IBF/WBA light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins called IBF welterweight beltholder Shawn Porter "the truth," "the real deal" and a "star" in the wake of Porter's fourth-round knockout of Paulie Malignaggi last month. The fight supported Hopkins' split decision over Beibut Shumenov at the D.C. Armory in the nation's capital.
In March of last year, Hopkins, 49, dethroned previously unbeaten Tavoris Cloud by unanimous decision to extend his own record as the oldest man to win a significant crown. Hopkins first set the record at the age of 46 by outpointing Jean Pascal for the WBC’s title in May 2011 before being dethroned following a majority decision loss to Chad Dawson in May 2012.
In vanquishing Malignaggi, the 26-year-old Porter defended the title he had earned by unanimous decision over southpaw Devon Alexander in December.
During an interview last Friday with Showtime's Jim Gray prior to Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s majority decision win over Marcos Maidana the following day, Hopkins said Porter upstaged his own victory over Shumenov with a "fantastic" knockout.
"This guys is the real deal, Jim Gray. The real deal. Congratulations on the D.C. card, man. And you know what? I must say that he stole the show," said Hopkins, standing next to Porter at the Mayweather-Maidana weigh-in. "I know that I did great and I know that I won another title but he stole the show because of a fantastic knockout. He was a disciplined star."
Hopkins has designs on facing RING and WBC 175-pound champion Adonis Stevenson later this year, should Stevenson get beyond a May 24 defense of his crowns against Andrzej Fonfara.
Asked by Gray how he defeats much younger fighters younger, Hopkins offered more praise for Porter.
"They're not Porter. If they were Porter, I would be running the other way," said Hopkins, in part. "That's the best answer and a great answer. They're not Porter; that's all I can tell you…This guy is the truth."