As Urijah Faber enjoyed a UFC and MMA swan song in Sacramento, California overnight, across state in Inglewood, boxing legend Bernard Hopkins stepped into the ring for his final fight.
While Faber went out on a high, beating Brad Pickett, Hopkins suffered the first TKO defeat of an illustrious 28 year career. It was the manner of the defeat that is making the headlines however.
At 51, Hopkins’ career has been one which has defied time. A multiple-weight world champion, Hopkins won his final world title aged an incredible 49 in 2014. Time did eventually come calling however and Saturday bore witness to the final time he would step into the ring as a contestant.
In Joe Smith Jr he faced the WBC International light-heavyweight champion with a 23-1 record, including 19 knockouts, so was clearly not planning to go out with an easy win. However, he was hardly expecting to find himself punched through the ropes and onto the ground below, as is what happened a minute into the eighth round.
— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) December 18, 2016
— JWepp (@JWepp) December 18, 2016
Joe Smith Jnr KO's Bernard Hopkins in his final fight. Shades of an old Joe Louis against Marciano pic.twitter.com/iAIhDKwntq
— KO KINGS (@KOKINGS4) December 18, 2016
Eating a powerful combination from Smith, Hopkins, clearly dazed, was sent tumbling backwards through the ropes, landing heavily on his back on the ground below.
Given a 20 count by the referee, Hopkins was simply unable to recover in time to salvage a fight that already had Smith up on two of the judges cards.
Despite claiming to have been pushed, the footage clearly shows Hopkins was sent into retirement with a fair combination of punches.
Not the most fitting end to an astonishing career by one of the best the business has ever seen. He leaves behind a record of 55-8, with 32 knockouts.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena