Bernard Hopkins suffers TKO loss after falling out of ring in retirement bout

Bernard Hopkins suffers TKO loss after falling out of ring in retirement bout

December 17, 2016


Bernard Hopkins falls through the ropes after taking punishment from Joe Smith Jr. on December 17, 2017 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Photo: Cynthia Saldaña / FrontProofMedia.com

Bernard Hopkins falls through the ropes after taking punishment from Joe Smith Jr. on December 17, 2017 at The Forum in Inglewood, California. Photo: Cynthia Saldaña / FrontProofMedia.com

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. 

I know if I hadn’t made a mess and gotten knocked out of the ring, I would’ve come back like I’m known for and would’ve had my chin. The reason I said I’m upset — they are giving Smith the TKO because the momentum threw me through the ropes; I didn’t dive through the ropes.
— Bernard Hopkins

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. 

I knew he had time to go out, but I hit him with four or five clean shots and they were good shots on the button. I knew he was a true champion, and if he didn’t get injured, he’d be back here. I came here to do my job — this is my coming out party too. I had to finish him. It was either my career and his was going to end, but I needed mine to continue.
— Joe Smith Jr.

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.

This is my last fight. I promised it would be and you come to that point in life where it is final and I’m happy with my retirement. I know the fans will know I went out as a soldier, fighting the toughest, baddest opponents.
— Bernard Hopkins

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)

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