Hopkins Final Fight Set for December
Boxing legend Bernard Hopkins is gearing up for his final walk to the ring. The 51-year-old is slated to fight Joe Smith Jr. on Dec. 17th, according to a press release from Golden Boy Promotions.
Hopkins (55-7-2) has previously said that he would have his swansong fight before the end of 2016, and his fight with Smith bears the tagline "The Final One".
His opponent will predictably have youth on his side, as Smith (22-1) is 27 years old, giving him nearly a 25-year advantage over Hopkins. Still, Hopkins has continued to prove doubters wrong by remaining a competitive boxer into his fifties.
Hopkins last fought undefeated light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in November of 2014, losing by unanimous decision. Despite the age disadvantage he will carry into the fight, Hopkins is expected to be the favorite against the younger Smith. That is a testament to the 51-year-old’s staying power, given Smith’s dangerous punches along with his youth.
With a credible opponent in front of him, Hopkins will look for a proper sendoff into retirement. He is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame after his long and memorable career. Among his list of achievements, Hopkins holds the records for most title defenses as middleweight champion (20). A list of fighters he has defeated includes Roy Jones Jr., Oscar De La Hoya, Kelly Pavnik, Jean Pascal and Chad Dawson among other big names.
The HBO-broadcasted card was expected to also feature a fight between junior lightweight titleholders Orlando Salido and Takashi Miura. However, Salido has suffered a back injury and was forced to withdraw from the event.