Tragic knockout Retirement of the 'Executioner' Hopkins

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Tragic Knockout Retirement of the ‘Executioner’ Hopkins

BoxingGlove Notes

Distinio Lois, Jr.

There are many times that ego, and ring generalship pushes you to challenge higher heights of competition despite the overwhelming odds against you, and there are times that you are indeed successful, sometimes you are not.

Sadly that same personal mental strength of Bernard Hopkins led him to his worst horrific and embarrassing boxing defeat and, by knockout, Saturday, December 17th 2016 at The Forum in Los Angeles, California. Sad & Touching!

Throughout all of the press conferences and interviews you absorbed the super confidence of Hopkins as he philosophized about his greatness and how special he was as opposed to the mediocre ‘common’ status of his opponent Joseph Smith, Jr.

“I will walk out on my shield of greatness and victory after I perform a ‘Kelly Pavlik’ destruction on Smith with a possible knockout”, stated a confident Hopkins.

On fight night during the referee’s instructions amazingly Hopkins looked emaciated standing opposite of Smith’s Goliath appearance which began to inject some feelings of foreboding in me, but of course looks could be deceiving.

From the very first bell I felt that Hopkins realized he had gone to the well once too often or maybe chewed off more than he could chew.

“The Irish Bomber” Smith rushed out and attacked Hopkins with a vicious ferocity as if he was in a hurry to go home early despite, the fact that he was fighting the legendary future boxing Hall of Famer, Bernard Hopkins.

Smith was not to be denied his boxing ring stardom as he continued to awkwardly move forward throwing head and body punches after a multiple of jabs. Smith threw a hard right hand to Hopkins’ temple hurting him and causing him to hold on to survive the round.

The 2nd & 3rd rounds were a repeat of the first as Smith pounded Hopkins to the surprise of loyal Hopkins fans. You could hear Smith’s trainer Joe Cappobianco screaming, “that’s it Joey, stay on him keep punching but start with the jab.”

Even after Smith received a cut to his left eye from a Hopkins head-butt he followed Cappobianco’s instructions to the letter pounding Hopkins repeatedly.

Finally some life and survival was displayed by Hopkins as he counter-punched back, stopping Smith in his tracks forcing him to hold on to avoid being hit further. Hopkins showing some life clearly won the 4th round to the delight of his fans almost 7,000 in attendance.

The fans thought that since Hopkins was always a slow starter he had finally figured Smith out and was ready to take him into deep waters and teach him a boxing lesson.

Hopkins appeared to have won round 5 also but round after round the hard-nosed strong career construction worker Smith relentlessly plowed forward obeying the frenzied repeated instructions of his trainer, “keep going don’t stop kid he’s already tired, take him out.”

No truer words were spoken since Hopkins indeed although fighting back courageously with his combination of punches could not stop this modern day raging bull who had tasted the blood of victory although he had been hit hard several times by Hopkins’ vaunted right hand throughout the fight.

In the eighth round as Hopkins fought off the ropes which was his defensive and also offensive fighting style throughout his 28 year championship career, Smith hit him with a combination of perhaps 8 punches followed by a lethal left hook knocking a stunned Hopkins through the ring ropes bouncing off the ring apron and on to the floor hitting his head.

Hopkins appeared very dazed as he was helped and lifted up by the Commission Doctor.

Almost immediately Hopkins began to shout for all to hear, “He pushed me, damn it he pushed me. Now I can’t stand up because my ankle hurts.”

Referee Jack Reiss continued to count the mandatory 20 second count if a fighter is knocked out of the ring and, since Hopkins had not returned to resume fighting he was counted out which was legal by the commission rules.

“The fighter was hit by a punch, he was not pushed and since he did not return to the ring and couldn’t continue I counted him out”, stated referee Reiss.

At the time of the 8th round stoppage Smith was ahead in the scoring. Judge Tim Cheatham-67/66, Judge Thomas Taylor-69/64 voted for Smith while Judge Pat Russell inexplicably voted for Hopkins 67/66.

Hopkins who had not fought in almost 2 years when he lost to Sergey Kovalev fooled himself in to believing that he could shake that long ring rust especially at his age-almost 52-and compete against a young-27-Smith who had previously scored the biggest upset of his career knocking out former world champ Andrzel Fonfara in one round. Fonfara previously had handed Julio Cesar, Jr. his first loss by knockout.

It is an obvious assumption that now Joe Smith, Jr. is in the position to expect or demand a title fight with either newly crowned Andre Ward or Adonis Stevenson the 2 existing and recognized Light Heavyweight champs.

As for ring retiree Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins it is sincere thanks for a great record breaking boxing career where he became the oldest fighter-twice- to win world titles. Once, at 46 years old and then, again, at 48 years old. It is a foregone assumption that these records will never be broken.

In hind sight Hopkins should’ve listened to Floyd Mayweather when he stated, “49 tried and 49 failed now it is now my ‘Father and Children’ time and my T.M.T. Promotion Company, no more boxing for me.”

Well said because in the ‘hurt business’ you have to set a career limit.


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