Ring legend Bernard Hopkins to retire after farewell fight

29 Sep 2001:    Bernard Hopkins wears his trademark executioner mask upon his entrance against Felix Trinidad before their middleweight championship unific
Image: 'The Executioner' Bernard Hopkins will hang up his gloves at age of 51 after a farewell bout in December

Bernard Hopkins has announced he will bring down the curtain on his 28-year boxing career when he faces Joe Smith in his farewell bout on December 17.

Hopkins will hang up his gloves at the age of 51 after taking on fellow American Smith in his 65th and final fight at the Forum in Los Angeles.

'The Executioner' has won multiple world titles at middleweight and light-heavyweight, boasts a record of 55-7-2 with 32 knockouts, and has never been stopped.

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - NOVEMBER 08:  Sergey Kovalev punches Bernard Hopkins during their IBF, WBA, & WBO Light Heavyweight title fight at Boardwalk Hall Arena
Image: Hopkins was floored in the first round by Sergey Kovalev before losing a unanimous decision to the undefeated Russian

He has fought some of the biggest names of his generation including Roy Jones Jr, Felix Trinidad, Oscar De La Hoya and Joe Calzaghe, and will return to the ring after losing his WBA and IBF light-heavyweight titles to WBO champion Sergey Kovalev in November 2014.

The Philadelphia-born fighter turned to boxing after a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for armed robbery and lost his first bout as a professional in 1988.

However, he went on to dominate the middleweight division for a decade, making a record 20 consecutive defences before suffering back-to-back defeats to Jermain Taylor in 2005.

LAS VEGAS - APRIL 19:  (R-L) Joe Calzaghe of Wales connects with a right to the face of Bernard Hopkins during their light heavyweight bout at Thomas & Mac
Image: Joe Calzaghe climbed off the canvas in the first round to secure a split decision over Hopkins in 2008

Hopkins lost to Britain's Calzaghe in 2008 before winning the WBC light-heavyweight title in 2010.

Also See:

"A lot of people will focus on my age, the history of my run in the sport, the titles, etc... but I'm focused on one thing - knocking Joe Smith out," said Hopkins.

"We want to make this Bernard Hopkins' retirement party," said boxer-turned promoter De La Hoya, who was stopped in nine rounds by Hopkins when they met in a middleweight unification fight in 2004.

LAS VEGAS - SEPTEMBER 18:  Bernard Hopkins (R) connects with a punch to Oscar De La Hoya during their world middleweight championship at the MGM Grand Gard
Image: Hopkins knocked out Oscar De La Hoya when they met in Las Vegas 12 years ago

"It will be a whole week of festivities and celebration of his great career. We're going to put something together that will complement his farewell fight.

"Joe Smith is a big knockout puncher, and he is coming off a great win over Fonfara, who had knocked out Chavez Jr. He will bring the fight to Hopkins. He is aggressive. It's a legitimate fight."

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 18:  Joe Smith Jr. (red gloves) knocks out Andrzej Fonfara (blue gloves) with a left during the WBC International Light Heavyweight Titl
Image: Joe Smith Jr. knocked out Andrzej Fonfara in the first round to win the WBC International light heavyweight title in June

Smith, 27, who was born roughly three months after Hopkins laced up his gloves for the first time, has lost only one fight since his 2009 debut, compiling a 22-1 record with 18 knockouts.

"I'm very excited about fighting on HBO," said the New Yorker.  "I know now all my hard work and dedication has paid off. I am looking forward to retiring a boxing legend."

You can watch Chelsea v Man Utd, plus England's tour of Bangladesh and the US Grand Prix on Sky Sports. Upgrade now and enjoy six months at half price!

Around Sky