Coming in as "The Executioner," Bernard Hopkins entered the ring for the last time in his illustrious career.
He went up against WBC International Light Heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. in the main event of an HBO-televised card on December 17. The fight was fairly close after seven rounds, but the eighth round ended in the most unusual of ways.
Hopkins got knocked out of the ring by Smith Jr. less than a minute into the eighth round. Here is the description of the ending from Fightful's live viewing party.
Round 8: Smith hits Hopkins with a lot of strong punches and Hopkins goes through the middle rope and into the crowd. Hopkins doesn't get back into the ring in time for the 20-count and retires due to injury. Smith has retired Bernard Hopkins.
Official Result: Joe Smith Jr. defeated Bernard Hopkins via TKO, round 8, 0:53, to retain his WBC International Light Heavyweight Title
Hopkins claimed that his ankle got injured and could not continue. He said in the post-fight interview that he got pushed out of the ring.
By that point of the fight, two judges had Smith Jr. ahead in the cards (69-64, 67-66) while the third judge had Hopkins up 67-66. Smith improves his record to 23-1 while Hopkins finished his career.
Hopkins was the first man to simultaneously hold world titles by all four major boxing sanctioning bodies when he won the WBO middleweight title in 2004. At the time, he was also holding the WBA "super," IBF and WBC middleweight titles as well.
He then became the oldest man to win a world title when he defeated Jean Pascal for the WBC light heavyweight title. Hopkins later broke his own record by winning the IBF light heavyweight title from Tavoris Cloud in 2013 and again in 2014 when he won the WBA (Super) title from Beibut Shumenov, at age 48 and 49 respectively. He then lost those titles to Sergey Kovalev in 2014, which eventually set up the Serger Kovalev vs. Andre Ward super fight earlier this year.
Hopkins said it would be the last time he fights in the boxing ring, ending a career that started all the way back in 1988.