On Saturday, December 17, 2016, Bernard Hopkins will step in the ring for one last time as he takes on Joe Smith Jr. live from The Forum in Inglewood, California.
The fight–which is scheduled for 12-rounds–will be contested for Smith Jr.’s WBC
The telecast will kick off at 10:00 pm, EST on HBO World Championship Boxing.
Read on for Round By Round Boxing‘s staff predictions and let us know who you think will win Hopkins vs. Smith Jr.
Round By Round Boxing Staff Predictions - 2020
|Name||Win||Loss||Total Fights||Win Percentage|
Joe Smith Jr.
Liam Brady, Graphic Designer/Staff Writer
Picking Bernard Hopkins. Yeah, he has been inactive. Though, at his age, the rest could be more beneficial than someone who is in their physical prime.
Furthermore, what he does is muscle memory now, he’ll still have the skills in the bag. It is just whether his body can replicate what his mind intends to do, which I am sure it will, as the cliche of “getting old overnight” has certainly been thrown out the window by Hopkins’ incredible run at Light Heavyweight in his later years. If that cliche was the case, Hopkins should have “got old” a long time ago.
Sure, he’s slowed down, but his dedication has facilitated the longevity we have witnessed. Like his other fights, I see Hopkins doing one or two punches, slipping the counter, and clinching–carefully exerting his energy throughout the fight.
His timing may take a few rounds to get in place, but his fundamentals will be there, and despite Smith being able to crack, Hopkins’ durability against a harder puncher, in my opinion, in Sergey Kovalev, means he will be able to take what Smith has got–if he has a defensive lapse or two.
I see Hopkins being the canny ring operator we know him to be, getting his shots off, being awkward, smothering Smith’s work, and although it may be unsightly from an action perspective, it gets him the win at the end of the day. Hopkins via UD.
CJ Halloran, Staff Writer
This is–supposedly–it. Bernard Hopkins’ last fight at 51 years old. He’ll meet with surprising Light Heavyweight champion, Joe Smith Jr. this Saturday in an HBO televised bout.
I personally believe B-hop’s still got the goods. He may be 51, but his style is so different from most other fighters that he’s still able to fight like he’s 20 years younger.
Joe Smith Jr. had a shockingly powerful knockout of Andrezj Fonfara, but outside of that, he’s fought nobody.
Unless Smith can somehow force the best technical fighter of this era to abandon his gameplan and trade all night, I got B-hop by steep decision.
Robert Contreras, Staff Writer
Joe Smith Jr. is a wild man, putting on a lot of fun scraps in New York leading up to his unbelievable first-round upset of “I don’t feel like spelling out his first name” Fonfara.
But even at over half-a-century years old, that’s the kind of fighter Bernard Hopkins feasts off of.
Two years ago, B-Hop extended Sergey Kovalev the distance and he’ll do the same to Smith. But this time with a points decision verdict.
Alan Garcia, Staff Writer
Bernard Hopkins, a living legend among the boxing world, will be defending his reputation against the young club fighter, Joe Smith Jr.
Hopkins will come into the ring under the alias of “The Executioner.” As he steps into the ring for the last time in his legendary career, he’ll be looking to score a knockout, thus living up to his nickname one final time.
Smith Jr. scored a shocking upset knockout, in the first round, against Andrzej Fonfara in June. Smith will have a 23-year-age advantage over Hopkins and will use all of his attributes to try and pull off yet another upset.
Throughout Hopkins’ career, he has seen it all. With all of the experience he has gained through the years, there’s not a single thing that Smith Jr. will do that Hopkins hasn’t gone up against already.
In my eyes this is a fairly easy fight to predict. I believe Hopkins (being the experienced veteran), saw an opportunity to look good against the young Smith Jr.
While most people can say Hopkins will be running a risk of getting caught by a knockout punch like Fonfara did, that won’t be the case. Hopkins is a smart man who will capitalize on Smith’s inexperience, marketing the fight as a dangerous one.
I predict a shutout that’ll go the distance in Hopkins’ favor. Although I can say Hopkins has a chance to score a knockout, I don’t really see one happening. However, this theater of the unexpected has surprised me time and time again and if there was to be a knockout, then what a great way to close the book on a legendary career.
Farewell to a long career full of entertainment and high drama. My hat goes off and I’m thankful for having witnessed the career of a great fighter. A thousand thanks to the legendary Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins.
Amber Williams, Photographer
Michael Burnell, Staff Writer
This Saturday will (allegedly) mark the final time that 51-year-old Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs) enters the ring as a participant.
If one thing is for certain, it is that BHop has never taken the easy road, this time taking on hard punching Joe Smith Jr. (21-1, 18 KOs) who is fresh off a shocking first-round stoppage of the tough, Andrzej Fonfara in June.
The physical advantages clearly fall into Smith’s favor with the exception of one inch in height. Hopkins however is an ageless wonder that hearkens memories of another Light Heavyweight nicknamed “The ‘Ol Mongoose,” Archie Moore.
His advantage is of the cerebral sort and a boxing IQ as great as any of his era(s).
Bernard Hopkins has proven me wrong in no less than three of his major appearances and I find it hard to bet against him in his final endeavor.
He will use his vastly superior experience, dig shoulder deep into his bag of tricks and secure his final decision victory…allegedly.
Alex Burgos, Editor-in-Chief
Unlike many other fighters–including Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao–who say they’re hanging up the gloves as a ploy, only to come back and fight again, I think this is it for the legendary Bernard Hopkins.
In terms of this “Final 1,” I think Hopkins will feel Joe Smith Jr. out early on and shake any bit of ring rust off before taking some offensive “risks” and possibly even knocking the “The Irish Bomber” down.
I don’t think Hopkins will stink up the joint with a jab and hold approach. Instead, he’ll give spectators something to tell their grand children about–the time that slick old legend beat up the young power puncher.
2016 was crummy for many reasons. When the countless number of musicians and sports icons passed away this year, I would read or hear tons of people say, “I’m so glad I got to Prince perform live, Muhmmad Ali fight, or Phife rip the mic live.” You can’t help but be a little jealous of those people that got experience a moment like seeing David Bowie live. But, all too often we don’t appreciate those masterful performances or people until they’re gone. I have covered this sport, day in and day out, for a little over five years and I have to say being ringside to see Bernard Hopkins put on a clinic against Beibut Shumenov in 2014 was one of the best experiences. Thank you, BHop.