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HOPKINS TO RETIRE AFTER FAREWELL FIGHT WITH SMITH


PhilBoxing.com




"The Executioner" Bernard Hopkins decided to finally hang up his gloves after a farewell bout in December 17, 2016. He will end his 28-year career when he fights fellow American Joe Smith in his 65th and final fight at the Forum in Los Angeles, California.

Hopkins, now aged 51, reigned as middleweight champion from 1994 to 2005. He won the IBF middleweight title in 1994 and later unified the division when he annexed the WBA (Super), WBC, Ring magazine, and lineal titles in 2001, compiling a pro record of 55-7-2, with 32 knockouts, and has never lost by KO.

He also achieved another record becoming the first male boxer to simultaneously hold world titles by all four major boxing sanctioning bodies when he added the WBO middleweight title in 2004.

Hopkins was floored in the first round by Sergey Kovalev, although he became the first fighter to clash the Russian past eight rounds, he lost all rounds on all three judges' scorecards, 120-107, 120-107, 120-106 for a unanimous decision defeat, losing his WBA(Super) and IBF lightheavyweight titles.

He also has faced some of the biggest names in boxing, including Oscar De La Hoya, Felix Trinidad and Joe Calzaghe. Born in Philadelphia, he engaged in boxing after serving a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for armed robbery and lost his professional debut in1988 to Clinton Mitchell.

He continued his career and dominated the middleweight division for a decade, garnering a record 20 consecutive defenses before suffering back-to-back defeats to Jermaine Taylor in 2005 losing his belts.

Undisputed super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe was knocked down in the first round but went on to snatch a split decision over Hopkins in 2008.

Hopkins lost to Calzaghe in 2008 before winning the WBC light heavyweight title in 2011 against Canadian Jean Pascal.

"A lot of people will focus on my age, the history of my run in the sport, the titles, etc... but I'm focused on one thing - knocking Joe Smith out," said Hopkins as quoted by reporters.

"We want to make this Bernard Hopkins' retirement party," said boxer-turned promoter De La Hoya, who was knocked out in nine rounds by Hopkins in their middleweight unification fight in 2004 in Las Vegas.

"Joe Smith is a big knockout puncher, and he is coming off a great win over Fonfara, who had knocked out (Julio Cesar) Chavez Jr," added De La Hoya. "He will bring the fight to Hopkins. He is aggressive. It's a legitimate fight."

In his latest tussle, Smith knocked out Andrzej Fonfara in the first round to win the WBC International light heavyweight title in June.

Smith, 27, was born in New York, barely three months after Hopkins put on his gloves for the first fight, has a 22-1 record with 18 knockouts since 2009. They will fight less than a month before Hopkins' 52nd birthday.

"I'm very excited about fighting on HBO," Smith told the press. "I know now all my hard work and dedication has paid off. I am looking forward to retiring a boxing legend."


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Maloney L. Samaco.


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