The big question now is, will Bernard Hopkins be next for Beibut Shumenov? It sure looks like it, as Hopkins held a Shumenov-branded towel and cheered on the WBA titleholder during and after his easy TKO-3 win against Tamas Kovacs tonight in San Antonio.
Shumenov (14-1, 9 KO) completely outclassed the unproven, 36-year-old Kovacs (23-1, 14 KO), scoring knockdowns in the first, second, and third rounds -- or in less of a word-count culture, "every round" (look how I keep adding more words (it's incredible, really)) -- en route to the stoppage win, as referee Rafael Ramos stepped in to pull the plug on the mismatch at 2:55 of round three.
Whether or not Shumenov, 30, is any more interesting a challenge for Hopkins than Tavoris Cloud or Karo Murat were this year remains to be seen. Hopkins, who turns 49 in January, has been freezing up aggressive, younger fighters for years now, and it's hard to imagine he would go in as an underdog against Shumenov, who is a talented fighter, but has been dismantling really underwhelming opposition since controversially lifting his belt from Gabriel Campillo in 2010.
In the end, this was really just a showcase, it would seem, to set up Hopkins-Shumenov, which would unify the IBF and WBA belts. And considering what's truly available for Bernard right now, it's probably as good a fight as he can get, which is nobody's fault other than promoters that don't work together, but that's old news.
Our live coverage continues here, with three more fights still to come, including the Broner-Maidana main event.