Hopkins to retire following Smith fight


Former two-division world champion Bernard Hopkins will retire from boxing following his fight with Joe Smith on December 17.

The 51-year-old will bring the curtain down on his illustrious career at The Forum in Los Angeles, with his record ahead of the bout standing at 55-7-2, with 32 knockouts.

Hopkins fought the likes of Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Joe Calzaghe, winning against the former pair, in a career spanning 28 years.

After a spell in prison and defeat in his first professional fight, Hopkins turned to boxing and dominated the middleweight division from 1995 to 2005, a timeframe in which he recorded 20 successive defences before suffering consecutive defeats to Jermain Taylor.

Having lost his WBA (Super) and IBF light heavyweight titles to Sergey Kovalev in 2014, the veteran is set to bid farewell to the sport after his fight with Smith.

"'The Executioner' has one fight left, and Joe Smith is going to find out the hard way how well prepared I am for my final fight," said Hopkins.

"A lot of people will focus on my age, the history of my run in the sport, the titles, et cetera, but I'm focused on one thing - knocking Joe Smith out."

Promoter De La Hoya, stopped in nine rounds when he met Hopkins in a middleweight unification fight in 2004, hopes the fight can provide Hopkins with a fitting send-off.

"We want to make this Bernard Hopkins' retirement party. It will be a whole week of festivities and celebration of his great career. We're going to put something together that will complement his farewell fight," he said.

"He is in better shape than a lot of 20-year-old kids fighting today, but Bernard wants to end his career before he turned 52. I really believe Hopkins will leave the sport after this fight and he will leave the way he chose to leave.

"The fact that it's his last fight, he knows in his heart and his head that he has to go out on top, and Hopkins is the best at doing that."