A day after his bizarre 8th round technical knockout loss to Smith Jr. (23-1, 19 KOs), Bernard Hopkins (55-8-2, 32 KOs) is being called a quitter by many boxing fans for the way his fight ended last Saturday night at the Forum in Inglewood, California. The 51-year-old Hopkins was having a dickens of a time inside the ring against the younger and more powerful Smith Jr. throughout the fight.
Things got worse for Hopkins in the 8th round when he was hit with a painful right hand to the body that caused him to move around the ring. Smith Jr, then clubbed Hopkins with a left hook that made a loud thudding sound when it connected. Hopkins then retreated to the ropes. Smith connected with five straight punches that led to Hopkins sliding out of the ring and falling to the ground. Once out of the ring, Hopkins said he had hurt his ankle and could not continue fighting because of the throbbing pain.
Some fans are calling Hopkins a quitter. They didn’t buy him being injured last night. Many fans didn’t believe that Hopkins was injured in his first fight against Chad Dawson in 2011, a fight which ended in the 2nd round when Dawson picked Hopkins off the ground and dropped him on his left side. Hopkins stated that he was injured from the fall and couldn’t continue. The fight was ruled a no contest. Hopkins also was injured in his 1998 fight against Robert Allen. Hopkins fell out of the ring in the 4th round in that match and it was ruled a no contest.
Last night’s ending of the Hopkins-Smith fight was clearly not the career-ender that Hopkins was hoping for when he came into the fight. Things happen. Some of the boxing fans wonder why Hopkins didn’t at least try and get back inside the ring to resume fighting.
If nothing else, the fans felt that Hopkins could have gone out on his shield like a warrior by showing that he was willing to fight until the bitter end by being stopped while limping around the ring rather than choosing to not climb back into the ring to give it an old college try to see if he could continue fighting. The way that Hopkins ended the fight was painful to look at it. One could say it was like watching a car wreck and being helpless to do anything to try help out.
“I just remember bouncing off the ropes, using them as defense, bouncing off the ropes and looking to counter or for positioning,” said Hopkins. “I could feel after those punches that I couldn’t grab the ropes; there was nothing to grab. I felt a push or body push with an elbow. That’s really all I remember. I tried to grab (the rope) and went down.”