Bernard Hopkins retires from boxing at 51-years-old after knockout loss

Joe Smith Jr knocked Hopkins out of the ring in their bout

Bernard Hopkins, Joe Smith Jr.,

Image: Matt Rourke AP/Press Association Images

Former world champion Bernard Hopkins bowed out of boxing on Saturday night after a loss at the age of 51. 

The legendary fighter was knocked out of the ring by his opponent, the 27-year-old Joe Smith Jr., and failed to return within the time limit. 

Hopkins was behind on the scorecards in the eighth round when he was hit with a number of punches by Smith, the last of which sent him spilling out of the ring, injuring his ankle in the process. Hopkins was helped to his feet, but was unable to get back into the ring to continue the fight.

Speaking to Reuters after the bout, the veteran fighter stated that he thought he could have lasted the distance and come back to claim victory. 

"I'm really still in shock they going to give him the fight [...] He shoved me out of the ring," Hopkins said. "I believe I hit my head. My ankle (twisted) when I hit the ground. I couldn't stand up on my feet. I know for a fact if I wouldn't have got pushed out of the ring [...] I believe he was starting to fade out and I was starting to come on stronger."

Fans showed their appreciation for Hopkins, who confirmed that last night's loss would be his last fight after the bout ended, cheering him as he headed back to the locker room. 

Hopkins has called time on his career with a record of of 55 wins (32 by knockout) in his 67 fights. His last fight, which took place two years ago against Sergey Kovalev, also ended in defeat.