For Hopkins, boxing never gets old

Posted: April 11, 2014

BERNARD HOPKINS walked into Danny Garcia's gym yesterday with the swagger of a champion and the bounce of a much younger man. He hopped on top of the ropes, just above a frenzy of reporters to ask how many athletes could be at the top of their game at age 49, and draw the media that he does. The short answer: nobody.

Hopkins (54-6-2, 32 KOs), who fights 30-year-old Beibut Shumenov (14-1, 9 KOs) next Saturday in Washington, D.C., is truly a timeless wonder. His trainer, Nazim Richardson, said candidly that he sees a pep in Hopkins' step that he sometimes does not see from guys even half his age a week before a fight. He said he had to tell him to slow down in yesterday's workout.

The question everyone wants answered is, how does Hopkins keep winning? He fights guys almost 20 years younger than him, but still manages to emerge victorious.

"I'm still having fun," Hopkins said. "That's the thing that a lot of us miss. I'm having more fun now than when I was in the middle or the beginning of my career."

Aside from just having fun in the ring, and also with reporters from time to time, Hopkins has a simple recipe for success.

"The game is to hit, and not get hit," Hopkins said.

"We're all hypocritical, blood-thirsty beasts," Hopkins added. "I'm about the sweet science. That's why I'm here talking to y'all, ain't studded, no cuts on my face, ain't beat up."

The science of the sport has allowed Hopkins to avoid major injury and keep his body in top shape. He thinks he has never been in better boxing shape in his life.

"I'm fresher now, living the same lifestyle, taking care of my body the same way I did then," Hopkins said. "As crazy as this might seem, I'm in better shape now, with wisdom, than I was 13 or 14 years ago."

That freshness is what is allowing Hopkins to fight in the light-heavyweight world championship unification bout on Showtime next weekend. While it would seem that Shumenov is someone brought in for the purpose of losing, Hopkins doesn't see it that way.

"This guy's no run-of-the-mill guy," Hopkins said. "This guy has not been dug up by anybody. This guy is a threat. He is 19 years younger. This ain't a cream puff. I am not digging anyone up saying this is the senior tour. I'm fighting some real dudes."

Hopkins said he wants to get into the ring. He has trained well and watched more than enough tape of Shumenov.

"I stopped watching him," Hopkins said. "I watch it for a minute. You can overdo anything. When you watch and watch and watch, you start getting delusional about what you are seeing. I haven't looked at it in over a month now. I've seen what I need to see."

"You think that whatever he does will be the first time in my over 3 decades of boxing?" Hopkins asked.

Surely Hopkins has seen it before, and he will finally have a chance to react to what he sees from Shumenov in just over a week's time.

On Twitter: @AndrewJAlbert01

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