Hopkins remains true to his words in the ring, where he frustrates foes with experience, guile and, most of all, defense. Since knocking out Oscar De La Hoya in 2004, 14 of Hopkins' last 15 fights have gone the distance. The only one that didn't was stopped on a foul in the final round.
"When this is over with, let's pray he has a career going forward, because I have a track record," Hopkins said. "There's a whole list of names that didn't survive the mental beat-down. Physical is one thing. It's the mental. 'How can a 50-year-old man beat me like that?'"
After the press conference, Hopkins explained the difference between himself, raised in the projects in Philadelphia, and Shumenov, who lives in opulence in Las Vegas and says he has a law degree and speaks five languages.
"This has something to do with your inner spirit. What do you have to lose? He has a lot to lose. He's a lawyer by profession," Hopkins said. "You're not fighting to feed your family. It's a hobby. When a guy fights for a hobby, they don't last long in the business of hard knocks."
With a decline in the profile of the sport in recent decades, many in boxing believe that Hopkins' age-defying feats are underappreciated.
"If Bernard Hopkins was an athlete in any other sport, you'd be sick of seeing him on the front of magazines," said Hopkins' trainer, Naazim Richardson. "People don't know our sport. They don't recognize 30 years old is old in boxing."
Promoters have dubbed Saturday's fight "History at the Capital." His first world title bout came at RFK Stadium in 1993 against Roy Jones Jr. Two years later at USAir Arena in Landover, Md., Hopkins won his first world title when he knocked out Segundo Mercado. He also has had title fights at the Washington Convention Center and the Showplace Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md.
At the end of Thursday's press conference the soft-spoken Shumenov stepped out of character and went off-script, interrupting the event's host with a gentle nudge to his chest, and taking over the podium.
"You're mistaken if you're thinking I'm thinking I am fighting with (a fighter) 50 years old," Shumenov said moments before taking back his WBA and IBF belts. "On Saturday night, we're seeing who's taking whose belt."
But to the surprise of few, Hopkins had the last laugh, mocking Shumenov as he spoke.
"He's got a pulse," Hopkins said. "He's got a pulse."
NOTES: A black and white photograph of Hopkins, taken by German photographer Holger Keifel, will become part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery's permanent collection. . Hopkins also was presented a plaque of appreciation from the family of former boxing great Joe Frazier. Hopkins was instrumental in funding a statue in Philadelphia of the former heavyweight champion.