Bernard Hopkins suffers TKO loss after falling out of ring in retirement bout
December 17, 2016
INGLEWOOD, CALIFORNIA - In his 65th professional fight, in a career that has spanned almost 30 years, Bernard Hopkins took an onslaught of punches that sent him falling through the ropes onto the concrete this past Saturday night at The Forum.
Joe Smith Jr., who retained his WBC International light-heavyweight title, was up on two of the judges' scorecards after seven rounds of action. As 53 seconds passed through the eighth, Smith Jr. (23-1, 19 KOs) was able to connect with a six-punch combination that had Hopkins fly to the outside of the ring. The 51-year-old Hopkins landed directly on his back, as some television crew members attempted to elevate his head in fear that a cranial injury could have occured.
A forgotten rule in boxing, that is rarely utilized, is administering a ten-count when a fighter is outside of the ring during the allotted three minutes. Referee Jack Reiss, who was in charge of the main event, granted Hopkins an extra 33 more seconds before officially calling the fight. Smith Jr. was given the official TKO victory as Hopkins' fall was ruled as a result of punishment and not an accidental slip.
The event was billed as "The Final One," in honor of Hopkins' last fight within the squared circle. Much of the attention had been focused on Hopkins leading up to Saturday night, but it was Smith Jr. who came out on top while looking down to the floor in victory.
Hopkins will now set his full-time sights on developing a strong stable of fighters within the Golden Boy Promotional banner, since he is a managing partner. Many ringside wondered if Hopkins would want to return for one more bout because of the unusual outcome. However, Hopkins maintained that retirement has finally arrived and he is happy to leave as a warrior of the sport.
Daniel Zaldivar is a Senior Editor for Frontproof Media and also contributes to page2sports.com. He is the founder of Z-BoxingNews (a partner with Frontproof Media), a YouTube channel that delivers the latest news, interviews, fighter workouts, & analysis within the sport. Check out the Z-BoxingNews YouTube channel HERE. Also follow on Twitter @DannyZ_Boxin
(Feature photo: Ed Mulholland/HBO)