PHILLY BOXING HISTORY - December 05, 2016 
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Story by John DiSanto
Photos by Darryl Cobb Jr. /


Bernard Hopkins, 55-7-2, 32 KOs, held an open media workout Monday at the Joe Hand Boxing Gym in Philadelphia, and entered the event dressed as an old man an older old man than he actually is, that is.  The nearly 52-year old worked out before for a large media contingent with trainer John David Jackson and assistant trainer Danny Davis. 

Hopkins also answered questions from the press, most of which regarded whether or not his scheduled 12-rounder with Joe Smith Jr., 22-1, 18 KOs, would indeed be his final ring appearance.  Both Hopkins and promoter Oscar De la Hoya, who was also in attendance at the workout, have gone on the record with assurances that Bernard would retire from boxing after the fight. 

I believe him, De la Hoya said.  I believe this is going to be his final fight.  Were calling it The Final 1.  We actually had him sign a contract, and it states in the contract, I promise this is my last fight, De la Hoya said with a laugh. 

I feel this is the right time, based on knowing the time that I feel, compared to ten years ago when I made that announcement, Hopkins said.  Boy, Im glad that I reneged on that ten years ago, because Ive added to my legacy even further, and no one is complaining.  The right time (for retirement) is not for lack of speed, lack of this or that.  (Rather) now that you see Im doing it based on the level of age, and the level of almost three decades, thats one of the reasons Im really key to not only winning the fight but making it the final one.  After that, it becomes reaching. 

His opponent, Joe Smith Jr. is a 27-year old puncher who shocked Andrzej Fonfara six months ago by knocking him out in the first round.  The New Yorker will look to build on that victory with an even more surprising win, designed to retire Hopkins for good. 

I know that Hopkins isnt a fighter that is going to turn old overnight, De la Hoya said.  I dont think thats going to happen to Hopkins.  I see him as a guy, 51 years old, still doing this because he can, because he takes care of himself.  I think hell be more than ready for this fight. 

There is no difference in preparation for this one, Hopkins said.  But there is a difference in strategy because its a different guy, as far as anybody Ive fought name-wise.  As far as style-wise, I think Ive seen just about any living style that exists now. 

The fight will be held at the legendary Forum in Inglewood, CA, and will be nationally televised by HBO. 




John DiSanto - Philadelphia - December 06, 2016