Tonight on HBO, we’ll witness the last fight of 51-year-old Bernard Hopkins’ illustrious career. Win, lose, or draw Hopkins says that he will hang up the boxing gloves after his bout with Joe Smith Jr. Let’s reflect on Hopkins’ Hall of Fame career, get familiar with Smith, and break down tonight’s historic matchup.
Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs) made his professional debut all the way back in October of 1988, roughly a year before Smith was even born. Hopkins is one of the greatest boxers to ever step inside a ring, and he’s rewrote the record books with his remarkable achievements. The crafty technician from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has held multiple world titles at both middleweight and light heavyweight. From 1995-2005, Hopkins held at least one middleweight belt, and he made a record-setting 20 successful middleweight title defenses.
In 2006, Hopkins would make the move to light heavyweight, beating Antonio Tarver by unanimous decision to win IBO and The Ring belts in his very first fight in the weight class. In 2011, he would break George Foreman’s record as the oldest man to ever win a world title, defeating Jean Pascal by unanimous decision at the ripe old age of 46. Later on, Hopkins would break his own record, winning a light heavyweight world title again at age 48.
As for Smith (22-1, 18 KOs), the Long Island, New York brawler might have scored the most shocking upset victory of 2016. Despite being a union laborer during the day and a boxer by night, Smith knocked out Andrzej Fonfara in the first round of their June 18 bout to become the WBC light heavyweight champion.
Of the other 22 guys Smith has previously fought, I haven’t heard of any of them and only two of them even have Wikipedia pages. In tonight’s bout, we’ll get to see if Smith is the real deal or if his win against Fonfara was a fluke. It will be youth vs. experience, offense vs. defense, and power-punching vs. counter-punching in a bout that is must-see television.
Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr. Tale Of The Tape
Age: Hopkins (51), Smith (27)
Height: Hopkins (6’1″), Smith (6’0″)
Reach: Hopkins (75 in), Smith (73 in)
Weight: Hopkins (174 lb), Smith (174 lb)
Stance: Hopkins (Orthodox), Smith (Orthodox)
Bernard Hopkins vs. Joe Smith Jr. Viewing Details
Date: Saturday, December 17, 2016
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET/PT
Location: The Forum in Inglewood, California
TV Channel: HBO
Odds: Hopkins (-205), Smith (+167)
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