Photo Credit: Tom Casino/Showtime
WASHINGTON, DC — One veteran keeps going and another is put out to pasture. That sentence is the best way to sum up last night’s Golden Boy triple-header as Bernard Hopkins added another career milestone in defeating Beibut Shumenov, and Shawn Porter put the welterweight division on notice by just needing just four rounds to destroy Paulie Malignaggi. It was a mixture of Sweet Science wisdom and ruthless aggression that lead to these dominate victories. Onto the card notes.
THE MAGIC MAN RUNS OUT OF TRICKS: Most observerser (including myself), picked Shawn Porter to win decisively over Malignaggi. At 33, Paulie was getting too old to have the stamina needed to stay away from a buzzsaw like Porter. But hardly anyone predicted that Porter would do it so quickly and brutally. Instead of Porter taking over when Malignaggi started slowing down in the mid-rounds and driving him to the ropes, Porter began Paulie’s downfall in the second round by outjabbing him at ring-center and stinging him badly with short, vicious hooks. When Malignaggi tried to hold, Porter proved too strong and simply brushed him off before landing more merciless power shots.
Malignaggi soon found himself on the canvas in the fourth after trying in vain to punch with Porter. Within seconds, Porter was back on him raining down short hooks that caused Malignaggi to collapse under the bottom rope.
GROWING INTO THE TITLE: I’ve been high on Porter since being ringside last year to watch him hit Julio Diaz with everything but the kitchen sink in their rematch, and seeing him doing the same live against Devon Alexander. The young man is getting better every fight and has the swagger and confidence that we see a lot of great fighters get one they get a title. His power is increasing, and this fight also showed that he’s not just a mindless come-forward fighter — he kept Paulie guessing with a strong counter jab, and worked “inside-out” in totally preventing Malignaggi from getting into a rhythm.
Up next for Porter will be Kell Brook unless the UK fighter’s promoter Eddie Hearn thinks better of it. Whether that fight is made or not, Porter should be a lock for Mayweather’s September undercard. And it should be noted that when Adrien Broner was asked about the Malignaggi-Porter matchup, he said he wanted Malignaggi to win to set up a rematch. There was not a mumbling word made about facing Porter. Guys like “Showtime Shawn” will be the reason you can expect Broner to stay at 140 pounds for the foreseeable future.
HOPKINS UNIFIES: In the main event, 49-year-old Bernard Hopkins put on his umpteenth clinic, this time against a clueless Beibut Shumenov, to unify the IBF and WBA light heavyweight titles. Shumenov, who trains himself, had no answers for Hopkins’ defense nor his counter right hand. Hopkins spent the first three rounds feeling out a man 19 years his junior before starting class in the fourth round. Hopkins then began making Shumenov pay for his clumsy, lunging jabs and telegraphed rights with sharp jabs and jarring overhand rights.
Hopkins was landing so much that for a brief moment after dropping Shumenov in the 11th, most in the crowd thought we might see the old man get his first stoppage in nearly 10 years.
MORE NUTTY SCORING: Hopkins won this fight going away and you’d have to be extremely generous to give Shumenov two rounds. Nonethess, we had one judge in 20-year veteran Gustavo Padilla scoring the bout 114-113 for Shumenov. You can view his entire judging record HERE and while nothing glaringly bad stands out on first look (then again, he did score Kotelnik-Maidana for Marcos…), this was a bad enough score that we never need to see him judging a major fight again.
NOW THE CHANCE FOR REAL HISTORY: While it makes for a nice headline to say Hopkins is the oldest fighter to unify a belt, the reality is he did so against a paper titlist. The real champion of the division is Adonis Stevenson. When they face off at the end of this year, Hopkins has a serious chance to move up several notches up the all-time list if he becomes the linear champ at 175. Based on what we saw last night and Stevenson’s propensity to fight at the slower pace B-Hop loves, the old master can’t be counted out.
QUILLIN DECISIONS KONECNY: The card opener saw Peter Quillin successfully defend his WBO middleweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Lukas Konecny. A career 154-pounder until last year, Konecny was very undersized against Quillin and utilized the high guard strategy the entire fight. Although he did land flush jabs and hooks on Quillin, Konecny didn’t have the power to seriously trouble him. Quillin’s uppercuts and hooks would knock Konecny backwards and by the middle rounds, the veteran’s face showed the effects of the punishment. Konecny never stopped trying, but the fight took on the look of a sparring session as Quillin was content to fight off the backfoot and not go for the kill.
Quillin has been treading water for the last year with all the other major titlists either overseas or fighting on HBO. He finally looks to be getting a decent fight with Daniel Jacobs, which will be a great matchup for the Barclays in Brooklyn.