Hopkins hopes to bring out the Executioner for his retirement fight
October 18, 2016 3:02 AM
by Vegas Runner
The Forum in Inglewood, California will play host to the culmination of an iconic boxing career on Dec. 17 when Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KO’s) will lace up his gloves as a professional for the very last time.
Hopkins goes against light heavyweight contender Joe Smith (22-1, 18 KO’s). A month later, Hopkins will turn 52 and then a short time later he’ll undoubtedly be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame.
According to his business partner, fight promoter, and friend Oscar De La Hoya, “We want to make this Bernard Hopkins’ retirement party. We’re going to put something together that will compliment his farewell fight.”
In short, Golden Boy Promotions will attempt to celebrate the historic career of one this generation’s greatest “boxers.”
I emphasize the word “boxer” because that’s exactly what has made B-Hop a former middleweight and light heavyweight world champion – an undisputed one at that.
His mastery of the sweet science is what “The Executioner” seems to take the most pride in, and throughout his career he was able to “out box” so many fighters who entered the ring bigger, stronger, and even faster than he was. Hopkins was such an efficient boxer he was able to exploit an opponent’s smallest weakness, and negate their greatest advantages.
Hopkins turned pro in 1988 and over his 28 year career was able to beat many of this generation’s biggest names. A glance at his record shows wins against the likes of Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya, and Roy Jones Jr. just to name a few.
Along the way, like most fighters willing to continuously face the best opposition, he lost a couple of fights, too.
Yet Hopkins remained relevant throughout because he took pride in being old school. Meaning, he didn’t look to protect his record and hold on to his titles by avoiding the greatest challenges at that time. Instead, he aimed to make the fights we the fans wanted to see most.
Historically, it’s much more difficult for fight promoters to sell a boxer. The majority of boxing fans want to see big punchers and bouts to end by knockout. But Hopkins was such an efficient technician of his craft that he was able to overcome that problem.
Thinking back over the years I can recall so many instances where he was involved in the most highly anticipated bouts of that time. In fact, Hopkins has even won “Fight of the Year” honors, which is a perfect reflection of how much his style was appreciated.
It would be a disservice not to mention his background before becoming a professional boxer since he credits much of it for where he is today. Hopkins was sentenced to 18 years in Graterford Prison for nine felonies. He was only 17 years old at the time. It was within those prison walls that he took up the sport of boxing and developed a passion for it.
Hopkins was released after serving 5 years and always shares the story of how on his way out one of the guards told him that he would see him soon, when he ends up back in prison again.
Hopkins says his response was, “I ain’t ever coming back here.” Within a year he turned professional and though he lost his debut, the rest as they say is history.
Finally, like Hopkins, I’m also from Philadelphia and had the pleasure of meeting him along with his trainer Nazim Richardson on multiple occasions at Joe Hands Gym where he trains. He was always courteous enough to share some thoughts on the fight game, something he talks about with every fan, journalist, and upcoming young fighter.
Although it would take a novel to document a detailed biography of Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins, I felt the announcement of his retirement is an event that warrants coverage from all of us who love this sport.