INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Bernard Hopkins’ legendary, 28-year career came to a thudding conclusion Saturday night, when Joe Smith Jr. punched him out of the ring and onto The Forum floor in the eighth round in a wild scene.
Hopkins, a month shy of his 52nd birthday and participating in the 67th and final fight of a career that began when Ronald Reagan was president and the year before Smith was born, landed on his head but complained of an ankle injury and was unable to continue.
Referee Jack Reiss administered a 20-count, as is the boxing rule when a fighter is ejected from the ring. When Hopkins could not get back into the ring in time, Reiss waved off the light heavyweight fight at 53 seconds, to the disappointment of most of the 6,513 who turned out to see whether Hopkins could go out with a win in his first fight in 25 months. On Nov. 8, 2014, the date of Hopkins’ prior fight, he lost two light heavyweight world titles to Sergey Kovalev in a one-sided decision in a unification fight.