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Hopkins knocked out of the ring by Smith


By John J. Raspanti


Joe Smith Jr. spoiled the retirement party of Bernard Hopkins by stopping the ring legend in round eight at The Fabulous Forum in Inglewood, CA Saturday night.


Smith (23-1, 19 KOs) came out unloading haymakers in the opening stanza. Hopkins (55-8-2, 32 KOs) used guile, the ring, and experience to keep Smith at bay, but did get nailed with a couple of hard right hands.


The 51-year-old Hopkins started firing lead right hands in round two. A number landed. Smith, last seen flattening Andrzej Fonfara, had no intention of playing the patsy. He pushed forward in rounds three and four, winging powerful hooks to the body and head. Hopkins rolled with a number of the blows, and fought back—laying claim to a couple of close rounds.  


He didn’t win much more after that.


Smith makes no bones about this style. He can’t box much, but he can really crack. He tested Hopkins whiskers with another hard-right hook in round five.


Hopkins countered back with his own right, but Smith flicked the blow away like you would a pesky fly.


Smith picked up the pace in the next heat. He fired thudding blows to the body. Hopkins moved away and countered.  Smith forced him to the ropes and let fly.


Hopkins ducked and weaved, but it appeared that Smith’s pressure was bothering him. Hopkins strafed Smith with more shots in round six, but the 27-year-old lashed out at the midsection.


A big uppercut stunned Hopkins.


Hopkins found Smith with more lead rights in the next round. Smith unloaded to the body. Hopkins wanted to punch and rest, but Smith was forcing him to be more active.

The end came at 54 seconds into round eight. Hopkins was back on the ropes, resting, looking to counter, when Smith caught him with hard left, right, left combination.


The last blow sent Hopkins toppling out of the ring. Hopkins had twenty seconds to get back in the ring, but couldn’t make it. Referee Jack Reiss counted him out.


Like a number of ring legends before him, his last seconds were inglorious and painful to watch.


“This is the best feeling in the world to accomplish this (a knockout), said Smith after the match. “I hit him with four or five clean shots.”




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