Bernard Hopkins (55-8-2, 32 KOs) was sent into retirement last night by Joe Smith Jr. (23-1, 19 KOs) in losing an 8th round knockout at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Hopkins did his best job to try and win, but a freak ending of the fight saw the 51-year-old Hall of Famer knocked out of the ring in the 8th round.
Hopkins fell through the ropes and landed on his head and back on the hard concrete floor next to the ring. Hopkins didn’t have any complaints about his head being injured, but he said that he had hurt his ankle during the fall. Hopkins never did make it back into the ring, and the fight was subsequently stopped by referee Jack Reiss at 0:53. Hopkins said that he wanted to continue, but he felt pain in his ankle when standing. There’s no way that Hopkins could continue fighting with the pain in his ankle.
“I don’t complain,” said Hopkins afterwards. “It is what it is. Am I comfortable with it? No. Things unfortunately happen. “I wasn’t thinking of the 20 seconds (to get back into the ring) but my right ankle. I twisted it. The Commission asked me how I was, but that’s all I remember. They said I hit my head.”
It’s too bad that the boxing fans won’t get a second chance to see Hop fight Smith Jr. one more time. It would be a real delight to see if Hopkins could come back and beat the 27-year-old puncher from Long Island. There are likely more than a few boxing fans that would like to see a repeat between these two competitors.
Hopkins is retiring now unfortunately, as he said last night. He does not wish to fight again after this. As such, the results will have to stand in the record books forever without B-Hop coming back to try and straighten things out in a second fight.
Hopkins fought well in rounds one through seven. The fight looked even after seven. Hopkins wasn’t throwing a lot of punches though, and that made many of the rounds close. He was making Smith Jr. miss with his punches, but he was failing to take advantage of the missed shots by countering him. The judges mainly saw Smith doing most the work and pushing the fight. Hopkins’ main focus was on the defensive side of the game, and that wasn’t going to be enough for him to win the championship rounds.
“Win, lose or draw or controversy and that’s it,” said Hopkins. I will be 52 in January and this is the fight that I wanted. Unfortunately, it didn’t go the way I wanted it. I have no regrets.”