IBF light heavyweight beltholder Bernard Hopkins was ringside in December when WBA counterpart Beibut Shumenov scored three knockdowns during his third-round stoppage of Tomas Kovacs in San Antonio.
Shumenov (14-1, 9 knockouts) ended an 18-month against Kovacs, after which he was greeted by Hopkins and Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer in the ring.
"Going into my December fight, before the fight, a lot of people started asking about the potential for a fight between us," said Shumenov. "Then, right after the fight, Bernard got into the ring and I got the feeling that the fight would happen in the near future."
That is indeed the case for Shumenov, who will meet Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs) on April 19 at The D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C., on Showtime.
A 49-year-old future hall of famer, Hopkins unanimously decisioned Karo Murat in October in defense of the IBF belt he won by unanimous decision over Tavoris Cloud to extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown.
During a Thursday conference call promoting their fight, Shumenov said that he will be so well prepared that he expects to essentially dominate Hopkins.
"Right after the fight, I started watching his fights and studying him," said Shumenov. "So I have developed a style to use against Bernard Hopkins. I'm preparing to win and to shock him, clearly, and to leave no doubt for the judges or anybody."
Hopkins wants to defeat Shumenov before perhaps facing facing RING and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson, who will make a defense against Andrzej Fonfara on May 24.
Since Stevenson's bout with Fonfara moved to Showtime from HBO, the talk has centered around a potential bout between him and Hopkins, and not necessarily Shumenov.
Shumenov is inspired by the notion of being the underdog.
"My main goal is to unify all the titles. I am only focused on Bernard Hopkins right now," said Shumenov. "So if people overlook me, that motivates me more. People already talking about Hopkins against Stevenson, that just motivates me more."