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“The Alien” Looks To Turn Back The Hands Of Time Once More

It's not hard to believe that Bernard Hopkins will turn 50 years of age this coming January, but it almost requires a suspension of belief to realize that he is still winning and defending world title belts.

The question of how much longer can "The Alien" continue his otherworldly accomplishments is really what makes his light heavyweight unification fight this evening with Beibut Shumenov interesting as they face off at the Armory in Washington DC.

Shumenov, 14-1 (9), won a light heavyweight world title in less pro bouts than anyone before him in 2010 when he defeated WBA beltholder Gabriel Campillo by controversial split decision, following a loss to Campillo in Shumenov's first attempt in 2009.

Since then the Kazakhstan native defended his WBA crown against Vyacheslav Uzelkov, William Joppy, Danny Santiago, Enrique Ornelas and Tamas Kovacs.

Compare the resume of Hopkins over the same 2010-2013 time frame: wins over Roy Jones Jr, Jean Pascal, Tavoris Cloud and Karo Murat, a loss to Chad Dawson, a draw against Pascal and a no-contest against Dawson.

Neither CV is bulletproof but ex-unified middleweight world champion Hopkins has clearly faced the tougher lineup.

Will that mean anything once Hopkins and Shumenov start throwing punches at each other or will the fact that Shumenov is 30 years old and a career light heavyweight become a far more important consideration?

Over the last 21 years, Hopkins has only lost to Dawson, Joe Calzaghe and on two occasions to Jermain Taylor, who were all able to impose a fast pace on Hopkins, who tries to force a slower fight on opponents.

And that's what this fight comes down to: if Shumenov can shake off the "veteran" tactics of Hopkins and set a youthful fast pace, outworking the Philadelphian and forcing him into an exhausted defensive shell in the later rounds, the Las Vegas resident will acquire Hopkins' IBF crown.

But Hopkins is very good at angering his opponent and making them look to land one big punch, giving him opportunity to mount a very slow, punch on the inside and hold the rest of the time strategy that he is so good at producing.

By employing his superb jabs and still very quick lead right hands, Hopkins will seek to cut down the distance that Shumenov will almost certainly attempt to initially maintain.

If he can do that and exploit the relative inexperience of Shumenov, Hopkins will add the WBA belt to his already packed trophy cabinet.

No one can defeat Father Time forver, not even Bernard Hopkins, and we will see if this is the occasion that the clock will finally gain revenge on "The Alien".

There are two world title bouts on the undercard as IBF welter boss Shawn Porter, 23-0-1 (14), faces former two-weight world champ Paulie Malignaggi, 33-5 (7), while WBO middleweight ruler Peter Quillin, 30-0 (22), defends against Lukas Konecny, 50-4 (23).

Ex-light middle and Manny Pacquiao sparring partner Porter was thought to be too inexperienced to defeat reigning IBF champion Devon Alexander this past December but the Ohio man convincingly pulled off the upset.

The 26 year old Porter proved to be too quick and strong for Alexander and Malignaggi faces the same problem, possibly more so as the New Yorker lacks the concussive punch to keep the champion at bay.

Malignaggi is cagey and perhaps the better boxer here but is 33 years of age and his only hope for victory is to outwork the younger, stronger and quicker Porter, which is probably unlikely to occur.

Quillin will look to be successful in his third defense and definitely has the upper hand against 35 year old Czech Konecny, who only moved up to middleweight in 2013 after a 11 year career at light middle.

Konecny, who lost to WBO light middle champs Serhiy Dzinziruk in 2008 and Zaubrek Baysangurov in 2012, and was European champion at middle and light middle, has plenty of experience but is definitely the underdog here.

At 30, Quillin is younger, as a career middleweight is bigger, taller and punches much harder than Konecny, who's solid chin will determine if he finishes the fight or not but don't expect an upset in this one.

About Richard Eberline

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