Hopkins Sabotages His Own Poignant Moment
By: Sean Crose
Joe Smith looked amazing Saturday night. It’s doubtful he could have bested Bernard Hopkins in the great fighter’s prime, but credit must go where credit is due. As for Hopkins, he might have wanted a more illustrious end to his career, but, as has been stated, he always knew the dangers of the task he had set out for himself. What’s more, Hopkins was well aware of the fact that boxing, the sport he had made such a mark on, had proven to be greatly beneficial to him and to his family throughout this life.
If only Hopkins had taken that tone in his post fight interview Saturday evening with HBOs Max Kellerman.
Instead, Hopkins made himself look ridiculous and spoiled his own poignant moment. Everyone ages, even great fighters, and Hopkins had himself a longer run than any great in history. Getting knocked out of the ring by Smith was clearly a less than stellar end to an otherwise terrific career, true, but so what? Had the man been a bit more sportsmanlike, he still could have walked out in the publics’ good graces. As Roy Jones, another great, essentially stated for HBO (who Jones works for as a broadcaster) afterwards, however, Hopkins is going to be Hopkins.
There was a lot of truth to be found in Jones’ words, actually. For Hopkins has always been a left of center guy. To be sure, the man has been one of my personal favorite fighters for years, but I remember listening to him ramble during a conference call once while noting how nuts it all seemed. Again, the guy had a terrific career and is worthy of a lot of respect. He’s always been on the egomaniacal side, however, and that side reared its ugly head at a moment when the man should have been his most gracious.
As for Smith, well, he’s a lot of fun to watch. Normally I wouldn’t think much of a man in his twenties beating the hell out of a fifty something, but this was a case that proved the old adage there’s an exception to every rule. Just how good is Smith? Well, I don’t think he’s ready for light heavyweight kingpins like Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev, and Adonis Stevenson. I do, however, think he’s better than some are making him out to be.
While it’s hard to take away from the fact that he beat a guy in his fifties on Saturday, it’s also worth noting that Smith recently dusted Andrzej Fonfara in terrific fashion not so long ago. In truth, the construction worker from Long Island is an action fighter and has the potential to build himself a healthy fan base. Add that to the power the man clearly possesses and its clear Smith is someone to look out for.
Still, there’s no denying that Hopkins looked old on Saturday. Really old. Okay, scratch that – the guy looked his age. Sadly, it just wasn’t the kind of age a fighter should generally enter the ring with. This was obviously not the guy who beat Tito Trinidad all those years ago. Indeed, it wasn’t even the guy who lost to Sergey Kovalev by decision a while back. This was a man whose glory days in the ring had come and gone. If only Hopkins had the awareness and/or good taste to acknowledge as much.