Legendary boxer Bernard Hopkins called time on his illustrious career spanning 28-years but it was not in a way he would have wanted to bid goodbye.
A farewell of one of the greatest boxers the sport has ever produced, Hopkins entered the ring against Joe Smith Jr. at The Forum in Inglewood, California amidst a majestic reception.
The fight lasted for eight rounds as during the final round Smith managed to knockout Hopkins - forcing him out of the ring.
He failed to recover and return to the ring to continue, with the referee declaring Smith as the winner of the bout after completing the customary 20-count.
Punched through the ropes, Hopkins landed head first on the arena floor with team members, commission and security apart from the medical contingent surrounding him before the conclusion of the fight.
He complained of an ankle injury which was the prime reason for such dramatic end.
Daily Mirror quoted the 51-year-old saying: “I was throwing the right hand and a combination and then using the rope as I'm known for, and making a mess.
“He got frustrated, and I might have gotten glazed with a left hook, and next thing I know he was throwing me out of the ring.”
He admitted that although his mind wanted him to go back to the ring, but body did not permit.
“I injured myself and hit my head first and hurt my ankle. I knew of the 20 seconds, but couldn't stand up on my feet because my ankle was injured. I said I could walk but I couldn't box," he said.
“I had a choice to make, but I guess the referee made it for me. I know if I hadn't made a mess and gotten knocked out of the ring, I would've come back like I'm known for and would've had my chin.”
Hopkins had a phenomenal career in the sport with a record of 55 wins, including 32 knockouts, eight losses and two draws, yet, this was the first time he suffered a stoppage time defeat.
It was the veteran who picked Smith to be his final opponent and despite the loss, the American hailed the genius of the retiring icon.
“I knew he was a true champion, and if he didn’t get injured he’d be back here,” he said.
However, this was Hopkins’ first bout since November 2014 where he lost two light heavyweight world titles to Russian international Sergey Kovalev.
An undisputed middleweight champion, a three-time light heavyweight title holder and twice recognised as the oldest boxer to win a world title – at 46 and 48 respectively.
An impressive division-record of 20 title defences during his time as a middleweight remains one of the greatest accolades of an imperious career.