All six TV fighters on Hopkins-Smith card successfully make weight

Bernard Hopkins


All six TV fighters successfully made weight Friday for their bouts Saturday night at the Fabulous Forum (on HBO).

Bernard Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs), who will be in his final bout at age 51, weighed 174 pounds for his main-event bout against light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr. (22-1, 18 KOs), who also weighed 174.

The semi-main event will feature highly ranked featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. (22-0, 13 KOs) of South El Monte putting his undefeated record on the line against Horacio Garcia of Mexico. Diaz came in at the 126-pound limit while Garcia (30-1-1, 22 KOs) tipped the scales at 125.8.

Also, cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (10-0, 9 KOs) of Ukraine weighed 199.6 pounds for his title defense against Thabiso McHunu (17-2, 11 KOs) of South Africa, who came in at 198.6.



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Bernard Hopkins, 51, still an intimidating force – at a news conference

Bernard Hopkins/Associated Press photo by Matt Rourke


Bernard Hopkins is the king of trying to win fights at news conferences. Even at 51, that hasn’t changed.

Hopkins and Joe Smith Jr. on Wednesday played host to a news conference at the Fabulous Forum ahead of their light heavyweight main event there Saturday night (on HBO).

This will be the final fight of Hopkins’ illustrious career, one that has spanned 28 years and included titles in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Smith, of Long Island, N.Y., has said all along that he is honored to be involved in Hopkins’ swan song.
Smith also wants to win, and he let everyone know that as he spoke from the dais.

“I know I’m going to be in there with a legend,” said Smith, 27. “But I work very hard, I’ve put many hours in the gym and a lot of sacrifices to get to this point, to where I am today. I’m just ready to get out there and put on a great show Saturday.

“He is a legend, but when he’s in there with me Saturday night, he’s just another opponent to me and I’m looking to get him out of there and stop him, be the first person to stop him in his career.”

Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs), who will be 52 next month, wasn’t about to get that go without talking some serious trash. It included a reference to Kelly Pavlik, who Hopkins easily defeated in October 2008 at a catch-weight of 170 pounds. Pavlik was middleweight champion at the time.

Pavlik went back down to middleweight, defended his title two more times before losing it to Sergio Martinez. Pavlik, who had all kinds of personal issues, fought four more times and won all four bouts, the final one coming at the tender age of 30.

“I’m not going to wish the Kelly Pavlik on him (Smith),” said Hopkins, insinuating he ruined Pavlik’s career. “But what I’m going to do is, I’m going to spank him, teach him his ABCs and then send him back to Long Island, up the road from Philadelphia.

“And then one day, if he recovers mentally … mentally, then he might have something to salvage and go forward. See, that’s what I’m about. I’m a career-stopper to most of my opponents that talk like that.”

Interestingly, Smith (22-1, 18 KOs) had a strange look in his eyes, like he didn’t know what to make of Hopkins and his intimidation tactics.

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Bernard Hopkins wants to go out with a bang Saturday against Joe Smith Jr.


Bernard Hopkins Should Retire Following Loss to Sergey Kovalev

Bernard Hopkins hits the deck during his fight with Sergey Kovalev in 2014/Getty Images photo by Al Bello


Bernard Hopkins wants to go out with a bang, even if he is 51.

“On Dec. 17, I want to give a performance where you beg me to stay,” Hopkins said during a recent conference call promoting his fight Saturday against light heavyweight contender Joe Smith Jr. at the Fabulous Fourm (on HBO). “And it’s a challenge that Joe Smith will have to take on. For fighters to show their greatness, they need someone to bring it out.

“Timing is everything and I am doing it in my calculation. I proved a bunch of people wrong already. There is no stone that has not been unturned, meaning that when I look back, I would have done everything that I wanted to.”

Hopkins (55-7-2, 32 KOs), one of the great middleweight champions of all time, is also a former light heavyweight champion. He hasn’t fought since losing a very wide decision to Sergey Kovalev in a light heavyweight title-unification bout in November 2014. Hopkins was 49 at the time.

That means Hopkins will have been out of the ring for two years and a month when he steps in against Smith (22-1, 18 KOs), a top 10 fighter who is just 27.

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Sergey Kovalev’s goal is to become top pound-for-pound fighter in the world

Sergey Kovalev Is the Rare, Refreshing Boxing Star Who Doesn't Duck a Challenge

Sergey Kovalev lands a right hand to the head of Bernard Hopkins during their November 2014 fight won by Kovalev/Photo by Associated Press


Sergey Kovalev, the vicious light heavyweight champion from Russia, is unquestionably a top pound-for-pound fighter. He’s No. 2 or No. 3, with Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez No. 1 and Gennady Golovkin either No. 2 or No. 3.

Kovalev on Nov. 19 will be defending his belts against Andre Ward at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). Since Ward is a top 5 pound-for-pound fighter, suffice to say that a victory for Kovalev would make his case stronger for being anointed No. 1. He wouldn’t mind that a bit.

“When I was growing up in Russia, I did not hear these words ‘pound- for-pound,’ ” Kovalev said. “Once I learned what this was I knew this was important. I am honored that people think I am the fighter that could get this title. It’s important for me, for my career. I am champion in my division now, but I want to get all the belts and also I would like to be best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.”

Kovalev, 33, is 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts. Ward, 32, is 30-0 with 15 knockouts.

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Bernard Hopkins never considered taking on a weak opponent in final fight

Kovalev dominates Hoplrins

In his most recent fight, Bernard Hopkins (right) was dominated by light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in November 2014/Photo by Associated Press


Bernard Hopkins is 51. He’s a living legend and will be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

Not one person would have blamed Hopkins if he decided to fight a tomato can for his farewell fight. Hopkins doesn’t roll like that, though. Instead, he’s taking on highly ranked light heavyweight Joe Smith Jr. in his final bout Dec. 17 at the Fabulous Forum (on HBO).

Hopkins and the rest of the interested parties played host to a news conference Monday to formally announce the bout. Hopkins was asked about taking on a guy who in his most recent bout stunned everyone by stopping Andrzej Fonfara in the first round this past June in Chicago, instead of an easy mark.

“That’s not me,” Hopkins said. “And you would look at it as, ‘Bernard wants the easy way out.’ I never want anything easy. And just give me an opportunity and I want to figure it out myself. And I think that is more of the credibility that’s in me even at this age, to understand that’s just me.

“I don’t want nobody to think anything different. Win, lose or draw, this is the final one. I will win and I will win impressively. And I’m in it with a guy that’s going to push me, that’s going to make me fight a young man’s fight in this sport.”

Hopkins, of Philadelphia, is 55-7-2 with 32 knockouts. Smith, 27, of Long Island, N.Y., is 22-1 with 18 knockouts. That’s a knockout ratio of 78 percent. He is ranked as high as No. 2 in the world.

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Bernard Hopkins’ final fight will be against Joe Smith Jr. on Dec. 17 at Forum

Kovalev dominates Hoplrins

Sergey Kovalev, left, lands a punch to the head of Bernard Hopkins during their fight in November 2014/Associated Press file photo


Living boxing legend Bernard Hopkins has been saying he wants to fight one more time, even though he’s 51. Hopkins will get his wish when he takes on Joe Smith Jr. in a light heavyweight bout Dec. 17 at the Fabulous Forum in Inglewood (on HBO).

Eric Gomez, president of Golden Boy Promotions, confirmed late Monday morning that a verbal accord had been reached for the bout.

“We just got a deal done,” Gomez said.

Hopkins is a partner in Golden Boy, whose CEO and chairman is Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya, inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2014, began his pro career at the Forum in 1992.

That irony is not lost on Gomez.

“It’s pretty cool that Oscar started his career at the Forum and now Bernard is going to retire at the Forum,” Gomez said.

Hopkins, of Philadelphia, is 55-7-2 with 32 knockouts. He hasn’t fought since losing a wide decision to light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in November 2014. Smith, 27, is from Long Island, N.Y. He is 22-1 18 knockouts.

Hopkins-Smith would have taken place on the same card as the interim super featherweight title fight between Orlando Salido of Mexico and Takashi Miura of Japan. But Salido sustained a back injury this past week and pulled out Monday.

“Now we’re either going to replace Salido with a suitable replacement, or replace the entire fight,” Gomez said. “We don’t know yet.”

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Bernard Hopkins will decipher recent fights of Golovkin, Canelo on Wednesday’s episode of ‘The Fight Game with Jim Lampley’

Gennady Golovkin lands a punch to the chest of Kell Brook during their Sept. 10 fight in England/Associated Press photo by Nick Potts


Future Hall of Fame fighter Bernard Hopkins on Wednesday night will decipher the recent performances of middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and now-junior middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez on the next “The Fight Game with Jim Lampley,” on HBO.

Golovkin (36-0, 33 KOs) on Sept. 10 stopped Kell Brook in the fifth round of their title fight in England. A week later, Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) knocked out Liam Smith in the ninth round in Arlington, Texas. Boxing fans remain hopeful Golovkin and Alvarez will tangle next September.

There will also be a feature on manager Egis Klimas, who manages light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko.




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Sergio Mora figures fight with Daniel Jacobs his last shot at second title

Sergio Mora sits on his stool after suffering an ankle injury in the second round of his August 2015 fight against middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs/Associated Press photo by Gregory Payan


Sergio Mora of Los Angeles has had a very nice career, considering he’s never had much of a punch. Mora is 28-4-2 with only nine knockouts. But he did win a major world title when he took a stunning victory over Vernon Forrest in June 2008, losing the junior middleweight belt three months later in a rematch.

Mora didn’t get another title shot until he took on Daniel Jacobs for a middleweight belt in August 2015, Jacobs winning a second-round TKO when Mora suffered an ankle injury.
Mora will take on Jacobs (31-1, 28 KOs) in a rematch next Friday from Santander Arena in Reading, Pa. (on Spike). It figures to be Mora’s final chance at a second title.

“I’m not Bernard Hopkins,” Mora said. “There’s only special people that could fight in their mid-30s and so on and still be fighting the best. So even though … my body hasn’t taken a beating, I’ve been in the game a long time. And the wear and tear from sparring and from running and from the dieting and from all the other stuff, all that takes effect.”

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Golden Boy to stage card in Philadelphia to celebrate Bernard Hopkins’ 50th

Bernard Hopkins/Photo courtesy of Golden Boy Promotions


Bernard Hopkins will turn 50 on Jan. 15 and five days later – on Jan. 20 – Golden Boy Promotions will help him celebrate by staging a card in his honor in his native Philadelphia.

The main event will feature Eric “The Outlaw” Hunter (19-3, 10 KOs) of Philadelphia going against Rene Alvarado (21-3, 14 KOs) of Nicaragua in the junior lightweight main event at 2300 Arena.

The card will be televised by Fox Sports 1.

“I’m so excited that Golden Boy has decided to honor my birthday in this way,” said Hopkins, a partner in Golden Boy. “The best present that they can give me is to bring a great night of fights to my hometown and give Philly boxing fans something to celebrate.”

Hopkins, an all-time great at middleweight and also a former light heavyweight champion, most recently fought a title-unification bout with Russia’s Sergey Kovalev, who won a wide decision over Hopkins in November at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

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Bernard Hopkins, Sergey Kovalev on weight for Saturday’s showdown


Bernard Hopkins, left, and Sergey Kovalev engage each other in the traditional staredown after making weight Friday in Atlantic City/Photo courtesy of Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions


Bernard Hopkins and Sergey Kovalev on Friday both made weight for their light heavyweight title-unification bout Saturday at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City (on HBO).

Hopkins weighed in at 173 1/2 pounds, Kovalev at 174 1/2. The limit is 175.

Hopkins, 49, is 55-6-2 with 32 knockouts. Kovalev, 31, is 25-0-1 with 23 knockouts.

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