN ANTONIO — Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said on Sunday that he would “immediately” begin working on a unification bout between IBF titleholder Bernard Hopkins and WBA beltholder Beibut Shumenov, the latter of whom ended an 18-month absence with Saturday night’s third-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Tamas Kovacs at The Alamodome.
“The one fight I will be working on immediately is the light heavyweight world title unification between Hopkins and Shumenov,” stated Schaefer, in an e-mail to RingTV.com,”and maybe even do it from San Antonio, making history at the Alamo.”
Schaefer said at ringside on Saturday that he would target Hopkins-Shumenov for March or April.
A 30-year-old Kazakhstan native living in Las Vegas, Shumenov (14-1, 9 knockouts) used left hooks to score knockdowns in the first and second rounds, as well as an overhand right that dropped Kovacs (23-1, 14 KOs) in the third, by which time referee Rafael Ramos had seen enough as he stepped in to halt the bout at the 2:55 mark.
The result was a third-round technical knockout for Shumenov, who had last been in the ring for a unanimous decision over Enrique Ornelas in June of 2012.
A 48-year-old future hall of famer, Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs) unanimously decisioned Karo Murat in October in defense of the IBF belt he won by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Tavoris Cloud in March to extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown.
Hopkins informed RingTV.com during an earlier interview that, over the next 14 months, he wants to unify the 175-pound division before January of 2015 when he turns 50. The division counterparts to Hopkins and Shumenov are RING and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson and WBO beltholder Sergey Kovalev.
“Bernard thinks that it should be like a little tournament where he fights Shumanov, and you have Kovalev and Stevenson fight each other, and then the winners of those two fights fight for the unified light heavyweight title. Bernard is going to turn 49 in January, so his time for a unification bout, which is another historic moment. There’s never been a human being who has won world titles, let alone, unify world titles at the age of 49,” said Schaefer.
“So that would be another historic event. That gives me the chills thinking about it. I like the plan, but how logical is the plan? I think that it’s very logical. I think that it’s very doable. So I just have to sit down with Bernard and work all of this out. As a person, Bernard Hopkins is one of the most loyal people ever and I’m really proud to call him my friend”.
“I consider Yvon Michel a friend, and I think that he’s a terrific promoter and that he’s been doing a terrific job in Canada building up his fighters, over and over and over. He’s a good promoter and knows what he is doing. Kathy Duva, sometimes we haven’t seen eye-to-eye, but I have no problems with Kathy Duva. I respect that she is somebody who thinks outside of the box and that she’s proactive in doing things for the benefit of the sport. With HBO, I believe that this is not like we got this nasty divorce, and we’re talking s__t about them, and they’re talking s__t about us,” said Schaefer.
“It’s not like we’re never going to be able to shake each other’s hands and look into each other’s eyes again. They have moved on and they’ve had a great year, and we’ve moved on and we’ve had a great year, and Showtime has moved on and had a great year. It’s been a great year for boxing, so there is no animosity between me and HBO. So I definitely see that, whether it’s Showtime, or if it’s HBO, that eventually, the right fights will happen, including Hopkins against Stevenson or Kovalev and so forth. So to see a unification bout for the undisputed light heavyweight championship of the world, if such a fight would involve a Bernard Hopkins against whomever… As his friend, I’m going to do whatever I can to make that happen.”
Photo by Ronald Martinez, Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com