Hopkins knocked out of ring as career comes to frustrating end

December 18, 2016

This certainly wasn’t the way the Bernard Hopkins wanted his last fight to go.

The 51 year old veteran wanted a tough opponent for his final test in the ring, and he got what he wished for.  In the early rounds, Joe Smith Jr. made Hopkins look his age.  Hopkins looked shaky and slow, and struggled to find his timing.  He did settle in a bit in the middle rounds, as you would have expected a fighter as savvy as Hopkins could do.

However, in the 8th round, Smith landed a hellacious six punch combo, which knocked Hopkins out of the ring.  There was a bit of confusion as to whether or not the fight was over at that point, but because Hopkins wasn’t able to get back in the ring within twenty seconds, Smith was declared the victor.  Hopkins accused Smith of pushing him out of the ring, but if you watch the replay that certainly wasn’t the case.

Hopkins couldn’t get back in the ring partly because his ankle was hurt.  “I was throwing the right hand and a combination and then using the rope as I’m known for, and making a mess,” Hopkins said. “He got frustrated, and I might have gotten glazed with a left hook and next thing I know he was throwing me out of the ring.

“I injured myself and hit my head first and hurt my ankle. I knew of the 20 seconds, but couldn’t stand up on my feet because my ankle was injured. I said I could walk but I couldn’t box. I had a choice to make, but I guess the referee made it for me. I know if I hadn’t made a mess and gotten knocked out of the ring, I would’ve come back like I’m known for and would’ve had my chin.”

Smith was ahead 69-64 and 67-66 on two scorecards, and Hopkins was up 67-66 on the other when the fight was stopped.

Despite the loss and not owning up to the fact that his defeat was fair and square, you still have to give Hopkins some credit for taking on a credible opponent as his swan song.

“Things unfortunately happen,” Hopkins said. “I don’t want the fight to end the way it did. I’d rather get beat or a win where it’s clear to everybody. But I’ll say it one last time. I’m really serious about this: Win, lose or draw — trust me, if it had been the other way around — win, lose or draw, or controversy, that’s it. I have no regrets.”