IBF light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins said that he will be "itching" for a knockout when he meets WBA counterpart Beibut Shumenov in a Showtime-televised unification bout on April 19 at The D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C.
"It's going to be an exciting fight, because I haven't had a knockout since 2004, when I knocked out Oscar De La Hoya," said Hopkins, 49, referring to a ninth-round stoppage in September 2004. "So, you know, I'm sort of itching for one."
In his last fight in October, Hopkins unanimously decisioned Karo Murat 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, whose birthday was on January 15, first set the record at the age of 46 by outpointing Jean Pascal for the WBC’s title in May of 2011 before being dethroned following a majority decision loss to Chad Dawson in May of 2012.
"I tried to get one in my last fight, but I need to get one," said Hopkins. "So in all of my fights, from here on out, I want to leave the ring after knocking somebody out."
A Philadelphia-native Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 knockouts) was ringside in December when the 30-year-old Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs) ended an 18-month absence with a third-round stoppage of Tomas Kovacs for the fifth defense of his belt.
"In San Antonio, I saw a guy whose record is deceiving, and if you sleep on him, he'll beat you. Period. He works like a dog, and he trains, viciously. Not only did I hear that from people where he lives, in Las Vegas, but my trainer, Naazim Richardson, actually worked with him in his camp earlier in his career when he first came to Vegas," said Hopkins of Shumenov, a native of Kazakhstan now living in Las Vegas.
"Nobody has really heard of him, but this guy is a nobody who is looking to become a somebody by beating me. I have to make sure that he doesn't become somebody of significance by beating me or by doing something that never has been done to Bernard Hopkins. The burden is on me, nobody who I fight. Winning is on me, and I must continue to do that."