— The Sports Junky (@TheSportsJunky1) December 18, 2016
Urijah Faber wasn’t the only combat sports legend to retire this weekend. On Saturday night, 51-year-old boxing legend Bernard Hopkins also competed in the final fight of his career. He did so in his first fight in 15 months, against a hand-picked opponent in the 27-year-old Joe Smith.
Though Hopkins surely would have liked to close out his legendary career with a victory, this would not be the way things unfolded for him. Instead, he was sent careening out of the ring with a blistering, six-punch combination in the eighth round. When he was unable to return to the ring within the referee’s 20-count, the fight was waved off. Smith had earned a career-altering TKO over one of boxing’s best ever, and Hopkins had come up short in his swan song.
“I injured myself and hit my head first and hurt my ankle,” Hopkins said of his fall out of the ring (via ESPN). “I knew of the 20 seconds, but couldn’t stand up on my feet because my ankle was injured. I said I could walk but I couldn’t box. I had a choice to make, but I guess the referee made it for me. 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.”
“I knew he was a true champion, and if he didn’t get injured, he’d be back here,” Smith said, echoing his foe’s sentiments.
In defeat, Hopkins hangs up the gloves with an overall record of 55-8-2. 32 of his wins came by way of knockout. Smith, meanwhile, is now 23-1 overall with 19 KOs.
Do you think the aging Hopkins made the right choice to retire? Sound off, PENN Nation!