BERNARD Hopkins hoped to end his legendary career on a win but instead the 51-year-old boxer was knocked out of the ropes and onto the floor courtesy of a punch from Joe Smith Jr. on Saturday night in California.
Heading into the fight, Hopkins had already stated that win, lose or draw he was going to retire after a career that started all the way back in 1988.
Sadly, Hopkins’ final bout came to a devastating end despite putting up a solid performance against Smith, who was 24 years his junior heading into the fight.
Smith had landed some hard power punches on Hopkins earlier in the fight, but the final flurry came in the eighth round as he pushed him up against the ropes before unleashing a series of big shots.
The last shot landed flush and it sent Hopkins crashing through the ring ropes onto the floor where he remained for a few moments.
Eventually, Hopkins made it back to his feet while unaware that he only had a 20-count to get back into the ring before the fight was stopped.
When the referee counted 20, the fight was waived off and Smith was declared the winner by eighth-round TKO.
Afterwards, Hopkins argued that he had been pushed out of the ring, but he was clearly dazed from the punch and the subsequent crash the floor that brought an end to the fight.
While it certainly wasn’t the finish he wanted, Hopkins did reiterate that he was calling it a career and would retire following the loss on Saturday night.