In a career lasting almost a full three decades, Bernard Hopkins entered the ring for the last time to face American heavy hitter Joe Smith Jr, coming in aged 51 and suffering his first knockout loss.
Hopkins hasn’t fought since 2014 when he was beaten up badly at the hands of Russian dangerman Sergey Kovalev and Joe Smith Jr is coming off the back of a shock upset victory, by knocking out Andrzej Fonfara in one round.
We don’t need to go into the ins and outs of Bhop’s career, one of the best middleweights in the world at one stage and also became the oldest world champion in history, only to outdo is record, the resume speaks for itself.
But however on the night, the right man won in a very bizzare state of affairs. In the first round of the fight Hopkins showed his age and looked as if he was the wrong side of 50, seeming a little bit unstuck but as time went on, the art of making them miss and the typical Bhop style we know and love started to shine through and we saw his brilliance.
The fight ended in the 8th round, with most people having the fight even or Smith Jr up by a round due to the more clean punches, when Joe Smith Jr hit Hopkins with a flurry of combination punches sending him flying out the ring, and onto the arena floor.
Hopkins immediately claimed it was Smith Jr man handling him and that he was pushed out of the ring, but the controversy starts when the referee gives no count. IF knocked down in the ring, you are granted a 10 second count but if knocked outside the ring, you are granted a 20 second count, however Hopkins never made it back in the ring at all.
Bhop looked to hit his head on the floor on his way out but claimed he had damaged his ankle, an injury on slow motion replay that looked questionable as his ankle didn’t seem to roll or take any issues whatsoever. Despite the protests that he was pushed, the fight was given as a TKO victory eventually for Smith Jr in round 8 of the fight.
Still proclaiming his innocence, the slow motion replay shows it was a correct verdict as there was absolutely no pushing whatsoever, just a combination of clean punches sending Hopkins out the ring and out the sport. In the post fight interview with Max Kellerman he still proceeded to say he was pushed, and sadly seemed very bitter in admitting the correct man won on the night.
Overall a shame to say a legend of all these years leave the ring in a controversial way like that, but credit where credits due and Joe Smith Jr has caused back to back stoppage upsets.