Hopkins says he'll fight WBA champ next
Bernard Hopkins returned to his Center City apartment Wednesday morning still reeling from his morning run down Columbus Boulevard.
It was the IBF light- heavyweight champion's 49th birthday. And when he looked into his bathroom mirror, he saw the gray hairs he allows to penetrate his spotty black beard.
"And then I'm thinking I'm almost 50," Hopkins said. "Who would dream that? And still be active? And still be relevant?"
He plans to stay relevant by fighting twice this year in hopes of unifying the light-heavyweight titles.
Hopkins said he expects to fight in April against WBA titlist Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9 knockouts) of Kazakhstan in either Atlantic City or Brooklyn, N.Y. A contract should be signed within the next week.
Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs) sat ringside last month in San Antonio, Texas, as the 30-year-old Shumenov easily knocked out Tamas Kovacs. He hopped in the ring afterward, waving a yellow Shumenov rally towel and made it clear he wanted his shot.
A win would earn Hopkins his second world title and set up a final unification match later this year vs. either Adonis Stevenson or Sergey Kovalev.
In 2001, Hopkins unified the middleweight world titles by first topping Keith Holmes and then Felix Trinidad. The major roadblock this time would be disagreements among HBO, Showtime and Golden Boy Promotions, which represents Hopkins.
Hopkins called it a "cold war" and hopes that everyone can do what's right for the sport and the fans.
How historic, Hopkins asked, would it be for him to be the undisputed light- heavyweight champion at almost 50 years old?
"You have to put me in a different history book," Hopkins said.