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Hopkins ends career in defeat

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 18/12/2016

Bernard Hopkins' 28-year boxing career ended in defeat on Saturday night as Joe Smith Jr. knocked the 51-year-old veteran to the floor in the eighth round, ending the contest shortly after.

The bout took place at the Forum in Los Angeles and was ended 53 seconds into the eighth round when Smith landed a six-punch combination which sent Hopkins through the ropes and onto the floor. 

Referee Jack Reiss then called a halt to proceedings via a technical knockout when Hopkins failed to return inside the ring after a period of 20 seconds. 

Bernard Hopkins reacts as he receives medical attention after he fell out of the ring in seventh round. © USA Today Sports Bernard Hopkins reacts as he receives medical attention after he fell out of the ring in seventh round. As well as a blow to his head, a twisted ankle was cited by Hopkins as the reason for the TKO, with him unable to make it back into the ring. 

"I'm really still in shock," said Hopkins. "This is my last fight, I promised it would be and you come to that point in life where it is final and I'm happy with my retirement.

© Getty "I know the fans will know I went out as a soldier, fighting the toughest, baddest opponents. I'm not saying I agree, I'm not in denial Joe was a tough, heavy hitting fighter."

'The Executioner', as Hopkins was known throughout his career, ended with a professional boxing record of 55-8-2 which included 32 knockouts. 

From 1994, Hopkins successfully defended his middleweight title on 20 occasions and in 2013 he became the oldest boxer in history at 49 to win a major title with his IBF light heavyweight success against Tavoris Cloud in 2013.

© Getty A year later, Hopkins defeated Kazakh boxer Beibut Shumenov by split decision to become the oldest boxer ever to unify world titles, picking up the WBA 'Super' light heavyweight title. 

Smith, 27, improves his record to 23-1, including 19 knockouts and praised Hopkins after the fight. 

"I knew he was a true champion, and if he didn't get injured he'd be back here," said Smith.

"I had seen him fall, and I kept hitting him until I saw him go out, and I landed that left hook until he went out.

© Getty "I knew he had time to go out, but I hit him with four or five clean shots and they were good shots on the button

"I came here to do my job. This is my coming out party, too. I had to finish him. It was either my career was going to end and his was going to end, but I needed mine to continue."

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