Bernard Hopkins (55-8-2, 32 KOs) says he injured his ankle when he fell out of the ring last Saturday night in his 8th round TKO loss to Joe Smith Jr. (23-1, 19 KOs) at the Forum in Inglewood, California. In looking at slow motion replays of Hopkins falling out of the ring, both of his angles appeared to hit nothing but air during his fall to the ground in round 8.
If anything, Hopkins’ head and back were the areas that appeared to come in contact with the ground, but not his angles. Never the less, Hopkins complained of an ankle injury after he fell out of the ring. He said that he would have gotten back inside the ring to resume fighting, but his ankle was giving him problems.
The fight was subsequently stopped at 0:53 when B-Hop chose not to climb back inside the ring within 20 seconds of him falling out of the ring. It appeared that Hopkins was assisted by someone briefly after he fell out of the ring. That didn’t change the outcome of the fight thankfully. The fighters are supposed to get up on their own and return to the ring under their own power without assistance when they’re knocked out of the ring.
Smith Jr. hit Hopkins with four head shots before he fell out of the ring in the 8th. Hopkins says he was pushed out by Smith Jr. The replays by HBO Boxing show something different. They show Smith landing head shots and Hopkins folding like a deck of cards under the power of those shots.
“I had seen every time I threw the right hand, he was throwing the left, so I set up the punch,” said Smith Jr. “I had seen him fall, and I kept hitting him until I saw him go down and out, and that left that I landed was a hard left hook. I hit him with four or five clean shots and they were good shots on the button. I came here to do my job, and while I have ruined his farewell party, this is my coming out party too. I had to finish him, and it was either my career was going to end or his was going to end, but I needed mine to continue.”
If Hopkins had been perhaps three years younger, he might have won the fight. Smith Jr. beat an old and rusty Hopkins last Saturday night. It’s too bad the fight had to end the way it did though. It would have been better if Hopkins had stayed inside the ring and gone out in the traditional manner rather than the fight ending on an injury.
The results of the Hopkins-Smith fight will see Smith’s career continue on as it was before the fight. It’s still hard to picture Smith being able to beat the top light heavyweights in the division. It makes for great news that Smith Jr. beat Hopkins, but there’s a lot better fighters in the 175lb division right now than Hopkins. Smith is going to need to improve his boxing ability for him to have any chance of beating those guys,