In a career that spanned almost 30 years Bernard Hopkins ends his incredible career this Saturday against Joe Smith Jr for the WBC International Light Heavyweight Title. Hopkins will be 52 in January and is one of the oldest people to ever win a world title.
Hopkins didn’t start his illustrious career as well as its ended, he began with no wealth and really did come from the bottom of the battle. In prison from age 17 Hopkins and having been stabbed three times in his teenage years, in prison Bernard witnessed a fellow prisoner be murdered over a packet of cigarettes. He also lost his first professional fight so starting from nothing really was the story of Hopkins’ life.
Hopkins became the undisputed Middleweight champion in the 2000’s until suffering a split decision loss to Jermain Taylor. He then went on to become a two weight world champion, winning titles up at Light Heavyweight and having some cracking fights with the likes of Jean Pascal and Sergey Kovalev.
His final fight comes against ‘The Irish Bomber’ Joe Smith Jr. a 27 year old fighter with a record of 22-1-0 (18ko’s) Smith is a big puncher as his record suggests but his career defining performance was a first round evaporation of Polish born fighter Andrzej Fonfara.
On the undercard of the bill sees Oleksandr Usyk make his first defence of his WBO Cruiserweight Title against Thabiso Mchunu. This will be Usyk’s first fight back since winning the title from Krzysztof Glowacki back in September on Poland.
Usyk is regarded as the best cruiserweight in the world at the moment and despite only having ten fights, his dominating performance against undefeated Glowacki was truly a brilliant fight, showing incredible footwork for a man of that size.
Usyk is in a very exciting division at the moment with some potentially huge unification fights on the horizon providing he stays unbeaten, with WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew on his hit list I’m sure Eddie Hearn will be all eyes on this fight.
The fight will be like from HBO in America and Boxnation in the UK. The running order will be –
- Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr
- Oleksandr Usyk vs. Thabiso Mchunu
- Jason Quigley vs. Jorge Melendez
- Joseph Diaz vs. Horacio Garcia
- Yamaguchi Falcao vs. German Perez
- Carlos Morales vs. Charles Huerta
- Christian Gonzalez vs. Jonathan Perez
- Joet Gonzalez vs. Jairo Ochoa
- Ivan Delgado vs. Roberto Rivera
Over in Russia will see Bermane Stiverne face Alexander Povetkin for the mandatory challenger spot for Deontay Wilder’s WBC Heavyweight Title. It was originally supposed to be Wilder v Povetkin before the Russian failed a drugs test and the fight was cancelled.
Wilder did actually win his WBC belt from Stiverne, being the only person to ever take Wilder the distance in all of his 37 fights. In the build up to this fight Stiverne also failed a drugs test but the WBC allowed the fight to go on still.
Overall there is quite a strong weekend of boxing, with most of it coming over sees with Vijender Singh taking on Francis Cheka over in New Delhi and various other fights.