The Last B-Hop Waltz? / Shumenov vs. Hopkins

By Michael Schmidt on March 15, 2014
The Last B-Hop Waltz? / Shumenov vs. Hopkins
“It’s my passion, it’s my passion, my destiny to be the best, to be the very best that I can.”

An interesting fight with the potential to be a fight to remember. Each fighter with his own version of destiny and legacy…

Why Men Fight

“The trials and tribulations of a fighter is identifiable to people in everyday life, struggling to get by…facing fear of the unknown…fighting is in our DNA…boxing is absolutely indigenous to what we are.”—Sylvester Stallone

“Fighting is as much a part of life as death is, because the fight begins from the moment the person is taken from the womb and lasts until he is put into the grave. When a newly born baby enters the world, he fights for his first breath, am I right? OK. And then before he’s put into the ground he’s fighting for that last breath, am I right? OK, well that’s it. A man fights all his life to live happily, or no matter how he chooses to live he fights for his substance on earth, he fights for the better things in life. He fights physically, you know, because people do something to him that he doesn’t think is right. This is why I say fighting is as much as living or death is.”—Archie Moore

They come from different cultural backgrounds, this Kazakhstani Champion Beibut Shumenov, and this Philly fighter Champion Bernard Hopkins. On April 19th their backgrounds will merge, gladiatorial, in one shared magnificent push to glory; two different men from two different parts of the world, with two divergent personalities, meeting, on a small space of canvas, fighting, as they have since the day they were born to satisfy some internal, innate command somewhere in the depths of their psyche. “It’s Showtime!”

The Champion Shumenov resides in a 9,654 square foot home on Coast Line Drive in Vegas. His house has a film room, elevator, full gym and a 10 x 10 foot fridge in the kitchen. His days start at 5 am and those days are full including, running, swimming, wrestling, and boxing. The multi-lingual lawyer/gladiator has come a long way from his near death experience as a child when he was accidentally poisoned with bad milk. His family was so poor at one point that they had to knock on relatives’ doors asking for food. 

The Champion Shumenov called in to my office back in January to say hello and to discuss the Hopkins fight. Given his current financial status, good health, mentally and physically, I couldn’t help but ask, “Why fight?” Shumenov responded, “It’s my passion, it’s my passion, my destiny to be the best, to be the very best that I can.” In response I asked the Champion, “Yes it is your passion but why is it your passion?” In response what Shumenov stated, in short form, very much resembles Archie Moore’s comments about fighting being a part of life and death and coincides with Shumenov’s early face-to-face look at death. His will to survive and succeed paints a background, which like many, seems born of memory and thought, so far away in years past but so close in its potential to come back and grab one’s life in its evil ways of death, poverty and despair. Objects in rearview mirrors always look closer than they are!

Deep inside all of us I suspect that fear of losing what we have, failing to succeed forward from where we are, is with us. If you stay on this planet long enough, one way or another, death, loss, fear, the passion of success, or despair of losing, or embarrassing oneself in loss, comes along for the ride.

Much has been said of the Champion Hopkins’ background, the Philadelphia mean streets, the jail time, and in a different life aspect, but possibly the same kernel of never going back, Hopkins has fought on over an extended period of time that is beyond reason. 

The Last B-Hop Waltz?

The Champion Hopkins makes much of the mental aspect of boxing and how his opponents shall succumb in that regard. He is at an age—in fact was at an age more than fifteen years ago—when the proverbial boxing wheels fall off in a hurry. The truth of the matter is that when one dissects Hopkins, beyond the mental aspect and the boxing hyperbole that he likes to resonate at press conferences, he has not knocked out an opponent in a very long time, that being Oscar De La Hoya. The further truth of the Hopkins waltz is that the fighters that have beaten the “Executioner,” now known as “The Alien,” have been fighters who have consistently applied high volume punching round after round. Hopkins likes to take that step to the right and set his own pace. For those that have followed his waltz and stepped to their left, Hopkins’ right, inwards, it is usually brings boxing tick-tac-toe of a long night.

Make no mistake as to where the Champion Shumenov hopes to take Hopkins, mentally and physically, on April 19th.  Insofar as the legendary light-heavyweight Champion Archie Moore spoke of living to death and death to living, Shumenov has been fighting all his life and his fighting makes him live happily. In another life, given his training and background, the Champion Shumenov would have made an “A” cast UFC champion, a top level martial artist, and certainly from all reports, a top level Olympic style wrestler. He is a tremendous athlete and extraordinarily strong at his weight category. 

Dirty, Not Little, No Secret!

The Champion Hopkins of course will apply his usual tricks of the trade, and a most favorite, drilling an opponent’s thigh on the opposite side of the referee. While Shumenov is one of the classier gentlemen one would meet in the lovely world of boxing, he must understand that one to the thigh should equal two in return. My neighbor down the road, now retired former number one rated super-middleweight, Sydney Vanderpool, certainly found out Hopkins’ tricks of trade and the fact that without a response in kind nothing but more of the same is the name of the game.

This past press conference week, Shumenov has made much of the fact that he will not respond to any Hopkins fouls by returning a foul favor. He would do well to keep in mind Lomachenko’s similar thought versus Salido recently. The Champion Shumenov likes to maintain good sportsmanship, and so we shall see or not see as he plays his own mind games with Hopkins, but as some guy named Leviticus said, way back biblical, “and a man who inflicts an injury upon his fellow man just as he did, shall be done to him fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. Just as he inflicted an injury upon a person, so shall it be inflicted upon him.” I wonder if they spoke of good sportsmanship back in the biblical day? 

My wife and I have had the pleasure of enjoying Champion Shumenov’s company over dinner along with his lovely Vice-President of Operations. I recall walking from Sinatra’s, at Wynn Resort, with my wife afterwards when she commented that Champion Shumenov, although an exceptionally polite and classy individual, had a quiet but steady resolve to his eyes that bespoke of some other level. It was a complement to be read in many ways! Make no mistake of what that level will be, portent of pugilism, for when that bell rings rest assured Beibut Shumenov will in one form or another of scientific gladiator fashion, attempt to tear Bernard Hopkins’ head off with a left or right hand. While Hopkins’ mental aspect quotations of psychology abound the simple fact is if you put Bernard Hopkins in a dark alley with Beibut Shumenov, all Philadelphia fighter aside, Bernard Hopkins would get very badly hurt. But this is the “Sweet Science” named for much the scientific measure of belting someone without getting belted back. Hopkins isn’t going to get into Shumenov’s head in regards to the physical danger of the sport. Whatever Shumenov does by way of response to Hopkins’ antics, up to that first bell, will be premeditated and calculated by response.

The Upside-Down World

There’s a series of photographs a friend gave to me. One Mr. 50 Cent and Jean Pascal had invited the Champion Shumenov down to a new gym in Las Vegas. Mr. Pascal, I am told, did some slight indiscretion of manners towards Shumenov. No big deal! Unfortunately Pascal then decided, like a child on a playground, to measure up Champion Shumenov’s strength by a slight grab hold grappling measure. The sizeable and muscular Pascal found himself instantaneously twisted, cradled like a new born, and turned upside down. He is very lucky Shumenov was in a good mood and did not drop him on his head. Hopkins would be well advised to keep this as a mental note as he goes through his usual pre-fight psychological manipulations. 

This past week Champion Hopkins, in further discussion of psychological warfare playing a pre-fight importance, commented how during a press conference before his fight with Felix Trinidad he pinched the Puerto Rican, grabbing three inches of skin and stated, “He (Trinidad) just let me do it!” Hopkins already has a sizeable psychological disadvantage in that department as he surely knows that any type of behavior of that kind placed upon Beibut Shumenov will end up as another embarrassing Pascal upside down like photo shoot! One could easily envision the Shumenov team enthusiastically waiting for that three-inch grab of skin in some Dirty Harry thought of “go ahead make my day.”

Hopkins has further psychological issues in another context of one of his favorite projections, in portraying his aura of strength and mental toughness, that “No one is more disciplined.” Hopkins has stated, “Every fighter is hungry when he’s poor. The great ones stay hungry when they’re rich.” The Champion Shumenov is a very wealthy man and you can take it as a given, in speaking to those that know him closely, that his discipline and conditioning far exceeds Hopkins’. While Hopkins maintains a fairly busy travel schedule with respect to Golden Boy, Shumenov’s daily ritual rarely changes.

While much has been made of Hopkins seeming ability to make time stand still the fact is that time had Bernard Hopkins, 36 years of age, back in 2001 when he fought Trinidad. While Hopkins is, as Antonio Tarver would describe him, “An old slick con artist,” the further fact is that when high volume fighters put pressure on Hopkins he found ways to delay fighting or exiting.  As Tarver commented, in respect to the first Dawson meeting, “He should have attempted to fight. He never attempted because his mind was already made up. He made the decision to lay on the canvas and cop-out to whatever shoulder injury he claims he had. I don’t know how Bernard can live with himself…” As Dawson himself further commented, “A real champion gets up off a canvas and tries to fight… What he (Hopkins) did to me in that fight; that was going to be my night and he took it away from me by play-acting and crying.  I lost all respect for him that fight.  I don’t like him, and I think he’s a phony.” What will Hopkins reaction be if Shumenov, a bigger, stronger, more well conditioned fighter, with as equal and probably likely greater mental attitude, applies rough constant physical pressure? 

Will an unnaturally strong man, whose passion was born from the depths of looking death in the eye, and whose endless energy to train everyday at unheard of levels, overcome year upon year skill set of the aged but self-preached ageless Champion Hopkins? As our Fearless Editor Robert Ecksel once commented, “Hopkins is monomaniacal.  He’s the sun around which all planets revolve.” “I collected my own legacy” states Hopkins. In fact he has two large rooms filled with his own memorabilia that he has collected through the years. 

In Shumenov, Hopkins is finding his polar opposite and a fighter whose mental makeup is so steady, so measured, and so disciplined that it is hard to imagine that Hopkins unending talk of being the ageless legend will even remotely get into Shumenov’s head.  The more interesting question will be settled on a piece of canvas, not much bigger than Shumenov’s kitchen, and if Shumenov, in that kitchen, gets into Hopkins proverbial grill and does not allow the Philly fighter to exercise his usual boxing want of delay, foul filled frustrating activity, and head down jumping counterpunching, then it will be a long night for a longstanding champion in Hopkins.

That look in Shumenov’s eye that my lovely wife commented on will tell you that the Kazakhstani will not go quietly into the night. He’s fighting an older man and numbers do not lie. Hopkins does not, for many years, knock people out. The likes of Taylor, Calzaghe, and recently Chad Dawson, show that a high volume puncher, trusting in his stamina, puts Hopkins in a very uncomfortable spot. While the Champion Shumenov prides himself on how rapidly, over a very short period of time, he has learned the skills of the Sweet Science one can’t help but, in historical reflection, think of the likes of Marvin Hagler wrongfully attempting to box Sugar Ray Leonard and, more recently, Canelo attempting to stand outside and box Floyd Mayweather Jr.  Hopkins’ age is not a lie but Hopkins will, in artistic form, apply his own lie in the ring by way of stepping off to the right, clutching, grabbing, fouling, and under extreme pressure taking a knee if need be. He is ever the punching opportunist looking for openings and short finishing flurries. 

An interesting fight with the potential to be a fight to remember. Each fighter with his own version of destiny and legacy.

It’s Showtime!  Show me time!

Michael J. Schmidt is a lawyer at Schmidt Law Office Professional Corporation and minority Shareholder/Director at Jensen Strauss Agency Limitée, a multi-level marketing agency. Mr. Schmidt has, both as a lawyer and as a representative of Jensen Strauss Agency Limitée, represented professional boxing champions, world class athletes in various sports disciplines, and as well literary and film/movie clients.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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Beibut Shumenov Stops Tomas Kovacs by TKO - SHOWTIME Boxing



Joe Calzaghe vs Bernard Hopkins / Джо Кальзаге - Бернард Хопкинс



Beibut Shumenov Highlight Video



Бокс.Бернард Хопкинс против Антонио Тарвер/boxing.Antonio Tarver vs Bernard Hopkins (HBO) skid



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  1. MIKE SCHMIDT 03:39am, 03/19/2014

    There are a whole lot of these young fighters, with assistance from the parties that manage and promote, that dodge the bullet-pretty sad state of affairs when it is Mr Old School who constantly steps up to the plate- yep agreed Rax- Sidenote- Bernard is probably numero one or two on most folks ratings at Light-Heavy and amazingly enough one of the guys that whupped him, five year clearance wait to get in, Joe Calzaghe getting inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame this year!!!!

  2. raxman 12:14am, 03/19/2014

    MS - its funny you should say that re Bhop stepping up to face young hungry challengers - coz he did the same when fighting Taylor. watching the link above to the hop v taylor fight they make that very point. that how impressive it was that the nearly 40 year old hopkins didn’t take an easy fight .

  3. Mike Schmidt 06:04pm, 03/18/2014

    Last note - gotta give Hopkins credit for taking on all these tough young Lions. Sad state of affairs when the “old guy” is the one stepping up to the plate. Shumenov is a tough tough fight for him to take

  4. MIKE SCHMIDT 04:08pm, 03/18/2014

    On the who we should see Rax I will do my broken record again- the bigger fights are controlled in the end by the TV lads, HBO and SHOWTIME and they seem to be spineless when it comes to simply saying NO you are not fighting Cotto, you are fighting GGG or go elsewhere. NO you are not fighting another roll over UBERMAN, you are fighting Kovalev or go elsewhere- no TV money- good luck lads you aren’t getting paid shite. I had to laugh the other watching Superman state he will gladly fight Kovalev- “just pay me what I should get” I got news Superman, present economic climate, take away the TV dough and we shall see what you are worth- minus it 20 times over and take a chunk of live gate and get the fuck outta here- forgedda about it!!!!! Adios Rax. Get those ratings going and buzz The Fearless Editor to do a good write up on it.

  5. raxman 03:33pm, 03/18/2014

    MS - oh yeah the alphabets are a joke - and I think the WBA are without doubt the worst.
    for the pac/Floyd vs cotto - if you start to measure like that you find yourself on a slippery slope as you have to consider pac fought cotto at a catch weight of 145 when cotto was struggling to make 147. Floyd fought him at 154. or the jmm factor of Floyd dominating albeit with a weight advantage his way this time and pac vs jmm -  well, enough said.
    styles will always make fights so should we really be making ratings judgements based on anything other than Win/Loss results?
    a fighter gets reward for an aggressive style with $$$$ - lets say winky wright compared to Fernando Vargas (these two spring to mind coz of bhop v taylor video attached) Vargas has a style that gets a following and as a result good paydays and merchandise sales while next to nobody wanted to watch the spoiling winky.
    you know all in all I think the belts are irrelevant (and have thought this for years). does anyone care what belts are on the line on May 3? so perhaps ranking fighters is also irrelevant. we know who we think are the best in their division and we want to see them fight. Stevenson and kovalev. uchiyama and Garcia. rigondeaux and santa cruz. Hernandez and Huck. Floyd and Bradley. it doesn’t really matter what has them ranked where. I think the bright side to the promoter/network civil war is that although we wont get all the fights we want to see we’re at least seeing fights that are worth seeing - and neither the rankings or the belts are much of a factor.

  6. Mike Schmidt 02:57pm, 03/18/2014

    Thanks Rax- sounds very interesting- yes based on opposition and the result ( I don’t know) ie One guy knocks out common opponent and/or dominates the living shit out of the guy- other guy beats him but not as convincingly- or how about a Mayweather Pac analogy- Pac destroys Cotto, Mayweather not quite so- I wish you luck Sir and look forward to seeing- Forgetting where one would rate Beibut- that is a perfect example- Ring Mag has him I think 5, boxrec 30 and the TRB I think it was 6- that is a substantial swing of things. PS we probably should not get to fucking excited about the ratings anyways Rax- the sanction lads put in who they want- I shook my head a few years ago- a kid was all over me to do a sign up, kid from Panama, record 12-13 ( hell of a fighter when he wanted to actually be one, but none the less, 12-13. I politely decline, thanking him for considering us, wake up one find sunny morning a few months later and see he is getting a WBA World Title Shot- hola fucking hola ( You will laugh yer arse on this part- I call some lads I know at the WBA, all still in good humor, and say “Next time you do some fucking thing like that why not let me know”- can you imagine Rax, you sign a kid, 12-13, and one week later ya got him a title shot!!! Talk about your local fookin hero!!! Anyways, thanks for the post Sir.

  7. raxman 02:28pm, 03/18/2014

    MS - from memory Box rec use a points system - although I think its flawed. I’m involved with a couple of blokes putting together a scoring system that is based on that of tennis that rewards those fighters who fight high ranked opposition - whether winning or losing points are awarded. we’re spending the next 3 years collating the data before rolling it out. the problem that we have with TRB is its totally subjective with a few guys having final say. I will never be on board with a system of scoring where you can decide an official decision doesn’t count (regardless of how many people think it a robbery) nor can I be on board with a system that rewards power punchers over technicians. I know TRB is a who’s who of boxing journos with more knowledge of the sport than I but in this instance (and those that instances of blind love for GGG) I don’t agree.

  8. Mike Schmidt 03:34pm, 03/17/2014

    True, true enough but then you can’t really play the race card when your “The Alien.” He is apparently no longer of the human race. I suppose he could shred a flag but that may incur an invasion of the body snatcher thing from Shumenov. Seriously, this fight is a sell out, with Showtime T.V so there is really not too much Mr Alien has to do on this one to pump it up. He knows the business and now it is time to get down to the serious business of getting in the right mind set- whatever that is for Mr. Alien. Irish Darcy is here at Macabe’s Irish Bar and just chirped up..“It must be fun punching a fookin Alien in the face- do they got balls then do they Smitty- give me a little Irish South of the border fer ged measure.” It is going to be a long night!!!!

  9. Mel 02:44pm, 03/17/2014

    Well Schmidt, there has not been any flag destruction or race card - not losing to any White Boy business!

  10. Mike Schmidt 12:29am, 03/17/2014

    Always good to hear from ya Canada’s Second Oldest Boxing Champ- I know you will dispute that comment but George Chuvalo has never given up his Canadian Heavy Title!!! P.S I see the young kid that you boxed the ears off, is fighting for a Canadian Middle Title- enjoy your retirement with a big smile on that one Whipper…a better Rose, a better looking Whip!!!! On Hopkins yes it will be interesting to see how these two fighters come out off that first bell

  11. Fitz The Whip Vanderpool 06:19pm, 03/16/2014

    This is an interesting match up.  Does the younger stronger Shumenov takr the fight to bhop snd rough him up early ? Does bhop use his craftiness and take the fight into the late rounds ?

  12. Mike Schmidt 05:33pm, 03/16/2014

    Come to think of it Rax, all this B Hop Beibut fight aside, it would be interesting to hear from the TRB folks as to numero six vs Boxrec 30. That is a pretty wide break between two ratings systems. I am somewhat embarrassed to say I have not given boxrec a really detailed look as to how their computer system breaks these things down- nor the TRB- do they vote individually or is there some kind of computer generated, or personally generated, point system??

  13. Mike Schmidt 05:29pm, 03/16/2014

    Interesting for Sure. Transnational Ratings I think has Shumenov numero 6. Hopkins age, his record the past nine years, 8-4-1 with the NC as well against Dawson ( not exactly a stellar record the past nine years!!) , make every fight he has interesting. He has had one of the more amazing runs in sports history for sure but he is also the same guy that lost to Taylor a lonnnng time ago, and Calzaghe etc etc….as threads have said on this site in the past, “Hopkins is as about as exciting as watching paint dry…” Does Shumenov choose to come out of the gate hard and fast, does Hopkins decide to engage like he did against Murat….should be interesting. “J Rock” try not to get into any trouble and the only “chicks” that I can think poolside at Hard Rock, re a Luxor show, is probably the lovies from “Fantasy”—ah to be young but try not to be stupid!!!!!

  14. raxman 03:43pm, 03/16/2014

    Stevenson. kovalev. Hopkins. shumenov. one of these things is not like the others.
    come on guys shumenov isn’t even worth being called a paper champ. the WBC, WBO and IBF champions have all beaten quality opposition - more than once. that is they’ve earned their right to be called champ. I thinks its great that Shumenov is fighting a still going strong veteran like Bhop in his 16th fight but its ridiculous that he is able to do so as champion - Campillo his biggest scalp. and then defences against a who’s who of nobodies - oh and William joppy - who got his title shot on the back of 2 loses and a draw. the WBA is an absolute joke and shumenov is its punch line. when was the last time a holder of one of the big 4 belts was ranked as low as #30 on box rec?
    shumenove may even win this fight - given Hopkins is 87, but based on his defences so far I can’t see a unification with Stevenson or Kovalev ever happening.

  15. NYIrish 08:36am, 03/16/2014

    Somebody needs to chase Hopkins into retirement. He’s way past his excitement expiration date. Don’t think Shu is the one to do it though. A little too wooden and predictable. Then again one good shot that the old fighter doesn’t see coming could end it.

  16. J Rock 07:28am, 03/16/2014

    Old Man- Shumenov does not have to throw as much power punches- just keep hands moving-volume. Take the early rounds and make the mid to late ones ugly-reverse Hopkins style. Take the early rounds with high volume as Hopkins rarely knocks guys out- move in behind hard jabs ( Hopkins can still buzz -not to be reckless in going after Old Popkins). Pascal, he of the upside down, had the right idea the first four rounds of the first fight- Hopkins on the canvas and looking confused- Pascal just not a 12 round fighter. Gassed and did not have mental or physical attributes. Fights like he did at Hard Rock (pool party rocking, thanks, chicks from the Luxor show are over here) then Popkins will have a bruising affair.

  17. carlos varela jr. 06:14pm, 03/15/2014

    This is the fight I really want to see, no the Bute vs Pascal historic fight no even close to be a historic fiasco, admire Bernard integrity in taking on one of the most difficult opponent in his career, do not count him out like many have before he is a very crafty fighter, supreme intelligence in the ring the ability to adapt to any style, Beibut Shumenov without doubt a fighter no other lightheavyweight champion wants to touch let see what the Hall of Fame Bernard Hopkins has in his tank.

  18. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 02:42pm, 03/15/2014

    These are the guys Chavez Jr should be fighting….he would outweigh any and all of them at fight time anyway….let’s see him play the leather eating brute with these guys who can really crack. Truth is…. he would run Pascal and Bute out of the ring.

  19. Kevin 10:26am, 03/15/2014

    In this case the attorney is the fighter!

  20. Eric 09:58am, 03/15/2014

    The insightful Archie Moore. Of course the modern man lets his attorney fight for him.

  21. Dasha 09:05am, 03/15/2014

    Who is to say!! Think of Spinks with under ten fights manhandle of Ali..This must have been a very embarrassing moment for Pascal I would think- a grown man being picked up so easy and controlled!!!

  22. EL BASTARDO MAGNIFICO 08:27am, 03/15/2014

    PS Irish have a great Paddy day- Irish Darcy is in late Monday for his annual visit so we will have our hands full- I am off up North on emergency run- roof leak- so adios to all for the next 24 hours or so. Enjoy the scraps tonight.

  23. EL BASTARDO MAGNIFICO 08:25am, 03/15/2014

    Thanks Matt. Irish I got a note from a friend on Jackie this past week. Fitting he will go from his Penthouse to a nice St Patty day celebration of his life. A legend for sure-Omaha bookeeeee to small stake in the Flamingo early sixties to legend, legend, legend. Always sorry to see another old timer pass-the landscape of business in Vegas of course makes him a non-replaceable by story upbringing. As for that second hand smoke Sir- I don’t know- my dear Old Pops smoked three packs per day, Players, from the age of 12 well into his mid Seventies- he passed of Cancer but not of the lung- my brother and I recall watching Saturday Night Hockey with my Dad and his beer drinking buddies, and by the second period we could not see the T.V screen- a blue haze… it became more like a Radio broadcast of the legendary Foster Hewitt by that point!!! What type of Shumenov comes out, options B…should be fun any which way…

  24. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 08:08am, 03/15/2014

    Michael Schmidt-Thanks for a great size up…. especially of Shumenov….I wonder if he will be busy enough and throw enough punches….I also wonder as to his wealth that you describe….a short career and I don’t recall any hellacious purses…..he must have something else going on. Did you note Jackie Gaughn’s passing….don’t know if he was a smoker but I do know that he spent a lifetime sucking in second hand smoke in his downtown casino empire and still made it to 93.

  25. Matt McGrain 06:26am, 03/15/2014

    Lovely.
    Tell you what, I wrote some years ago that “the next time Hopkins loses I’ll be wrong and that’s fine.”  I never pick against him.  I think he’ll be beating 14, 15 fight pros when he’s sixty.

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