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Bernard Hopkins is the 2014 Sportsman of the Year

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Ageless icon Bernard Hopkins earned a split decision over Beibut Shumenov to successfully defend the IBF light-heavyweight title and acquire the IBA and WBA belts on Saturday night in front of 6,823 fans at the DC Armory in Washington.

Dismissing nearly two decades of seniority, Hopkins (55-6-2-2, 32 KOs) bullied the 30-year-old Shumenov (14-2, 9 KOs) for 36 minutes.

Hopkins dictated the pace from the outset and floored Shumenov with a right hand in the 11th round.

If not for an inept judge from Panama named Gustavo Padilla, the future first-ballot Hall of Famer would have universally outscored the Kazakhstan scrapper.

“I’m special,” said Hopkins, 49, a reformed ex-convict who is also a past two-weight world champion. “In a way that you believe is good. Special doesn’t mean bad. I don’t have to explain special. There is no definition for special. Special speaks for itself.”

Nearly a half-century old, Hopkins continues to defy Father Time and trump the world’s premier prizefighters at 175 pounds.

Although younger, quicker and stronger than “The Alien,” Shumenov looked ancient and befuddled versus Hopkins.

Despite being a quasi-geriatric, Hopkins remains an elite athlete and modern marvel.

Hence, regardless of what occurs from now through December 31, Hopkins should accept the 2014 Sportsman of the Year award thanks to his virtuoso performance in the District of Columbia.

After all, Bernard Hopkins is genuinely “special” and “special speaks for itself.”

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