Hopkins vs. Smith — Imagine That

By Marc Livitz on December 18, 2016
Hopkins vs. Smith — Imagine That
Hopkins was unable to gather his collective marbles. (Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times)

Bernard was introduced in the ring as “The Executioner” as opposed to “The Alien,” so there’s still hope for intelligent life beyond our solar system…

“I don’t believe in destiny or the guiding hand of fate. I don’t believe in forever or love as a mystical state” were the lyrics penned to yet another clever tune from Canadian rockers, Rush in 1992. “Ghost of a Chance” mapped out the need for one to create their own path and not just wait around for the ebbs and flows of life. Although the chance to one day cover a bout ringside at the Fabulous Forum still remains on this writer’s bucket list, watching the slow, twenty-four minute buildup to the eventual swan song for Bernard Hopkins was quite somber in and of itself. If we’re willing to take a moment to put much of Saturday’s evening bout on replay, then we’d see an older, less methodical and perhaps most painfully a version of “The Executioner” who was simply out of his league against Long Islander Joe Smith, Jr.

It goes without considering that the majority of fans in attendance at the building made famous by such names as Magic Johnson and James Worthy were expecting a Hopkins walkover or schooling of the blue-collar fighter from New York. A former champion from Philadelphia faced an up-and-coming combatant from one of the five boroughs (sort of) in a ring in Inglewood, California. It didn’t end well for Hopkins. A well timed barrage of unanswered shots from Smith sent Hopkins through the ropes and onto the Forum floor towards the end of round eight. He was unable to gather his collective marbles in order to get back into the ring in the allotted twenty second limit as prescribed by the rules of the sport. Still and was likely expected, Bernard did not go quietly into the night.

He was not happy, understandably so with the knockout loss to Smith, yet he was convinced that a push as opposed to punches is what sent him careening out of the squared circle. This wasn’t the way many of us would have hoped the former middleweight and light heavyweight titleholder end his career, but the sport is full of surprises. Even as the hint of another promotional soap opera beckons in the likely drama between the respective camps of middleweight superstars Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez for an eventual mega fight, the sweet science still hands us a quandary of sorts from time to time.

This was not the first loss of Bernard’s career, yet it was the initial time he’d been stopped in a fight. We can’t blame the guy for trying to get one last win and silence the naysayers one final time before he greets the age of 52. Just as was evident in the evening’s co-main event (an easy, all but scripted win for Joseph Diaz), many within the boxing know could have easily been of the opinion that Hopkins was perhaps facing John Smith or even John Doe. Bernard was introduced in the ring as “The Executioner” as opposed to “The Alien” on Saturday evening, so there’s still hope for intelligent life beyond our solar system.

Strangely enough, the onscreen channel guide listed “boxing” for HBO and just below it on HBO 2 was another installment of a famous movie franchise, “Alien vs. Predator — Requiem.” That’s very close to what we got on Saturday night in Los Angeles. An Alien ran into a Predator, so let the requiem for the career, not the person begin. It’s not as if we’ve seen the last of Bernard Hopkins (55-8-2, 32 KO’s), as he’s become a ringside mainstay as part of the commentary booth. Even if his turn at the podium during the post fight press conference took more time than the entire card and building preparation combined, the boxing world didn’t see a proverbial passing of the torch in Inglewood as much as the torch being either extinguished or simply set aside. We’re not likely to miss him because he’s not going to go away. One door has closed (hopefully) so another could remain open. Permanently. Thank you, “B-Hop.”

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Bernard Hopkins vs Joe Smith (Hopkins KOed) highlights

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  1. Pugwash 06:59am, 01/02/2017

    B-Hop proved himself human.  For the record, I admired his career, but was never a fan.  Nobody can take away his accomplishments, or question his toughness.  But, IMHO, he stunk out fights in the past twelve years with his grappling, and his whining when things didn’t go his way, such as the Calzaghe fight, and the Dawsom fights.

    Out of the ring, as Thomas Hauser reported, he could be a liar and a miscreant.

    He is, and has been a physical marvel.  Back when, I predicted, almost to the round how he would beat Tito Trinidad, then undefeated.  But he fought on way past when he could entertain a crowd, or gain new fans. 

    Let’s hope this is one promise he keeps, and we have seen the last of hiss in the ring.

  2. Moon-man 09:04am, 12/20/2016

    Didn’t Bernard promise to leave the country if he lost to Smith?

  3. Koolz 02:37pm, 12/19/2016

    quite entertaining.  Smith got him with a punch but his body helped Bhop out of the ring.
    Mind is the body, does the mind think thee young?  Then you are, you are…
    and may you box until your in your fifties!

  4. nicolas 02:25pm, 12/19/2016

    In a previous article, one that was written before the fight by Thad Moore, I commented that I felt Smith would probably win, or Hopkins would win by controversial decision. I also stated, paraphrasing, ‘When hopkins gets back in the ring with Smith’. Well after getting knocked out of the ring he did not get back in. Hopkins should have left boxing with his loss to Kovalev, which was uncharacteristically for him with grace. In his defense, I think he was really somewhat embarrassed by this loss, and that is why he made the statements that he did. He did acknowledge that Smith is a hard puncher.

  5. peter 10:03am, 12/19/2016

    Good article, Marc Livitz. I once heard, “You can either win ugly or lose pretty.” Well, with this fight, it’s the exact opposite: Smith won pretty and Hopkins lost ugly.

  6. peter 09:59am, 12/19/2016

    @ Thresher—Thanks. Boxing allowed me to impose order on my disorder.

  7. The Thresher 08:28am, 12/19/2016

    Damn. Peter, your post was good enough to be an article.

  8. The Thresher 08:27am, 12/19/2016

    “I thought Lampley and starry eyed Maxie were going to kiss Bernard’s ass before the end of the broadcast” Like Steve Smoger did after one of Hopkins’s fights. Max was sluuuurping big time and it was puke-provoking.

  9. peter 07:50am, 12/19/2016

    @ Irish Frankie C—Many thanks for the mention! It was unexpected and very much appreciated. Why did I stop fighting? It took awhile to accept the fact that I loved boxing as much as I hated it. Growing up, my brother and I were living in a toxic environment. He did heroin; I did boxing. Boxing, and fighting, for me, was like an expectorant—it enabled me to cough up all the crap. Once I removed myself from that environment, I was good to go. Not so my brother. Thanks, again.

  10. Allen 05:47am, 12/19/2016

    enough of Hopkins already. This is the 3rd time he has “fallen” or been “pushed” out of the ring. He’s a con man of the highest order. All time great my ass. No one of the last generation above welterweight can be considered an all time great.The list of middleweights who would have kicked his ass is a foot long. Level of completion sucks. So,some may be greatest of their generation but not all time great. I thought Lampley and starry eyed Maxie were going to kiss Bernard’s ass before the end of the broadcast. Enough with Hopkins.
    And thanks to the fighters from the former eastern block and the Hispanics for their excellent performances.
    Semper Fi

  11. Moon-man 03:30pm, 12/18/2016

    ” I feel I should be fighter of the year.” - Joltin’ Joe Smith. WHAT!? Congrats on the win and all, but lets get real here, you beat up a 52 year old man, who last fought two years ago.

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 12:06pm, 12/18/2016

    Tommy Schaefer later turned Pro, fought as the Fighting Leatherneck and ended up with a record of 17 wins 2 losses. Half of his wins were KOs and he was never KOd. Never could figure out why he didn’t go on…I didn’t research it but maybe he had some of the same feelings toward fighting that Peter Wood had.

  13. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:55am, 12/18/2016

    Way, way, way back in 1957 AD I was in attendance at a Marine Corps tourney at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Tommy Schaefer a Golden Gloves Champ from Pittsburgh was competing at Lightweight. Long story short, he hit his opponent a shot and he went down like he was pole axed, rolled under the bottom strand, out of the ring and literally made a beeline for the locker room. I was not acquainted with Tommy at the time but his opponent was in our platoon and what makes this story so sweet to relate is that I had a history with the bitch and along with many others knew him to be a whiney ass, racist bully.

  14. The Thresher 11:28am, 12/18/2016

    Is it true that one judge had it for Hopkins one had it for Smith,and one had it a draw? If so, that is a sickening disgrace and warrants an investigation.

  15. The Thresher 11:12am, 12/18/2016

    JMM, Hopkins, Duran, Paulie

  16. Moon-man 11:01am, 12/18/2016

    Worst whiner of all time had to be Duran.

  17. The Thresher 10:58am, 12/18/2016

    Yes. Roy did have a shit=eating grin on. Can’t blame him.

  18. The Thresher 10:56am, 12/18/2016

    Hopkins whines more than JMM

  19. Moon-man 08:55am, 12/18/2016

    Roy Jones Jr., might have been the only guy in the arena that was happier than Joe Smith. After all the shit talking about Roy done by Hopkins, what better than for Jones to be the person commenting on Hopkins getting knocked out by the common man. Karma, anyone.

  20. Moon-man 08:40am, 12/18/2016

    Damn. Couldn’t that hispanic dude at least try to stop Hopkins from falling on the floor. Damn. Dude was like, f*ck this, and just let the guy fall. In the words of the late, Rick James, dat was “cold-blooded.”

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