Bernard Hopkins wore his traditional executioner getup last Saturday. The Navy colored cloak was accented in royal blue with a cloth covering up his whole face. He was moving forward, bouncing up and down, as two big shirtless body guards were walking upfront with an axe and faces covered. This is just how Hopkins goes to work. The 51-year-old boxer, goes to the ring and tries to dissect his opponent for the 67th time over a span of 28 years, defying father time over and over again. However, somehow this wasn’t the usual trip going to the office. For years, he had dodged, maneuvered and find ways to get things done with limited options. Finally, Bernard was trapped in a corner, nowhere to run and nowhere to go. On all of his seven defeats, he never got knocked out. And this was his inspiration to move forward despite calls of asking him to hang up his gloves.
But this time, it was different. Bernard was leaning in the ropes when Joe Smith Jr. unleashed a flurry of punches. Hopkins fell through all the way down to the floor. The fall was too much for his 51-year-old body to get up, his legs started to betray him. The mind was willing but the body was weak. All those accumulation of heavy punches, from being a middle weight to light weight champion and from holding on to boxing where he could have retired ten years ago. The sum of everything put too much weight on his shoulders that he could barely got up and beat the 20-second count. This was supposed to be his last fight in boxing, a farewell party to his hall of fame career. He took Joe Smith Jr. who still wasn’t born when Bernard started his first professional fight.
Bernard Hopkins was still sour on his defeat. He insisted he was pushed down all the way to the floor, even though video replays showed a different story. Somehow, we all know how it all ends. Fighters who hold on for too long never gets the fairy tale ending they want.
Saturday night was a different fight for Bernard Hopkins. It was the execution for the executioner.
For 28 years he prides himself for not being TKO. I guess this was an icing on the cake.