WASHINGTON — IBF light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins continued to taunt WBA counterpart Beibut Shumenov in advance of tonight's Showtime-televised clash at The D.C. Armory, saying that the attorney-turned-boxer is in the sport as "a hobby" during a post-weigh-in interview on Friday.
Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 knockouts) and Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs) were involved in a heated exchange during the post-weighin staredown at the Marriott Renaissance in Northwest, Washington.
"My title. It's stops now," said Hopkins, who weighed 172.4-to-174.4 for Shumenov, of what he said during their face-to-face. "This is a hobby for him. It stops now. I'm hoping to be giving more than I'm taking, but I'm looking to win this fight very impressively."
Already the oldest man to win a major title in boxing, the 49-year-old Hopkins was last in the ring for an entertaining unanimous decision victory over Karo Murat in October, during which he was roughed up as Murat often fired low blows and hit the older man when he was down.
"I'm hoping not go get hit as much as I did in the last fight," said Hopkins. "I'm looking to win this fight very impressively."
A 30-year-old 2004 Kazakhstan Olympian living in Las Vegas, Shumenov ended an 18-month absence in December to score one knockdown each in the first, second and final round of a third-round stoppage over Tamas Kovacs for the fifth defense of his belt.
"Overall, whatever Hopkins tried to do means nothing to me," said Shumenov of Hopkins, who was ringside at the Alamodome in San Antonio for Shumenov's victory over Kovacs. "I've done my hard work and preparation. I'm very confident and I have no doubts that I will win this fight."
Hopkins-Shumenov is the headliner of a tripleheader being billed as "History At The Capitol," which includes a welterweight bout between IBF beltholder Shawn Porter (23-0-1, 14 KOs) and Paulie Malignaggi (33-5, 7 KOs), who weighed 146.8 and 146.2, respectively, as well as a WBO middleweight title bout featuring beltholder Peter Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs) opposite Lukas Konecny (50-4, 23 KOs), who tipped the scales at 159.8 and 158.
PORTER TRAINED TO KNOCKOUT MALIGNAGGI
"I have a lot of tools. Even though he has some experience, I have some experience, too. I have some of the tools that Ricky Hatton has, and all of the names that Paulie has fought," said Porter, referring to Malignaggi's 11th-round stoppage loss to Hatton in November 2008.
"I don't know if it's going to go the distance. We didn't train for it to go the distance, that's for sure. We trained for a knockout. We trained for the stoppage, whether the referee is jumping on his back, or he jumping on my back, whatever we have to do to get win this fight early, we want to do it."
Malignaggi said that he plans to use Porter's aggression against him.
"You've got to be confident, but at the same time, I can see that he's anxious. I can hear it in his voice, I can see it in his body language, he's already talking stoppage, and we all know how difficult that is to do," said Malignaggi.
"I'm the kind of guy where the harder you try, the more that you pay, so that will be the plan tomorrow. The harder Shawn tries, the more he's going to pay. We'll see if it goes the distance, like he said."
MALIGNAGGI: THE ELEPHANT MAN
Malignaggi weighed in wearing what amounted to a gray G-string fashioned like the head of an elephant — and nothing else — as a tribute to the late and flashy Hector Camacho Sr.
"Camacho did a lot worse than this," said Malignaggi. "Camacho used to show up naked, unannounced, but I didn't do that. I kept the elephant trunks on."
SHUMENOV GETS SUPPORT FROM DEAN CHANCE
One of the belts owned by Shumenov is the fringe IBA, whose president, Dean Chance, was on hand for the weigh-in. In 1964, Chance became what was the youngest pitcher to win the Cy Young Award at the time as a member of the Los Angeles Angels.
IBF participants are subject to a second-day weigh-in between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., which means that both Hopkins and Shumenov and Malignaggi and Porter will be stepping on the scales again on Saturday morning. Fighters can report for the second-day weigh-in at no more than 10 pounds from what they weighed on Friday.
Trainers Naazim Richardson, for Hopkins, and Eric Brown, for Malignaggi, beleive that their opponents are having weight issues.
"Beibut and them wanted to weigh-in at 7, and I said, 'That ain't happening.' I told them that we wanted to weigh-in between 9-and-10. Our guys is cool," said Richardson.
"Everybody down there wants to weigh in as early as possible tomorrow, so that they can go way up to their real weight classes. We settled on 8 a.m. The D.C. commission is starting it at 8. They can't come in any more than 10 pounds over, or there is going to be a big problem tomorrow."
Porter was late to the weigh-in, arriving with his father and trainer, Kenny, just as he was being introduced to join Malignaggi on stage.
"You see how long that it took him to get in here, so we know that he's struggling to make weight, but that's okay," said Brown. "So he just barely made it under 147. He can't be more than 10 pounds heavier than he was there today. That's going to be at 9 a.m."