Bernard Hopkins
Bernard Hopkins is poised to end his 28-year careerGetty Images

Bernard Hopkins is poised to end his 28-year boxing career in December when he faces Joe Smith Jr. The fight at the Los Angeles Forum on 17 December will come just a month before the former middleweight and light heavyweight champion turns 52.

Remarkably, Hopkins' final opponent was born 11 months after the Philadelphia-born star made his professional debut against Clinton Mitchell in 1988.

The 51-year-old's career is made all the more spectacular by the fact he was sentenced to 18 years in prison for committing nine felonies when he was 17. Hopkins discovered his passion for the sport while he served nearly five years in prison and he subsequently dedicated his life to boxing.

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

Hopkins – who won his first world title in 1994 – has not fought since November 2014, when he suffered a points defeat to Russian Sergey Kovalev. That result saw Hopkins lose his WBA (Super) and IBF light heavyweight titles.

Meanwhile, Oscar De La Hoya, Hopkins' promoter and business partner at Golden Boy Promotions, said he expects the Smith fight to double as a "retirement party".

"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," the fighter-turned-promoter explained, according to The Sun.

"Joe Smith is a big knockout puncher, and he is coming off a great win over [Andrzej] Fonfara, who had knocked out [Julio Cesar] Chavez Jr."

Going into his final bout as a professional, Hopkins boasts a proud record of 55 wins from 66 fights, with 32 knockouts. In recent years, however, he has focused his attention on promoting and commentary work.