Bernard Hopkins said no to neon trunks this time.
The 49-year old branded himself “The Alien” in 2013 because a boxer with his longevity could not be of this world. When he entered the ring to defend his International Boxing Federation light-heavyweight title against Karo Murat last October in Atlantic City, Hopkins wore black trunks with fluorescent green accents that matched the rubber alien mask hiding his bald head, salt-and-pepper stubble and gapped front teeth.
The 175-pound champion wore a similar mask on Saturday night, but he altered the rest of his wardrobe when he beat Beibut Shumenov at the D.C. Armory and became the oldest boxer in history to unify major world titles.
When Hopkins (55-6-2) won a split decision and the World Boxing Federation belt, burgundy-and-gold trunks hung from his waist, burgundy-and-gold shoes clung to his feet and burgundy-and-gold gloves protected his wrapped fists.
“To wear the colors is to pay homage out of respect and to pay homage that D.C. is a part of me, of my career being built based on the start and you can really say near the end,” Hopkins said in a telephone interview with Larry Michael on “Redskins Nation.”
RFK Stadium was the stage for the boxer's first title fight, a middleweight championship bout against Roy Jones Jr. in 1993. Hopkins lost that match but beat Jones Jr. in a 2010 rematch.
In 1997, Hopkins successfully defended a middleweight title against Andrew Council at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, Md. In 1999 he beat Robert Allen at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Northwest D.C.
For the Shumenov fight, Hopkins said his apparrel vendor asked if he wanted to wear green trunks again, but he had something else in mind. Hopkins ordered the garb from his man, but had to find custom shoes online.
When Hopkins stepped onto the canvas for introductions Saturday night, the home crowd validated his decision.
“I got a lot of big response when I got into the ring because no one knew that I was going to wear those colors,” Hopkins said.
“Win, lose or draw, I wanted to pay respect to D.C.”
Hopkins also said he sees success in Washington for a friend he made in Philadelphia.
"They got my good friend, wide receiver DeSean [Jackson], down there now in D.C., and he’s going to do a good job down there," Hopkins said. "I know they’re going to be happy with him."