The 51 year old Bernard Hopkins wants to do it one more time. The whole nine, the training camp, the pressers, the fight night, soak in the adoration and prove yet again that he’s up there at a lofty plateau, as a physical freak of nature.
Hopkins (55-7-2), a former champion at 160, who defended his title a middleweight record 20 times, will fight his farewell fight against a man young enough to be his son. The most successful alumnus of Graterford Prison, who turns 52 on January 15, will fight 27 year old Joe Smith (22-1).
They tango on Dec 17, in California, according to Smith co-trainer Tommy Gallagher.
Hopkins confounded doubters who figured he’d be back behind bars but he instead learned the pugilism trade and debuted as a pro in 1988. Smith was born a year later.
A rugged Irish-American is cut from old school cloth. He would have excelled in the previous decades, when there was a live fight card in NY five nights a week. On Dec 17, Smith will be the betting underdog but Gallagher will have none of it. “The fight is signed. And do I like my guy’s chances? He kills this guy. If he doesn’t kill him…Man, I’m betting everything I have on Joe.”
The Long Islander promoted by Joe DeGuardia scored the most splashy upset KO of the year when he pole axed Andrzej Fonfara in June. The WBC has him as their No 2 rated 175. He’s been busier than Hopkins, who last fought in Nov 2014, dropping a UD to Sergey Kovalev, who made the old master look not exactly old, but for sure past his prime.
Now a partner at Golden Boy Promotions, Hopkins is admitting that he’s no longer a full time fighter and instead wants to transition to his next phase. He first wants to prove age is but a number, against Smith, a bombs away slugger who the graybeard expects can be defused and dissected.
One would assume HBO, for whom Hopkins does analyst work, will televise. And this being boxing, maybe should one assume that if Hopkins wins and looks decent, he will have a hard time sticking to the plan, this one and done scrap being the farewell fight?
Talk to us, friends. How do you see Hopkins v Smith playing out, will it be a festive going away party for the clever fox of a fighter or will the kid rudely wreck the retirement bash?