‘The Executioner’ turned out to be unable to claim one last victory as Joe Smith Jr. trapped him on the ropes with nowhere to go and blasted him out of the ring.
Talk of a foot injury and being pushed out were not really taken seriously by anybody post-fight and Hopkins will have to deal with the fact his career ended in a cruel way should he completely stick to his word.
“I was throwing the right hand and a combination and then using the rope as an offensive as I’m known for, and making a mess,” said Bernard Hopkins after the fight.
“”He got frustrated, and I might have gotten glazed with a left hook and next thing I know he was throwing me out of the ring. I injured myself and hit my head first and hurt my ankle. I knew of the twenty 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. The reason I said I’m upset they are giving Smith the TKO is because the momentum threw the ropes, I didn’t dive through the ropes.
“This is my last fight, I promised it would be and you come to that point in life where it is final and I’m happy with my retirement. I know the fans will know I went out as a solider, fighting the toughest, baddest opponents. I’m not saying I agree, I’m not in denial as Joe was a tough, heavy hitting fighter.”
Strong words from Hopkins, but now that the TV numbers of almost a million have been published, there’s speculation the one-time middleweight king could make a sensational attempt to seal a rematch.
‘B-Hop’ would be likely to succeed due to Smith’s want to continue to build his name, although Hopkins could be on another hiding to nothing as his body continues to age.
Reigning for a decade and unifying the 160 pound division – before moving up and becoming the oldest world champion at light-heavyweight, should really be enough for Hopkins to call it a day but whether the fighter himself sees it that way is another story entirely.