Hopkins participates in his ‘Final 1’ against Joe Smith Jr. at The Forum in Inglewood, California – the 65th contest of a glittering career spanning four decades all the way back to the late 1980’s.
Initially losing his first bout and having contemplated if boxing was really a career option, ‘The Executioner’ would go on to boast a record-breaking reign at the middleweight limit – lasting a full ten years between 1995 and 2005.
As the Philadelphian prepares to retire with one last outing approaching his 52nd birthday, De La Hoya praised Hopkins’ choice of foe as young buck Smith steps into the big time limelight later this month.
“At 51 years young, Bernard is not fighting someone who is not a walk in the park. Joe Smith has every opportunity to take control of the fight and win,” said De La Hoya.
“Hopkins is the type of man to challenge himself and fight the very best.
“This fight with Joe Smith is a very difficult fight. That is why Bernard Hopkins is a living legend, because he is willing to take on the best and challenge himself.
“On Dec 17th, Bernard will make history. We are calling it the “Final 1” and from top to bottom it will be exciting, thrilling, and final fight.
“It is our plan to end the year of 2016 with a huge bang,” he added.
Destined to be remembered forever for one of the most impressive stints in all of boxing, Hopkins has vowed to step away win, lose or draw – despite the possible carrot of a world title shot should the veteran prevail.