Larry “The Greatest” Holmes

By Adam Berlin on October 6, 2014
Larry “The Greatest” Holmes
Holmes the fighter beats Ali the fighter and Tyson the fighter. Larry Holmes is the man.

Boxing has a proud lineage that deserves respect and admiration. But history often elevates prowess. And history often blurs clear sight…

There’s boxing and then there’s heavyweight boxing. 

Heavyweights fight differently, often relying on brute power to cover a multitude of sweet-science sins. Heavyweights draw crowds, filling seats with laymen and boxing aficionados alike. Heavyweights reign as kings of the world, physical manifestations of Darwin’s rule. Heavyweights intrigue and inspire.

When two big men do battle, something different happens in the arena. The possibility of split-second brutality keeps us focused in a way lighter-division fights can’t. We watch and we wait with expectation to the very last second, hoping, and if you’re honest you know this is your hope, to see one man loosed from his senses. Few moments in life or sport provide such an emblem of complete dominance. When a heavyweight falls, spectacularly backward or, more fascinating because more dangerous, brutally forward, the crowd receives what the crowd paid for: a catharsis that comes from witnessing violence, which feeds our hearts of darkness, which reminds us who we really are. The one-punch knockout, the equalizer, is boxing’s greatest allure. That’s why heavyweights are so alluring.

Of course, there’s one more element to the heavyweight equation. If a big man can take another big man’s punch, if a big man has the will to stay disciplined and control his fear and beat another big man using mind and skill, a different catharsis happens. In this scenario, a scenario most highly dramatized in a heavyweight fight because the threat of danger is so magnified, we see the civilized part of man dominating the animal part of man. That’s alluring too.

Because more people know or think they know heavyweight boxing, finding a consensus about who the greatest heavyweight of all time really is can be a maddening exercise. Non-combatants are ready to lace on their proverbial gloves to pound their picks into us. Like all measurements, the yardsticks for boxing are often subjective, perhaps more subjective than for any other sport where statistics often rule. How does one measure the will to win? How does one rate a spectacular come-from-behind victory against a display of persistent dominance? Matt McGrain’s recent series about the heavyweight division’s top 100 fighters (I’m looking forward to the final installment) provides an in-depth, well-crafted analysis of the division’s most visible and glamorous weight class, putting each fighter in historical context and highlighting the tangibles as well as that intangible residue, which is such an important part of greatness. He makes his case, heavyweight by heavyweight, beautifully.

I am not a boxing historian. I admit it. But I do think I know boxing, at least the boxing I know. Too often old-timers and historians dismiss newer-timers as illegitimate judges of fistic prowess because we haven’t studied the past, as if knowing boxing’s past were the only litmus test of boxing knowledge. Of course, history is important. Of course, boxing has a proud lineage that deserves respect and admiration. But history often elevates prowess. And history often blurs clear sight. Were the good old days really that good? Nope.

The fighters I know are the fighters I’ve watched in my lifetime. I love George Bellows’ painting, but I never saw Firpo knock Dempsey through the ropes. I’m sometimes interested in boxing’s grainy films of yesteryear, but I wasn’t around when Louis demolished Schmeling. My first boxing memory, sitting next to my Dad in front of our black-and-white TV, was watching Ali beat Oscar Bonavena. I was not as fascinated by the fight itself as by Bonavena’s swollen face, a bull beaten into submission who kept repeating Ali’s name, over and over, like a sentimental drunk. “Ali best. I fight Frazier. I fight Ali. Ali beat Frazier. Ali best.” His prediction didn’t come true, at least in the Fight of the Century, but the memory stuck and my fascination with boxing began.

So what do I know? I know Larry Holmes was the reigning heavyweight during my young life. I watched him many, many times. And I also watched many, many fights in many, many divisions. These were my formative years and they were my formative boxing years. I formed my boxing knowledge. I formed my boxing tastes. I formed my boxing opinions.

The greatest heavyweights of my time have been Muhammad Ali (really a little before my time), Larry Holmes, and Mike Tyson. These are the heavyweights I know. And if I pitted these men against each other in their primes (and in an individual sport like boxing, where one man faces another man with nothing but gloves, this seems like the most honest gauge), Larry Holmes comes out on top. 

When Holmes beat Ali, Holmes was coming up and Ali was going down, so that’s clearly an unfair yardstick. But Holmes, a former sparring partner of Ali, would have walked out of the ring with the same verdict had the two met when they were both young and healthy and fight-ready. Holmes was the same size as Ali. Holmes had the better jab. Holmes’ right hand, a stinging punch that doesn’t get enough credit, had as much power as Ali’s. And Holmes was never intimidated. Ali got into the heads of his opponents, talked so incessantly, preached his greatness so confidently, that fighters committed the biggest sin a fighter can commit against himself: they doubted. Had Ali pulled the stunts he pulled against, say, Joe Frazier, who seethed for a lifetime, Holmes would have laughed—not a false laugh (the way a fighter smiles falsely when hurt), but a genuine, dismissive laugh. Inside the ring, Holmes, as he always was, would have been all blue-collar, steel-worker business. After fifteen rounds or twelve rounds, no matter, Holmes would have landed more punches, more crisp punches, and defeated Ali by points.

Against Tyson, Holmes lost. But again, one fighter was peaking while the other was plummeting. (Ali was 38 when he lost to Holmes just as Holmes was 38 when he lost to Tyson). Before Tyson fought James “Buster” Douglas, he got into the heads of his opponents, not by what he said (like Ali), but by what he did. Iron Mike’s highlight reel of cartoon-style knockouts was indeed intimidating. But Tyson had trouble with tall heavyweights who could box. Tony Tucker took him twelve. Douglas, five inches taller at 6’3”, beat Tyson with a measured, powerful jab, tenderizing Mike’s will until the 42-to-1 favorite was rendered helpless, stumbling around the canvas looking for his mouthpiece. And post-Douglas, the taller Lennox Lewis used his length to melt Mike’s iron with ease. Holmes would have jabbed Tyson, even a pre-Douglas Tyson whose will and prowess had not yet been broken, into a state of fury and frustration. He would have been able to take Tyson’s shots—just as he took Earnie Shavers’ bombs for a total of 23 rounds. (Shavers was 28 when he first fought Holmes, 29 during the rematch, and while he may have been a little shot, he, like most fighters, had retained his power). A prime Holmes jabs, jabs, jabs, follows with clean rights as the rounds progress, and knocks out a prime Tyson around Round 10, just like Buster Douglas did.

So the way I see it, Holmes beats a heavyweight in Ali, who ruled the ‘60s and some of the ‘70s (and who considered himself and many consider the greatest). And in Tyson, Holmes knocks out a heavyweight who ruled the ‘80s. Holmes, who ruled his own era, went 32-0 in the ‘70s and 16-0 in the’ 80s until his title was controversially, very controversially, taken. The way I see it, had these three fighters been in their primes and had they stayed in their primes during the three decades where each of them ruled, Larry Holmes would have dominated for thirty years.

Did Holmes have great competition? Like every heavyweight, including today’s heavyweight champion, he had to wade through his own bum-of-the-month slush pile. But Holmes fought some tough, tough men and some elite fighters. He beat Shavers twice. He beat Ken Norton, the man who gave the self-proclaimed “Greatest” so much trouble. He beat a list of serious heavyweights (serious because they could punch or serious because they could box or serious because they had held at least one part of the title) in Mike Weaver and Trevor Berbick and Renaldo Snipes and Tim Witherspoon and James “Bonecrusher” Smith and Carl Williams and Oliver McCall (who knocked out Lennox Lewis, who many consider a top-ten heavyweight great) and Ray Mercer (who gave Lewis all he could handle). Holmes stepped up in a fight seeping with racial tension and schooled Gerry Cooney, a fight I didn’t witness first-hand, but heard about second-hand, standing with a crowd of fans outside Madison Square Garden, which was showing the closed-circuit telecast. During his whole career, Larry Holmes ducked nobody, fought everybody, won 69 fights (44 within the distance), lost only 6 (all after age 35), and was stopped only once.

Holmes had masterful skills. Holmes had tremendous heart; he got up from the canvas a number of times. Holmes had a Mensa-level ring IQ. He would have beaten the other two greatest heavies of my time. As for boxing’s historically great heavyweights, well, as I said, I am not a historian, but I have seen some old fights. I believe Jack Dempsey, a fierce brawler, would have been kept at arm’s length if he ever fought Holmes. I believe Joe Louis would have struggled with Holmes, who understood angles and distance. If Billy Conn could outbox Louis, think what Holmes would have done—unlike Conn, Holmes would never have “lost his head” and engaged in a brawl because Holmes had the kind of poise born from total, true self-confidence to fight within himself at all times. Against Rocky Marciano, I believe Holmes, who knew how to fight moving backward, would have done just that all night long against the forward-moving brawler. And while it’s almost doctrine in boxing that styles make fights, I’d argue that if you halfway-accept my premise that Holmes beats Ali, that Holmes’ jab, which was Ali’s great weapon, was the superior jab, then in a man-who-beat-the-man-who-beat-the-man kind of logic (the logic we use to determine the linear heavyweight champ), I’d say the following: Because Ali beat Liston, Frazier and Foreman, Holmes does the same. So on any given round-robin night, Holmes has more than a good chance against all of the viable top-ten contenders for greatest heavyweight of all time. 

The Holmes era followed the Ali era. That was The Easton Assassin’s historical curse. Ali was so much in the sun that Holmes’ career seems cast in shadow—he was the king of a heavyweight landscape lacking in charisma. The other curse that taints Holmes’ legacy is his post-fight behavior, justifiable yet angry rants after his two losses to Michael Spinks. In the same way it’s better not to hear movie stars speak, their pedestrian, self-important bullshit often diminishing their moving work on screen, in the same way it’s best to separate the art from the artist, we should judge boxers by their fighting careers only. After his first loss, where he failed to tie Marciano’s undefeated heavyweight record, Holmes said, “Rocky Marciano couldn’t carry my jockstrap.” After his second loss, a split decision that, on my card, was a travesty, Holmes was blunter, “The judges, the referees, the promoters can kiss me where the sun don’t shine—and because we’re on HBO, that’s my big black behind.” Would it have been better if Holmes never said these things? Of course, though I admired his candor and still do. Holmes was never a braggart and said what he felt, not what he was supposed to say. But Holmes was right about one thing. The sun didn’t shine on him—because he was not as charismatic as Ali, because he didn’t knock people cold like Mike Tyson. Still, in my book, Holmes the fighter beats Ali the fighter and Tyson the fighter. In my book Holmes is the man.

The greatest heavyweights have often concussed their opponents. But the greatest heavyweights were professionals first, who possessed sound minds in their sound bodies, who developed, through years of hard work and training, finely-tuned skills that allowed them to punch places that either spelled Lights Out or tallied points victories. Teddy Atlas often speaks of a fighter needing a delivery system to land that big punch, a missile to carry that payload. Holmes, with his beautiful, jarring jab, with his complete command of the ring, with his focus (recall his clear, sane eyes, never wavering), with his iron will, with his blue-collar work ethic, was the ultimate missile. He wasn’t called the Easton Assassin for nothing. His killings were professional cold, not passion hot. From cooler distances, which is the kind of perspective history ideally grants, it’s really not far-fetched to say Larry Holmes was the greatest.

There’s boxing and there’s heavyweight boxing. 

There are boxing opinions and there are heavyweight-boxing opinions. 

I expect to get hammered here, or dismissed, and that’s fine. Talking about boxing and boxers, engaging in spirited debate, is one of the joys of being a boxing fan and a boxing writer. So bring it on. With Holmes’ superlative jab to protect me, well, I don’t think anyone will land a knockout blow. 

Adam Berlin is the author of the recently published boxing novel Both Members of the Club (Texas Review Press/winner of the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize). His other novels are The Number of Missing (Spuyten Duyvil), Belmondo Style (St. Martin’s Press/winner of The Publishing Triangle’s Ferro-Grumley Award) and Headlock (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill). His stories and poetry have appeared in numerous journals. He teaches writing at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and co-edits J Journal: New Writing on Justice. For more, please visit adamberlin.com.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Earnie Shavers Battle Royale with Larry Holmes



Larry Holmes vs Ken Norton (High Quality)



Larry Holmes Knocked Down Mike WEAVER KO knocked OUT sweetfights.com



Muhammad Ali - Larry Holmes. 1980 10 02



Larry Holmes- Trevor Berbick. 1981-04-11



Larry Holmes vs Gerry Cooney (High Quality)



Larry Holmes vs Tim Witherspoon



Larry Holmes vs Michael Spinks I



Larry Holmes vs Michael Spinks II



Mike Tyson VS Larry Holmes 1988-01-22



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  1. Lucius 07:33pm, 08/08/2016

    The opinion of the outcome isn’t what’s interesting. It’s the analysis of their strengths and weaknesses. There’s good footage as well. And yes, I like Archie Moore.

  2. bikermike 06:56pm, 08/08/2016

    Look…..if the fight never took place…..it’s much akin to two kids in the sandlot saying my dad can beat your dad…ffs

    No matter who says what…these time machine fights never took place..


    Tyson and Douglas did take place….Ali and Spinks did take place…Marciano and Walcott did take place…..Clay vs Liston did take place..

  3. bikermike 06:51pm, 08/08/2016

    This article has triggered a huge response from fight fans….most of them from guys that know as much or more than me….

    You guys are what is left of the fight fan base ....after we got more pipe up the ass than the Alaskan Pipeline…..with pacman and pbf…

  4. Lucius 06:40pm, 08/08/2016

    No. They interview a bunch of fighters, analysts and trainers and they make a case for both sides if they had fought in their prime. It’s called Fight of the Century. Bad title, Joe Frazier won that. It’s got Leonard, Holmes, Bert Sugar, Angelo Dundee, Teddy Atlas, Kevin Rooney, lots of others.

  5. bikermike 06:40pm, 08/08/2016

    ....and Cooney

  6. bikermike 06:39pm, 08/08/2016

    Lucius…..then yu gotta love Archie Moore…..

    Anyway…let’s agree to disagree re Lewis…

    Holmes….Ali…Holyfield…Frazier…Norton…Tyson..would all be ahead of Lewis…and I’d not rate Lewis over Chuvalo…..nor Liston…nor Foreman…I’d put Lewis with guys like Terelle…Mathis…Shavers…

  7. bikermike 06:31pm, 08/08/2016

    lucius…...It can’t be a documentary about Ali vs Tyson…as it never happened….

    You mean time machine bouts that never took place…Jack Johnson vs Klitschko brothers…...Dempsey vs Marciano….etc..

  8. Lucius 06:22pm, 08/08/2016

    I wasn’t implying that Lewis went undefeated. He beat everyone that he ever faced at one point. He lost twice as a pro to McCall and Rahman but later beat them in rematches. He lost to Tyrell Biggs at the 84 Olympics but later beat him as a pro and he had lost to Razor Ruddock as an amateur but later beat him as a pro.
    There’s an interesting documentary on YouTube: Ali vs Tyson. (Nothing to do with Lennox.) Even if I don’t think they were really in the same class it’s well done and interesting if you’re a fan of either.
    The older I get the more I like Holmes and Foreman. Even if it’s their job and they got all the best people to help it’s amazing they could fight top guys at their age. BHop has become the man I admire the most. Thanks to you guys I like Liston more than I ever did knowing he was that old when he fought Ali.

  9. bikermike 06:21pm, 08/08/2016

    sidney roughdiamond…..

    The fifteenth round between Holmes and Norton…....MUST SEE for any fight fan….

    Great post

  10. bikermike 06:17pm, 08/08/2016

    Sidney Roughdiamond…..


    Your take on the Olympic match between Bowe and Lewis was a rare breath of fresh air….to truth about some Olympic decisions….

    I have no doubt…that there could have been some reasonable arrangement ..with money enough for all…..to make a Professional Heavyweight Championship match between Bowe and Lewis…..if both were willing.

    I’m not so sure either was willing…..

  11. bikermike 06:11pm, 08/08/2016

    where would I rate Holmes….??

    Holmes was a dedicated fighter…..competed at the top level for years…held the Title for seven years…lost his two fights ..by decision ..to Michael Spinks…(who else did Michael Spinks want to fight…for those kinda bucks….Tyson??)

    Holmes lost to Spinks the same way Norton lost to Holmes…tough battles..close fights…..good fights…both of them .  Not everyone agrees with the decision(s)...but they were close , hard fought matches . No running…no cutie shit…..good fights

  12. Bert 06:05pm, 08/08/2016

    When I watch what is supposed to be a junior welterweight fight
    should I be witnessing a middleweight bout?  I watched the Terance Crawford fight
    And Terance weighed in at 157 pounds. He should have been fighting Marvin Hagler. Right?

    What are we witnessing?  Is it a junior welterweight or middleweight fight?

  13. bikermike 05:58pm, 08/08/2016

    I’d say the Larry Holmes was a fine Heavyweight Champion…managed to keep what money Don King let him take from his purse winnings(after kingmathmatics) and invest it shrewdly…
    He fought his bouts as they came…ratings ...money…availability all being factors.
    Some never got to fight Holmes….and many did.

    Larry Holmes and his fans can hold their heads high….on the Championship career of ‘Big Cat’

  14. bikermike 05:37pm, 08/08/2016

    ...and ...about those weigh ins..

    Same day weigh ins….make it midnight plus a second….fight is evening of same day….
    OR….you have lightweights fighting a one hundred fifty pounds…welters at one sixty….lit hvy at two hundred…..etc…

    but present system just promotes false claims to weight division fights

    If you can’t make 125..135…147..160 ..175///then you can’t fight at that weight…

    If you make the weight…but can not perform…then go up a weight division…

  15. bikermike 05:28pm, 08/08/2016

    Bert….

    your ‘skinny’ on summing up Mike Tyson ...was bang on…and very nicely written.

  16. bikermike 05:15pm, 08/08/2016

    twelve round Title Fights ...from fifteen round Title Fights altered the size, stamina and strategy of Title Fights…..and the fighters…

  17. bikermike 04:36pm, 08/08/2016

    Lucius….Lewis did not beat every man in front of him….he may have won rematches…but he got knocked out colder than a catch of fish from ice fishing in Saskatchewan in February….TWICE !!

  18. Bert 01:13pm, 08/05/2016

    The sport changed forever when they shortened the championship fights from 15 rounds to12 rounds. Official weigh ins 24 to 36 hours before the first bell resulted in welterweights fighting close to 160 pounds and lightweights fighting at 150 pounds. These two factors result in freak of nature heavyweights and less well conditioned fighters.

  19. Lucius 11:04am, 08/05/2016

    Best 15th round I can remember. Don’t think many hw today could last 15.

  20. Sidney Ruffdiamond 10:59am, 08/05/2016

    Holmes vs Norton final round of their 15 round fight was incredible. I cannot imagine Lennox Lewis going 15 rounds even if no one was throwing punches at him.

  21. Lucius 10:36am, 08/05/2016

    No argument. I agree completely.
    Emmanuel is a superb trainer and did well for Lewis.
    15 round fighters were superior athletes.

  22. Bert 10:25am, 08/05/2016

    Lewis was fortunate to have Emmanuel Stewart in his corner. Emmanuel had to start from scratch with him. Lewis was clumsy and was just too damn big. These big heavies run out of gas easy and never would have been in contention had we still had the 15 round limit. Foreman and Holmes were the last of the great fifteen round fighters. All these so called greats were really not that great compared to the 15 round heavyweights.

  23. Lucius 10:22am, 08/05/2016

    http://www.boxinginsider.com/headlines/memory-lane-when-bowe-ducked-lewis/

  24. Lucius 10:11am, 08/05/2016

    He beat everyone you mentioned. Rooney also believes Tyson would’ve ko Ali in his prime.
    When Lewis left us Canadians, we did not follow him like our other fighters. Ruddock became our man. Bruno remained the Brit’s favourite.

  25. Sidney Ruffdiamond 09:56am, 08/05/2016

    You are overrating Lewis tremendously. Rooney tells a very different tale to what Lewis tells, about sparring with Tyson when Mike was 15yrs old. Rooney claims Tyson just steamrolled Lewis. Your assessment that Lewis KOd Bowe at the olympics is laughable, i suggest you go watch it on YouTube. Bowe was warned at least 15 times by the referee in the opening round. The referee even warned Bowe for punching Lewis. The fight was “Political” and Bowe was the scapegoat.. Lewis knew he was fortunate to win at the Olympics, so avoided Bowe in the pro ranks. All this man without a country talk is bull. Lewis lives in Canada and has done for 40yrs. Lewis makes the claim of “Man with no country” due to him turning pro in the UK instead of the USA or Canada. the Uk was the easier option, with Frank Bruno coming towards the end of his career, Lewis seen there was easy pickings. Whereas in the USA there was Bowe, Tyson, Holyfield, Mercer and a long list of decent fighters. Lewis lost to two medoicre US Journeymen. Lewis was nothing special

  26. Your Name 09:38am, 08/05/2016

    Tyson was a drug addict long before then. If you haven’t read his book Undisputed Truth you should. It’s magnificent. I really like the guy.
    I don’t believe Lewis was scared of anyone, especially Bowe or Tyson. He always had a hard time getting the terms he wanted because he was without a country and ppl weren’t going to pay to watch him. Tyson acted like a fool to get crowds and to get larger purses. He’s not as crazy as what he makes himself out to be. Lewis is too classy to act that way.
    He disposed of Bruno quite easily. He beat Tyson in sparring when they were young and Cus told him it’d be him and Mike fighting to be champ later on. Without Cus and Rooney, Mike wasn’t special. Just a puncher.
    He ko Bowe at the Olympics. No reason to be scared.
    I don’t know anything about the story with Ruiz or Vitali. His fight with Vitali was probably the most entertaining fight he ever had. Too bad Vitali had to quit because of a nasty cut.

  27. Your Name 08:50am, 08/05/2016

    Lucius… when you say “Chicken Bowe” i take it you are refering to Riddick Bowe?... Well Lewis actually priced himself out of fighting Bowe in 1993 by demanding a 50/50 purse-split and options on Bowe’s next 3 fights should Lewis lose. But it is funny to read Lewis fans call Bowe a chicken for ditching a belt he was going to be stripped of, yet they never mention, how Lewis was stripped of every title belt for refusing to fight, the No1 contenders. stripped of WBA for refusing to fight John Ruiz, stripped of IBF for refusing to fight Chris Byrd and with only 2 days to go before he was to be stripped, of his last championship belt. Lewis announced his retirement rather than fight Vitali Klitschko, for the WBC belt. With Lewis having promised the entire boxing world, he would face Vitali in a rematch, but baulked. Lewis was No1 contender for Tyson’s WBC belt in 1996 with a purse of over $14M and a guaranteed title shot, only for Lewis to accept a meagre $3M step-a-side-money so Tyson could unify the titles against Bruce Seldon. Lewis could and should have said, “NO THANKS” and fought Tyson in 96, but Lewis never fancied his chances against that version of Tyson. So he waited 7yrs until Tyson was a shell of his former self, he waited until it was public news, that Tyson was addicted to Anti-Depressants, Alcohol, Cannabis & Cocaine. before making his move to fight him. Their fight was farcical, with 20 police officers cordoning off the ring, so that Tyson could not eyeball Lewis and give him diarrhea. Lennox Lewis was nothing but an opportunist, who had nothing other than a big right hand. His jab was nothing but a paw, a distraction. Lewis had the footwork of a camel, and looked like he had two-left feet. He was also poleaxed twice by two mediocre journeymen fighters. Lewis was no better than Frank Bruno.

  28. Lucius 08:20am, 08/05/2016

    Lennox Lewis: beat every man he ever faced, amateur and pro. Chicken Bowe avoided him and gave up his WBC title, then Tyson avoided him and gave up his WBC title. They both faced him when they were younger and knew they’d be in trouble. Lewis’ biggest problem was having no country to support him. He left Canada to fight for Britain but the Brits never accepted him as one their own. His two losses are due to carelessness vs weaker opponents. Furthermore, he never provided the press with anything interesting. He just did his job. Foreman rates him as the GOAT. I see him as a top 5 easy.
    It’s too bad there’s a divide between the European fighters and the American fighters. I liked Eubank, Benn, Naseem Hamed, Calzaghe… it would have been nice to see them fight more American fighters.
    Hagler vs Leonard was a close fight in my opinion. Leonard was the crowd favorite and the more likeable man outside the ring. Hagler needed a ko to win.
    Hearns was robbed in his second fight with Leonard.

  29. barry 07:29am, 08/05/2016

    Well Bert & Mike, the way i seen Leonard vs Hagler was, a very easy nights work for Ray Leonard 8-4rds. IMO Hagler was vastly overrated, if we take away his lucky victory over Hearns (Tommy broke his famous right hand in opening round) Marvin then has a one point decision win over the former lightweight champion of the world as his greatest career victory. Haglers other title defences were not against Class A calibre opponents. his fights with William Lee, Fully Obel (twice), Sibson, Hamsho (twice) Minter, Scypian, Mugabi are nothing special. i would strongly fancy Roberto Duran and Ray Leonard to easily beat those kinda fighters. Roberto Duran exposed Marvin Hagler, he showed how he was “Nothing Special” and that he was limited in movement, in-fighting and skills. Ray Leonard in his first fight in 3 years easily defeated Hagler. the fight was so easy for Leonard, that Ray was even bolo-punching Hagler, so as to get the crowd their feet. Ray Leonard never fought an easier fight in his career as the Hagler fight. Leonard v Hearns (1& 2) Duran (1) were vastly tougher, harder fights for Leonard than his fight with Hagler turned out to be. Leonard won by a landslide. I have read rubbish claiming, Hagler was slowing down against Mugabi, yet Mugabi was a mediocre fighter. Terry Norris and Gerald McClellan showed how good Mugabi was not long after his fight with Hagler.. Marvin does not make the top all time Top 15 Middleweights.

  30. Bert 06:54am, 08/05/2016

    The word was that Leonard did not have a chance to win against Hagler. Marvin was supposed to knock him out. It was difficult to bet on the fight as the odds were no much in favor of Hagler.

    That being said, by virtue of Ray not getting KO’d he was given the decision by the judges.

    Marvin came out right handed and gave away the first four rounds. That strategy may have worked had it been a 15 round fight but this was a 12 round fight. Had it been a 15 round fight there would have been no question about the outcome.

    Ray was spent at the conclusion of the fight. Never once did he hurt or back up Hagler. He ran the entire fight. He threw shoeshine punches. He tantalized the judges and being the darling of the press they gave him the fight.

    That’s all there is to it.

  31. bikermike 06:38am, 08/05/2016

    you could offer me to forgive all my sins….one million USA dollars…an all expense paid private jet with Raquel Welch with no panties..(which she would make apparent before we got to 25000 ft above sea level)...a case of Cointreau and an ounce of BC bud happy cabbage…...all of which I would take..and enjoy….but I still would say leonard did NOT BEAT HAGLER


    Just to let you know I have an open mind

  32. bikermike 06:28am, 08/05/2016

    Barry…..I’ll meet you half way….If I’m willing to give Holmes the fight with Norton….I guess I could get tricked into holding my nose and understanding a close decision of Spinks over Holmes….

    But there is not a chance ....ever….to get me to agree leonard beat Hagler….EVER

  33. bikermike 06:22am, 08/05/2016

    don’t comment on who would beat who..time machine bouts….
    nice post though…...and I agree about we’re two among many who scratch our heads…wondering what some folks are smoking…to say lennox lewis is an all time great HW….send me some of what they are smoking…..heard it lessens the pain for arthritis

  34. barry 11:12pm, 08/04/2016

    Some good comments here from Mike, bert, lucius, some of which i agree, some which i don’t. Yet boxing is like that, we cannot all agree on who was the best or worst fighters. For the record, i am the age of bikermike, and have collected fight-film for nearly 40yrs. Larry Holmes was a good fighter, but never fought a fighter of the calibre of Smokin Joe Frazier, Sonny Liston or Muhammad Ali. who would all take care of Holmes. Like it or not, Spinks beat Holmes, just like Leonard beat Hagler. Larry Holmes is without doubt a ATG Top 10 Heavyweight. what i can never get my head around is, fight fans claiming Lennox Lewis to be a Top 10 fighter ???

  35. bikermike 04:12pm, 08/04/2016

    and lastly…. Adam Berlin ..as the author…...should be thanked   Great read…great subject….great writing

  36. bikermike 04:09pm, 08/04/2016

    unlike Clay/Ali..or Frazier…or leonard..amongst many other Olympic team members…...with miles of footage and medals to get sponsors…...to go pro….guys like Holmes and Hagler had to just beat the fuckers ahead of them..

    Holmes is a good man with a good record…in his time…the baddest man on Earth….‘nuff said

  37. bikermike 03:48pm, 08/04/2016

    since the switch to 12 rounds ...rather than 15 rounds for TITLE FIGHTS….


    A LOT HAS CHANGED…Most notably in Hw Division…today’s contenders are not the fifteen round gifted boxers like Holmes’ era….  they more or less resemble biological experiments that cross trees with large water buffalo..to produce massive tall structures…and license them as professional heavy weight professional boxers

  38. bikermike 03:26pm, 08/04/2016

    here’s the skinny…..
    Larry Holmes is definitely in the top five HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONS OF MODERN TIME…

    GEORGE CHUVALO….ALTHOUGH HIS TITLE WAS TAKEN FROM HIM AFTER HE BEAT , THEN hw champion ...ernie terrelle….AND TERRELLE REFUSED TO FIGHT ALI…...FOR SOME REASON???  CHUVALO TOOK THE FIGHT ON SEVENTEEN DAYS NOTICE….AND GAVE ALI ALL HE COULD HANDLE…..SO MUCH SO,,,,,CHUVALO GOT ANOTHER SHOT

    CHUVALO SHOULD BE IN THE TOP TEN…

  39. bikermike 03:11pm, 08/04/2016

    lock your dog..and your wife in the trunk of your car…for cupla hours….then open it…

    which one will be happy to see you ??

    That’s why I continue to be divorced

  40. Lucius 03:10pm, 08/04/2016

    Lol.
    If you can still drink, watch porn and have a good dog you’re okay.

  41. bikermike 03:09pm, 08/04/2016

    wish I would have treated my ex wives as well

  42. bikermike 03:06pm, 08/04/2016

    my dog runs behind….beside ...in front of my car…gets his two ...one mile runs..fires both barrels..each time…and defends my property…so that I can continue to blast off about Boxing…

    Last week…dog chewed up some prick who was overly interested in my car…
    All I got to do is feed him and give him a hug once a week

  43. bikermike 02:59pm, 08/04/2016

    lucius….

    I still train….!!

    I watch porn and jerk off thirty times a day…and then black out…

    I can’t walk…and can no longer haul the old ‘iron lung’..(76 Honda gl1000..with some sparklies added)..on the road…

    my mind is clear..but body is failing….

    The lord is punishing me for all my previous sins…

    but I still have a shot of tequila before I take my dog out for his run at 430 AM

  44. bikermike 02:54pm, 08/04/2016

    Bert…..if you’re only 64 yrs old….and you can still walk…...you’re just a kid

    health and happiness

  45. Lucius 02:49pm, 08/04/2016

    The first fight I remember watching as a kid was a replay of The Fight of the Century. Joe Frazier is the reason I started boxing. I really like Mike Tyson as well. I appreciate all these men.
    I love Chuvalo also especially as a Canadian.
    I’m 42 and still train 6 days a week and occasionally spar with the youngsters in the gym. I love boxing. Even if we got different opinions I enjoy talking about the sport with knowledgeable people like yourselves.

  46. bikermike 02:44pm, 08/04/2016

    that the Quarry machine decided to take on Chuvalo…who was definitely in the ‘back nine’ of his career…but still a name fighter…..showed disrespect for George Chuvalo…...thinking him to be an easy pelt to put on the war lance…

    dumb…dumb ..dumb..

    Chuvalo is one of the most under rated Heavyweight fighters of our time

  47. bikermike 02:37pm, 08/04/2016

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN….

    Yes…Bradley won his first fight against Pacquaio….

    Lots of excuses…pacman was struggling with a possible divorce..he was gambling…not training…running for political office ....

    He was outpointed by a faster , younger ..gifted fighter…much like Jimmy Young over Ali….but instead the fight was called right.

  48. Bert 02:29pm, 08/04/2016

    Chuvalo and Quarry were good fighters who campaigned at a time when there was fierce competition. Lewis was a solid fighter who beat everyone he fought. He was the first of the big breed of heavyweights we see today. I agree that Holmes would have beaten him. So would Ali.

    Frazier would have had huge ptoblems with Liston, Holmes and Lewis. Styles make fights.

  49. bikermike 02:21pm, 08/04/2016

    BERT…
    Sonny Liston was one big mean tough mudrfkr….could have been much more accomplished professional fighter….had it not been for the years he spent in the jailhouse….
    Some say he was owned by the ‘boys with crooked noses’...

    The second fight with , now, Ali….made me wonder about that.


    Sad , the way it ended for Liston

  50. bikermike 02:16pm, 08/04/2016

    I would rate Holmes over Lewis…in the best Heavy Weight Champions…Holmes could take it…but still keep on fighting….Lewis ??? not so much

  51. Bert 02:14pm, 08/04/2016

    Bikermike

    If I could have had any heavyweight to train and manage today it would be Sonny Liston. A trusted source informed me he as born in 1923. He lost a fight early in his career and quickly avenged it. His other loss was late in his career to Leotis Martin. His final fight was with Chuck Wepner in1970. Chuck said it was the worst beating he ever took. The Clay/Ali fights are two fights I will never figure out. The first was legit, the second was tainted.

    Larry would have had his hands full with a young conditioned Sonny Liston. He was a beast.

  52. bikermike 02:03pm, 08/04/2016

    I would rate Holmes in the top ten of modern times….and Chuvalo in the top ten as well…below Holmes ..Ali…
    He won his bout against Ernie Terrelle…but got robbed ....Chuvalo was a world class heavyweight…

    Quarry and his team thought George Chuvalo was done…and foolishly took him on…...dumb dumb dumb…..Chuvalo was never a creampuff…,see this fight…Chuvalo…..in the ‘back nine ’ of his career ...showed Quarry what pro boxing is all about.  Look it up…Chuvalo beat Quarry

  53. bikermike 01:46pm, 08/04/2016

    Bert….

    I too, listened to Liston over Patterson….saw the second match up on TV…

    Liston was the image of the HVY Weight Champion…big and strong and no mercy…  Few people knew he was forty yrs old when that first Clay bout took place..

    Still some whispers about Liston’s passing….
    in boxing…only the ring was square…then and now

  54. bikermike 01:36pm, 08/04/2016

    in my shallow and limited amateur boxing career…..seventeen losses and three wins…
    I was a novice…no boxing experience and 27 yrs old and a hvywt….almost all my opponents had lots of experience and youth on their side..

    But what made me proud of my boxing was that ...when I got knocked down….I got up…and always ...always made the opponent nervous after the second round…because I kept coming..

    got to be good friends with most of my opponents….even visited them when they were in prison…

    got some of them jobs after…..some of them….not a chance

  55. bikermike 01:30pm, 08/04/2016

    HOLMES OVER NORTON….HOLMES OVER WEAVER….CHECK ‘EM OUT….LARRY HOLMES FACED THE BLOWS…AND WON SOME VERY VERY TOUGH FIGHTS

    LARRY HOLMES WAS A GREAT CHAMPION…AND EARNED IT,,,,,

    HE SHOULD BE GIVEN HIS DUE!!

  56. Bert 01:00pm, 08/04/2016

    Bikermike:

    Its Bert. I am 64 years old. The boxing bug bit me when I listened to the first Liston Paterson fight on the radio and was heartbroken to hear that Liston crushed my hero Floyd in just one round. I learned the bitter lesson right then that the good guy does not always win.

    Yes, I agree the fix was in with the two Holmes Spinks fights and I also agree that Hagler got robbed in the Leonard fight.

    I had the pleasure of meeting Larry Holmes at his restaurant in East Pa three months before the Cooney fight. He did not know me but treated me very well. He was a very nice fellow.

  57. bikermike 12:59pm, 08/04/2016

    Joe Frazier was one tuf son of a bitch…at two hundred pounds….and when he won the Heavy Weight Champion of the World…he sort of stopped being hungry ...he had climbed the mountains…

    He took the fight with Ali…..for the money of course….but more so because he was being belittled by Ali..and the press…...This was a dark spot for Ali….as Frazier had helped Ali in his troubled times…
    Ali was magic with media….Joe was a fighter..a modest man….and not a sophisticated man in matters of interviews nor public relations..

    He had heart…and he had pride….and he took all the slights and insults to the training time…and arrived in the ring that night to face Ali….as the most dangerous man alive ...THAT NIGHT….

    If for nothing else….Frazier….deserves credit and respect ...
    Frazier died on a cot above his gym…almost broke and ravaged with diabetes…while Ali’s after ring career was not anywhere near as unpleasant…
    Frazier was one of the reasons Ali was popular…..

  58. bikermike 12:47pm, 08/04/2016

    barry….I’m a sxty five yr old fight fan…with some experience as an amateur heavyweight…..my strategy was to arrive in my best physical condition…and smash my opponent’s fists with my face…...not very successful…but , with sixteen ounce gloves….it didn’t hurt much…and I always got in a couple…

    Been following Boxing since before we had television in my area….didn’t get TV until 1954….

    Got Marciano on radio….And the old and ancient ARCHIE MOORE VS PATTERSON ON RADIO.,,,

    TRIED TO KEEP UP BY READING ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING…

    MY OPINIONS ARE MY OWN.,,,,,BUT I HOPE TO BE FREE OF HYPE…...

    AND I STILL MAINTAIN SPINKS WAS AWARDED A GIFT(S).....AS WAS leonard over HAGLER

  59. bikermike 12:37pm, 08/04/2016

    Michael Spinks is also an under rated fighter…
    He ruled..AND I MEAN RULED the Lt Heavyweights of his time !

    His bouts with HOLMES…were great fights….and were close…showing that he had what it takes to get in with the big guys….

    Don’t wish to disparage Michael Spinks…..but he was the recipient of a gift when they gave him either fight with Holmes

    if you had to.,,,,you could have made both a draw

  60. bikermike 12:30pm, 08/04/2016

    I am not now….nor have ever said that Larry Holmes was the GREATEST…...OK?!!
    What I have always said , is that he fought well enough to be the Champion of the World…and , in spite of following Ali….he held that TITLE by his talent ..not dodging anyone.,

    I was disappointed by the media and official boxing community for the treatment he had to deal with ...in the lead up, and during the Title Challenge from Cooney…had it not been for his knock out of Cooney….the judges were well on their way to stealing his title via ...‘decision’
    low blows and all !!

    Spinks..one or two…close and less close….Holmes didn’t lose either…..the fix was in.
    Holmes was not a touchy feely kind of guy….he was and remains a God fearing descent man who did the best with what he had in front of him…

    I am ..was..and will always be a fan of Larry Holmes.  Good Heavyweight Champion…and a self made man who is still married to the woman he fell in love with…....‘because she had a car and would help me’....quote from Larry Holmes himself

  61. Lucius 10:33am, 08/04/2016

    I believe Spinks deserved the first decision but the second was not even close. The decision wasn’t as bad as Roy Jones at the Olympics but it was as bad as Briggs getting a decision over Foreman or Chavez getting a draw vs Sweet Pea.
    Tyson at his best was not much better than Mercer. Tyson lost his aura of invincibility when he lost to Douglas who had potential to be great but seemed to only be serious for this one fight. As Mike says himself he wasn’t great boxer. He was a great student. Without Cus and Rooney he was just a puncher like Mercer.
    Being jailed should be no excuse anyways. BHop developed himself behind bars.
    Durability and adapting to your age is a sign of greatness. Holmes did that as well or better than anyone.
    Watch highlights of Frazier. It’s bobbing with no weaving and left hooks. Only combination is hook to the body, hook to the head and a right cross.
    I’m too young to have seen much of Liston but from what I’ve read he depended on intimidation and being much bigger than his opponents. Once he had to look up to be eye to eye he’s the one who got scared.

  62. barry 10:07am, 08/04/2016

    Bert, claiming Holmes beat Spinks in their first fight is hard to accept. Spinks beat him and beat him fairly easily (10-5) IMO. The judges had Spinks a clear winner, there was no “stealing the title” like you imply. Their rematch was closer on the scorecards, yet Spinks was still the winner. Bert comparing Smokin Joe Frazier to Earnie Shavers is a real head-scratcher?..I’ts like claiming Mike Tyson resembled Ray Mercer. Shavers never defeated any fighter in the world Top 50 with the exception of a shop worn Ken Norton. Lucius, i am sure Muhammad Ali will vouch Frazier had much more than one punch, in his arsenal.. Your claim of Mike Tyson losing to “Every Good Figher of his Era” is not true. Tyson’s era was 85-90 he then served 5 year in prison, which basically ended his career as a serious fighter. Tyson was completely “SHOT” on his release from prison. his defeats of McNeely, Mathis, Bruno & Seldon was down to fear and punch-power. Tyson’s defeat to Holyfield was more down to him being “Shot” than Holyfield being good.  Sonny Liston’s most impressive vicories were against Cleveland Williams 6’‘4’ slab of muscle, who punch so hard he knocked out more than 50 fighters. Williams hit one opponent so hard, he broke the fighters back, with the guy having to go around on crutches for the rest of his life. Liston would walk through Holmes.

  63. Bert 05:19am, 08/04/2016

    I agree with Lucius. Frazier is best remembered for that one fight with Ali. Frazier could have beaten anyone that night.  He was super motivated. Ali brought the greatness out of him. He fought only one way, going forward. He walked right into George Foreman’s punches and got lifted off his feet. Not that Holmes would have done the same thing. He would have fought Joe like he fought Earnie Shavers.

    The first Holmes Spinks fight was an aberration. Holmes had a pinched nerve in his neck and was under trained. Maxie Shilstone had Spinks pumped up on steroids. Spinks was busy that night and in my opinion did not do enough to take the title. The judges stole Larry’s title that night.

    Charm and a sense of humor were not Larry’s attributes. The press disliked him.

    Larry had a good chin though he was open to the overhand right. He always got up and fought ferociously. He was in no way ready for Tyson who had him terrified.

    Champion from June 1978 until April 1985. Not bad at all.

  64. Lucius 04:52am, 08/04/2016

    Ken Norton was 5 yrs older than Holmes. So an old Holmes keeps his title for two years at Norton’s age.
    I love Joe Frazier but he only has one punch and a pretty simple defence. He’s got a lot of will power and determination but not enough skills to take on Holmes. He wouldn’t have the extra motivation he had fighting Ali who called him an Uncle Tom, ignorant and a gorilla.
    Tyson was good against those he scared before the fights ever happened. He lost to every good fighter of his era. Very entertaining to watch fight however.
    Close calls don’t matter. Take Mayweather as an example, he’ll go down as an all time p4p best with a lot of close calls (Maidana, Castillo, ODLH…). Getting it done when it counts is what matters.
    Sonny was fighting guys half his size. That’s why he looked so powerful. He didn’t look too scary when fighting Ali.

  65. barry 11:59pm, 08/03/2016

    Holmes would never beat Joe Frazier in a month of sunday’s. Holmes was very fortunate to get the nod against a very old Ken Norton. Your opinion of Holmes having a “Pole of a Jab” is fancyful to say the least. a fast snapping jab yes, but not a pole like Sonny Liston’s jab. Mike Tyson would have knocked out any version of Larry Holmes, just like Michael Spinks would have out-hussled any version of Larry Holmes. Larry had far to many near misses and lucky escapes during his career to be rated highly in the Top 10. Snipes knock down, Carl Williams fight, Tyson fight, Witherspoon fight, Bonecrusher Smith (1) fight. Spinks (1) & (2) fights. McCall fight. Larry Holmes would have been knocked out within 3rds by Joe Frazier.

  66. Bert 01:47pm, 08/03/2016

    Larry fought a lot of tough guys and held his title for over seven years. He was an old guy fighting young hungry fighters. He was not as good a fighter as the young Muhammad Ali but no one ever was. He never took the kind of punches Ali took from Frazier and Norton.  After The Manilla fight Ali was not the same. Holmes never took a beating like that. His educated jab was the reason why. Ali’s jab was not good enough to discourage Frazier or Norton. It was not a powerful punch. It was a range finder to set up the right hand. Holmes’ jab was like a pole axe.

    As Angelo Dundee once said, “The gym is a liar.” He said that because Ali was a terrible gym fighter. I do not care that Frazier broke one of Larry’s ribs or that Jimmy Young out jabbed Larry in the gym. Larry had the skills and heart to beat both of them in a 15 round fight. Ali was a sucker for the left hook. When ever he went down it was from a left hook. Holmes was a sucker for the right hand. Both of them got up whenever they got knocked down. Forget the Tyson fight. Had Larry been in shape he would have handled Tyson easy.  Larry was a great fighter and belongs in the top ten heavyweights of all time. God Bless Him. He belongs in the boxing Hall of Fame.

  67. barry 09:41am, 08/03/2016

    Muhammad Ali had the best jab of all times. many other great heavyweights possessed excellent jabs. Sonny Liston, Buster Douglas, Tim Witherspoon, Frank Bruno who gave Lennox Lewis a boxing lesson in how to jab, in their 1994 bout. Klitschko brothers, Fury all have decent long jabs.

  68. Lucius 08:57am, 08/03/2016

    If you only count scoring with the jab, Larry may not be the best at the jab but when you consider it doing damage, his jab is far more effective than Spinks’. George Foreman is the only other hw I can think of that could really hurt someone with a jab.

  69. barry 05:24am, 08/03/2016

    Holmes jab is vastly overrated, Michael Spinks easily out-jabbed Holmes over 30 rounds. Witherspoon out-jabbed Holmes. Carl Williams out-jabbed Holmes. Ken Norton out-jabbed Holmes and was denied the judges decision. Holmes was beaten and out-jabbed by Jimmy Young in training camp back in 1977… Larry was a good fighter, but gets overrated by many today.

  70. bikermike 04:12am, 08/03/2016

    ....about Holmes left ..

    During his years spent in the trenches…Holmes injured his right hand…..either in a match…or in training, I’m not sure.

    While the long process of healing took many months…..Holmes still trained, and used only the left.  This is why he had such an educated left jab…or hook…or cross…or anything else.

  71. Lucius 06:08pm, 08/02/2016

    Tyson beat Holmes when Holmes had been retired for 18 months. Holmes got one month to train. He knew he would lose but was willing for $3 million. I think this is a reason Holmes was not admired like other greats. He fought for money. Ppl did not like Eubank who is one of the greatest mw for the same reason.

  72. Lucius 06:01pm, 08/02/2016

    Happy to see that I am not the only person that believes Larry is the best hw of all time. I think Ali is more important for what he did outside the ring and that influenced the way ppl saw him in the ring. In my opinion, he lost to Ken Norton 3 times. His 2nd fight with Frazier should have been a draw and he had given up in Manilla but Frazier’s corner stopped the fight before Ali could not get up for the 15th round.
    I would rank Lennox Lewis 3rd after Holmes and Ali. He never ducked anyone. Everyone avoided him. He beat every man he ever faced. He came back to ko Rahman and McCall in the rematches. He beat a Bowe at the Olympics and got the better of Tyson when they were sparring as teenagers. His only weakness is fighting down to lower opposition.

  73. Ken Hissne 01:11pm, 07/26/2016

    Expect to get hammered? Well he comes the hammer. Holmes had a football straight arm, not a jab. Sonny Liston would crush you with his jab. Holmes-Spinks I 8-7 Spinks Holmes-Spinks II Holmes 9-6
    Holmes was so scared against Tyson you can see him “running away” not dancing away. Joe Louis was my No. 1 not a braggart? He was the Rodney Dangerfield of boxing Owns half of Easton? He might have a bar left lost hotel sold business building he isn’t even liked in Easton. He got out jabbed by Carl “The Truth” Williams and Timmy Witherspoon.  Jimmy Young out jabbed him so well in sparring he never got a title shot Holmes with 17 def fights Marvis Frazier with 10 fights? I will mail you my articles on Holmes My all time unfavorite No. 10 all time behind Frazier, Tyson, Foreman, Marciano, Tunny, Dempsey, Ali, Johnson and Louis.

  74. Barry 01:21am, 01/05/2015

    Bert, my mistake buddy, i should have read with my glasses on. Holmes was indeed the last great 15rd Heavyweight Champion we ever seen.

  75. Bert 02:40pm, 01/04/2015

    Barry, pal o mine, read what I typed.  I said Larry Holmes was the last great 15 round heavyweight champion.
    Please. Read carefully.

  76. Barry 01:16pm, 01/04/2015

    Bert… You made me laugh buddy, claiming Lennox Lewis to be the last great 15rd champion. ha ha..Lewis could not fight 15rds even if he was shadow boxing. Lewis beat Tyson when he was completely shot.` Danny Williams and Kevin McBride also beat that same version of Tyson

  77. Bert 10:32am, 01/04/2015

    Mike Tyson beat a bunch of club fighters on his way up and looked good doing so. He had everyone afraid of him. Once he stopped moving his head and became distracted by women, alcohol and drugs he lived off his reputation until Douglas came along. Buster was a 44 to 1 underdog and he beat the hell out of Tyson. 

    Evander beat the hell out of him too and would have beaten him at any stage of Mike’s career.  Evander feared no man.

    Mike was completely shot when he fought Lewis. During that prefight scuffle, he bit Lewis high on the leg. Evidently he missed his mark and the mark was not Lewis’ ear.  He was terrified of Lewis and wound up taking a terrible beating.

    Larry was the last great 15 round heavyweight champion fighter.  Tyson never would have had a chance had he fought the same Holmes who fought Cooney.

  78. drumzilla 10:18am, 01/04/2015

    @ David Slater—Mike Tyson was one of the most overrated, over-hyped and more myth than anything.  Tyson KO’d a lot of bums. He fought nobody and won most if his fights because his opponents were crapping in their shorts at the final instructions.  Just because you can punch hard and beat nobodies and look good beating bums does not make you an all-time champion.  Who did Mike Tyson beat?  The biggest name he beat was Larry Holmes who was ill-advised to take this as his first fight back after four years.  In his prime Holmes would have stopped Tyson the same way journeymen Buster Douglas did. Douglas wasn’t afraid of Tyson and Mike was exposed that night.  Evander Holyfield who feared nobody beat the piss out of Tyson, threw Tyson around like a rag doll all night, bullied him, pushed him around and kicked his ass.  Who was the other big name fighter he lost to? Lennox Lewis left Tyson a bloody mess.  He lost all of his career defining fights.  Ali, Frazier and Foremen would have all beaten Tyson down because because these guys feared nobody.  You obviously did not grow up in the full Ali era—because Ali of the 1960’s would have beaten anyone in the history of the sport.  Mike Tyson?  Overrated.

  79. David Slater 05:05am, 01/04/2015

    I enjoyed Adam Berlin’s article, and see the merits of choosing Larry Holmes as the greatest heavyweight of all time. But I would have to vote for Mike Tyson as the greatest. At the height of their careers, Tyson was better than all of them, knocking down everyone who opposed him. His punching power was awesome, and no one could beat him in his prime. Unfortunately, I don’t think Tyson gets his due because of his awkward personality and because he was a brute powerhouse and not a boxer. But even though Ali may have been more popular and eloquent, Tyson let his fists and knockouts do the talking. Until he lost to Buster Douglas his record of wins and knockouts was staggering. No one could beat him at that time.

  80. bikermike 01:49pm, 12/30/2014

    Nice Post drum….

    Closest thing Holmes had ...for his RIVAL…was Cooney.
    He was treated very poorly ....leading up to and during that match.

    Holmes rose to the occasion and Cooney ...out on his feet…was saved by his corner….

    One of Holmes greatest performances…

  81. drumzilla 08:36am, 12/30/2014

    Look, Larry Holmes was a great champion, and a HOF all-time great.  Larry lacked one thing that has held him back from getting his just due by the mainstream fan because as stated in an earlier post,  Holmes did not have that natural rival as many other champs have had.  Larry needed his alter boxing ego as Ali and Frazier had each other that defined both mens greatness.  The fight Frazier won, Ali fought a great fight, too. In the 3rd fight Ali won, Frazier fought great a fight also, that saw him land 440 punches on Ali.  I question Larry’s opponent list.  Mike Weaver would have been ranked about 20 in the 70’s.  Shavers barely cracked the top ten most of his career.  I will not say Holmes beat bums, but many of these fighters would not be allowed to fight in the 1970’s.  They just weren’t good enough.  Back in the mid 60’s to mid 70’s, the heavyweights all fought top ten ranked fighters, more than once.  Consider Joe Frazier who fought a little over 40 times.  Frazier beat opponents who were ranked in the top ten. He fought Oscar Bonavena in his 11th fight when Bonavena already had 30 fights as a pro.  Frazier fought Ali 3 times, Foreman twice, Quarry twice, Bonavena twice, Jimmy Ellis twice, Chuvalo, Mathis, Eddie Machen,  and Joe Bugner.  How can you compare the comp that Frazier fought against to who Holmes beat?  Witherspoon? Snipes? an old Shavers? Marvis Frazier? Mike Weaver—a JOURNEYMEN at best. Please do not give me the crap of Shavers and Frazier or Lyle—their paths never crossed due to timing of their respective careers.    While I respect larry Holmes and understand he was simply the best of his time—he never had that real rival that would have even brought out a greater Larry Holmes.

  82. Bert 05:58am, 12/30/2014

    Holmes and Ali peaked at different times during their lives. Ali peaked in 1967 when he was 25 years old. He made beating Zora Foley and Cleveland Williams look easy. The only tough fight he had during his first incarnation was against George Chuvalo. Larry peaked when he was 29 years old. He had a lot of tough fights. During the first defense of his title, Weaver almost KO’d him. Ali was a sucker for the left hook and Larry couldn’t see the right hand punches coming. Ali was the stronger of the two.  Strength was his greatest asset. Larry was the smarter fighter. Larry had the better jab but always had trouble with guys who could jab.  Both had huge hearts. Larry was a family man who was devoted to one woman, his wife. Ali had many women.  Ali was manipulated by the Muslims. He could not say “No” to them. Larry knew when he was taken advantage of, showed his anger and always acted in his best interest. Today Ali is a sick old man, a shell of himself. Larry has his health and owns half of Easton PA.  God Bless both of them.

  83. bikermike 04:43pm, 12/29/2014

    Holmes was the best of his time…and was KING OF THE RING…during his time..as HW CHAMPION…
    Went out on his shield..and came back on his own terms…

    Was aware of the ‘Boxing ethics’ of Don King…and managed to do better with his winnings than most other big name fighters…

    Larry Holmes belongs in the top handful of HW Champions..due to his ability and dedication to the Sport…

    Nobody ever gave Holmes a break…he had to claw his way into the big names…and beat those guys to advance….and he did..  Holmes is a true TOP HOF HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION

  84. bikermike 04:38pm, 12/29/2014

    Holmes never faced a CHUVALO…as did Ali….Chuvalo took a cupla chunks and five years outta Ali…in his fights with the Canadian,,,who had the best left hook to the body..of the day…if not the entire modern HW DIVISION.
    ...after the first fight..which Chuvalo took on 17 days notice…..
    ...Chuvalo went dancing with his wife….Ali was in the Hospital… checking out why blood was coming out with his urine ..

  85. bikermike 04:28pm, 12/29/2014

    ...we got minus forty five degrees ...CELCIUS…to you yanks…that means your piss won’t hit the ground as a liquid..and your luv muscle will get frostbite before you’re finished…it is so fkn cold !!

    All I’m saying is that Larry Holmes was a talented..dedicated and gifted Boxer…who could take the blows..and come back punching…

    He did Boxing proud with his tenure as HW CHAMPION OF THE WORLD>...and he should be recognized…!!

    ...and the thumb was a weapon of the day..as was elbows…shoulders…head butts..and like that…

    Larry was there when they brought in the thumbless glove….Irony ?

    Too bad Officials weren’t calling head butts with Holyfield…

  86. bikermike 04:18pm, 12/29/2014

    Was Larry Holmes good for Boxing…YES HE WAS !!

    ...remember renting some shack…and filling it with the stag for a guy to be married….with water, power and Cable hook up…..for HOLMES vs SNIPES…some thirty nice gentlemen..and two hooker/strippers…and a buffet of chicken…and nibblies….When Snipes knocked down Holmes….those nice ladies lost almost eight hundred dollars…due to distraction of the ‘meat’

  87. bikermike 04:08pm, 12/29/2014

    Was Ali good for Boxing…..yes he was…he ...knowingly or not….reflected the stupidity and cloudiness of why USA was sending lads to Viet Nam..
    ...and by far the majority being conscripts from the black community…Cheney took SIX DEFERMENTS ..never served a day….dubya faked his service by not showing up as a national guard pilot.

    Ali was right..and most of us knew it too.  Best fight of his life was when he fought Joe Frazier…...some wrote….no man alive could have beaten Frazier that night…Frazier’s best night of his life !!...Ali…unprepared and still rusty…took the blows….BIG TIME

    Whoever fought Ali…was fighting the ghosts of all those big Ali victories…Liston….twice…Norton…three times…Frazier..three times..and Foreman…..
    The echoes of those fights seemed to overwhelm many of his opponents…‘cept Frazier..and Norton….They took a lot of chunks out of Ali…

  88. bikermike 03:56pm, 12/29/2014

    Would Cassius Clay/Muhammud Ali of 1963 beat Larry Holmes ??? absolutely!!! Larry would have only been thirteen years old ffs !!

  89. bikermike 03:47pm, 12/29/2014

    I’ve read some posts about how superior Clay/Ali were in the early sixties…and he could certainly have beaten Holmes in those years….as Holmes would have been about ten yrs old or so….

    Holmes had to carry his TItle…regardless of the footprint from former Title holder…and held his TITLE PROUDLY….in spite of his critics…

    Dedicated , gifted athlete who dedicated his life to becoming THE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD…he did..and he was….GIve the man his due.

  90. bikermike 03:34pm, 12/29/2014

    take a look at the BACK MUSCLES AND TRIMNESS of Larry Holmes in his match up with ALI…Holmes held back ...a lot in that one….HE was ready for the Ali that was ten years ago…
    Holmes wept after that one…because he knew it was worse than shooting fish in a barrel with dynamite !!

  91. bikermike 03:28pm, 12/29/2014

    Barry…absofknlutely right…..Lewis…had his fans…but he got cold cocked flatter than a six week old mackerel by two fringe contenders…

    Good basic skills..but no footwork to speak of….big right hand…and imposing presence…(Liston used to show up with about seventeen towels around his neck and shoulders…scared the shit out of a bunch of opponents(...

    Lewis never disgraced himself outta the ring….as a matter of fact….his out of ring life is ......sheltered.

    Lewis was good for Boxing…but nowhere near what some folks rate him

  92. Barry 10:12am, 12/29/2014

    bikermike…i could not have put it better buddy, you took the words out of my mouth. i agree 100% with you on Lewis and his place in history.

  93. bikermike 10:00am, 12/29/2014

    I look forward to Adam Berlin’s next article….Well written and researched…Provoked a lot of comments from much more knowledgeable posters than I .....Enjoyed some of the posts as much as the article

  94. bikermike 09:58am, 12/29/2014

    I cannot agree with ranking Lewis in the top ten….or maybe he could be #20 in the top twenty of all time.

    Big strong guy with a huge right hand…glass jaw ..and the footwork of a camel.
    Lewis dodged his fair share of top fighters of his time…only faced Tyson when he was a shot fighter ...never fought Bowe…and took step aside money to avoid any threat. 
    Lewis made a lot of money…and behaved himself out of the ring…showed some class .

    I wish him no ill…..but he was not ...IMHO…a top ten Heavyweight of all time…

  95. drumzilla 10:23am, 12/28/2014

    Larry Holmes had the misfortune in following Ali.  That is one tough act to follow and the comparisons early on, were unfair. 

    Holmes has become better at times out of jealousy because Larry feels he has never gotten his just due.  Any boxing fan that is knowledgeable understands that Holmes was an all-time great.  Larry never had that opponent in his prime that defined his career the way Ali and Frazier had each other.  You cannot mention one guys name without thinking about the other.  They are wrapped in boxing history, forever.  Larry had the Norton fight in 1978.  He had the 2nd Shavers fight where he did what not many have done, and that was get up off the canvas from a Shavers right hand bomb.  His two finest moments. But when people talk about Holmes—do many ever mention Norton? Or Shavers?  Their names are hardly linked to history. 

    This is one reason Holmes does not get the top tier respect reserved for Ali & Frazier. He did not have that natural rival that turned into an epic trilogy.
    When Holmes fought and reigned—the HW division was good, not great.  He just did not beat the quality of opponent as the icons did.  Larry was great. You can’t ignore his reign at champion—the 2nd longest in HW histoty—2nd to Joe Louis.  He never had that natural rivalry as Ali & Frazier did.  This has hurt Holmes standing slightly but like I stated above, any boxing fan who is worth his or her salt as a fan—knows Holmes was a great champion.

    If Holyfield came around a bit earlier—that could have been the opponent that would have defined his greatness.  The beauty of talking boxing; the “what ifs”

  96. drumzilla 09:41am, 12/28/2014

    My opinion of Larry Holmes vs. other greats:
    (There is no particular order of eras)

    Holmes vs.—-
    Vintage Ali of the 1960’s. No contest. UD for Ali. Not close.
    Prime Frazier—Holmes gets destroyed, beaten up and KO’d at mid point.
    Tyson—If Larry waited a few fights he would have won at 38. In their primes, based upon Douglas fight, Tyson would have been schooled.
    Joe Louis- Louis was a 190 lb. HW.  But Holmes had trouble with Spinks, even though he was robbed in both fights—especially the 2nd one. Tough fight; hard to pick.
    Marciano:  Another 190 on HW with a 68” reach. Rocky would have ate Holmes jab all night. Marciano had a punchers chance for sure.
    Walcott- Could be a very boring fight with two technical guys but Holmes gets the edge here.
    Foreman-  Based upon styles, this was a match-up that favored Holmes. George always had problems with boxers.  In their respective primes, George had stamina problems.  Foreman rounds 1-5 was not the same fighter after 5.  Larry by late stoppage or UD.
    Lennox Lewis—Holmes fought best fighting upward and with guys his height or taller. One sided UD for Holmes.
    Evander Holyfield—Tough fight for Holmes at any period in their careers.  This would have been a war, much better than the Norton fight, which was a good one.  Evander has fought bigger guys than Larry; just not as skilled.  Holyfield would have ate a lot of jabs but would have had his moments where he would get underneath it.  Holmes wins a 115-113 UD.

    As I posted earlier, Larry Holmes is an all-time great but he was not the greatest ever, as he proclaims.  Larry was the best in his time with a fairly competitive division.  But the 1960’-1970’s HW division had an unrivaled top ten for any era of boxing.  The thing was that in the HW division, the top ten fighters always fought each other regularly.  Take Joe Frazier’s career. His record shows he fought just about 40 times. But most of his fights were against top ten ranked fighters.  In Joe’s 11th pro fight, he fought a seasoned fighter in Bonavena, who had over 30 pro fights when they met the first time.  Top ten—12 HW: Ali, Frazier, Quarry, Patterson, Bonavena, Lyle, Shavers, eventually Foreman and Norton, Chuvalo, Bugner, Ellis.  All these guys fought each other multiple times—and where skilled.  This is what made boxing great back then.  There was nobody ducking anyone like Mayweather is doing with Pacquaio.

  97. Barry 12:23pm, 12/27/2014

    Eddiedrumz… i totally agree with all you have said.

  98. Eddiedrumz 11:26am, 12/27/2014

    The article was very nicely written.  I think Larry Holmes was one of the top five greatest HW, of all-time. I would like to dispel the popular myth that Holmes was a bigger puncher than Ali.  Vintage Ali of the 1960’s would knock guys out for the count.  It is the shots you don’t see coming that knocked you out.  Meaning they didn’t get up until it was time to head back to the dressing room.  True KO’s.  Another point that in the article, there was no mention of Joe Frazier and Larry Holmes.  If we can agree that styles dictates fights, than based upon a stylistic match-up, Frazier would have beaten up Holmes pretty badly.  And Larry knows of Frazier’s power because as a sparring partner, Frazier broke his ribs.  Holmes fights great going backwards, but he was never forced backwards, which would have happened. Holmes never faced a devastating body puncher and Smokin’ Joe was indeed a devastating body puncher.  Frazier always did very well against boxers and was disadvantaged in a stylistic match-up against Foreman.  If Ali fought Holmes at their best similar to the beat down that Ernie Terrell took.  Based upon a 34 year old Ken Norton taking the fight into the very last round, Frazier would have KO’d Holmes and brutally beaten him up.

    I rate Holmes as an all-time great, but he is bitter and arrogant. At the Dinner with the Champs he boasted he was the greatest HW of all-time and could have beaten any man at the table.  It shows his lack of class that while he sat with Ali, Frazier and Foreman he dissed them.  He is simply jealous of Ali, he is jealous that the Ali-Frazier fights revived boxing for decades and he never had that quality opponent. He is jealous of Joe Frazier because Joe’s name gets mentioned more than his.  He is even jealous of George Foreman selling all those grills.  Larry needs to face his reality that he was only the best of his time. That should be good enough for anyone.

  99. tuxtucis 02:07am, 10/15/2014

    @Barry: Holmes lost to Butterbean? What kind of substance do you use?

  100. Barry 12:27am, 10/15/2014

    i would fancy any version of Larry Holmes to defeat Lennox Lewis. even the version of Holmes who lost his final fight to Butterbean.

  101. Barry 12:25am, 10/15/2014

    Oh Jethro… What a load of garbage, you have replied with. Let’s start with Muhammad Ali. You claim Ali was “Completely out of shape” for Fight of The Century”..Well Jethro, Muhammad Ali threw more punches in that fight, than any other fight in his entire career. in fact many excellent boxing historians, claim Fight of the Century to be Muhammad Ali’s greatest ever performance. Yet you Jethro, claim Ali to be completely out of shape… You call Jerry Quarry’s loss to Frazier as: “Disastrous Beatings”. Yet their first fight in 1969 was voted “Fight of the Year”..it is a forgotten classic. Their second fight was at the tail-end of Quarry’s career.. Joe Bugner you ridicule for losing to Frank Bruno. yet Bugner was 37yrs old, Bruno was 26yrs old. Bugner even at age 37 would be good enough to beat Michael Grant. in fact a prime Bugner would most likely KO Grant in the opening round. Lennox Lewis only agreed to fight Grant, after watching him hit the canvas three times in the opening round, in his fight with Golota, then Golota “Quit” the fight. So it was Golota who exposed Grant as mediocre , not Lewis as you claim. Lewis was an opportunist, who avoided every fighter who was at the top of their game.. choosing the exposed Grant rather than the long standing No1 contender John Ruiz.. Ruiz even managed to put Evander Holyfield on the floor. something Lewis never came near to doing in 24rds.  Your whole argument on the career of Lennox Lewis, is based on his win over Michael Grant.. Oh Jethro. maybe you should base your case around his fight against Mike Tyson?? or are you afraid of what i will respond with.

  102. Jethro's Flute 11:28am, 10/14/2014

    Dokes was 34 and the fight with Bowe was 3 years after he had been decapitated by Razor Ruddock. He had battled coke addiction for years and his 10 fight streak was meaningless while Jesse Ferguson was annihilated in the first round by Frank Bruno in 1994.

    In fact, he lost 4 out of 5 fights before facing Bowe.

    “You even claim Frazier’s punches could only stop cruiserweights.. Oh Jethro, have you never watched Fight of the Century?”

    Hmm, a points win over a completely out of shape Ali demonstrates his knockout power?

    Have you ever considered learning English?

    “His belly billowing over his trunks, an overlump Ali weighed almost 230 pounds as he waited to spar in his 5th street gym 4 weeks ago.”
    “Ali’s training camp is less disciplined than Frazier’s. During the six weeks he lived in Miami Beach, there were days when he skipped a workout altogether. Some days he did not spar… He had trouble with his weight. When training began, he was near 230 pounds and he vowed not even to look at scales until one week before the fight. But three weeks ago he ambled by a scale in the gym, stepped on and whistled “226!” he cried. He vowed immediately to cut out the several Pepsis he drinks every day, but the vow did not last long. “

    (LIFE magazine, March 1971)
    and
    “Muhammad Ali is the worst gym fighter I ever saw.”

    (Angelo Dundee, Ali’s trainer, March 1971)”

  103. Jethro's Flute 11:16am, 10/14/2014

    Holmes said that Joe Frazier was the ” was the hardest puncher he ever felt”.

    Holmes also said that he would have beaten Mike Tyson if given a few more weeks to get in shape and that he would have beaten Evander Holyfield if he was in shape for their 1992 encounter. He also said that Jerry Quarry would have handled Mike Tyson with ease, despite Quarry drawing with Floyd Patterson and squeaking past him in a rematch and Quarry’s disastrous beatings at the hands of Joe Frazier.

    Frazier fought his entire career while blind in one eye and yet his era is hyped up as the greatest ever. Holmes is the undisputed king of excuses and goalpost shifting but he would still not have been off his feet had he face Joe Frazier in a competitive match.

    Joe Bugner was the object of much ridicule in his own country which is also my country and your list of names that he beat is a joke.

    Bugner was creamed by Frank Bruno a year after beating Greg Page.

    Michael Grant was unbeaten when he faced Lewis who exposed him while John Ruiz, the supposedly creditable opponent, had a first round massacre by David Tua on his record. The reason you denigrate Michael Grant is because Lewis beat him and nothing will ever convince you that Lewis is a better fighter than Joe Bugner.

    Those of us with the gift of sight will disagree.

    You are giving Holmes a run for his money in the goalpost shifting stakes.

  104. tuxtucis 11:16am, 10/14/2014

    @Isaac: I told a modern Frazier would have probably beaten Lewis, Jethro’s Flute said Frazier would have not beaten Lewis…So if I’m the same person, I should be crazy

  105. isaac 11:51pm, 10/13/2014

    i think Jethro is really tuxtucis.

  106. Barry 11:37pm, 10/13/2014

    Oh Jethro… You make me laugh at your idolization of Lewis. You rubbish 3 times Heavyweight Champion of the World John Ruiz. Yet praise basketballer Michael Grant as a better opponent. You ridicule Joe Bugner as a worthy world class opponent, Joe Bugner who beat worthy contenders like Henry Cooper, Jurgen Blin, Mac Foster, Quick Tillis, David Bey and former Champions Greg Page & Jimmy Ellis. Bugner fought decent fighters his whole career, including twice going the distance with Muhammad Ali & once with Joe Frazier. You claim Frazier would not KO Holmes with his left-hook. Holmes himself said in his book, “Against The Odds” that Frazier was the hardest puncher he ever felt. Holmes also said in his book, “Frazier would have bombed out Lennox Lewis within two rounds”..You claim Riddick Bowe fought the washed up Michael Dokes. But forget that Dokes was a former champion rated in the Top 10 and was on a ten fight win streak.. You call Jesse Ferguson “never any good” Yet Ferguson earned his fight by beating Ray Mercer. in fact Ferguson beat Mercer far far easier than what Lennox Lewis managed against Mercer 3yrs later.  Oh Jethro…. what a Walter Mitty kind of guy you are on the sport of boxing. You even claim Frazier’s punches could only stop cruiserweights.. Oh Jethro, have you never watched Fight of the Century?

  107. Jethro's Flute 10:50am, 10/13/2014

    ” Bugner, Ramos, Ali, Doyle & Mathis. having little difficulty beating them. if Rahman & McCall can put Lennox Lewis lights-out. Then Joe Frazier with his famous left-hook would smash his lamp into a million pieces. I am not being hard on Lennox Lewis”.

    Mathis was extremely fat and had never gone more than 10 rounds before facing Frazier.

    Bugner in the class of Lewis? This is basic idiocy.

    Has Lewis ever lost to a man who was blind in one eye? Has he ever faced one? Has a left hook ever had Lewis on the deck?

    Joe Frazier’s punches were devastating against men who would be cruiserweights today, not heavyweight.

  108. Jethro's Flute 10:46am, 10/13/2014

    ” imagine Foreman & Frazier hitting his chin with their best shot. “

    Foreman is many leagues ahead of Joe Frazier in terms of punching power. If he hit Holmes, he would knock him down but no one is finishing Holmes with one shot.

    As for Frazier, he failed to knock out Joe Bugner and his own knees were buckled by the Englishman’s punches.

    Holmes, unlike Ali, could defend against left hooks.

  109. Jethro's Flute 10:43am, 10/13/2014

    Barry’s comments on Lewis are a total lie.

    After Bowe vacated the WBC title, he defended his WBA and IBF titles against the extremely washed-up Michael Dokes and the never-any-good Jesse Ferguson.

    Nothing he has to say about Lewis has any credibility at all.

  110. Jethro's Flute 05:13am, 10/13/2014

    “Marciano ended the career of 6ft 4in Carmine Vingo who matched up to Lewis in size”

    No, Vingo was Lewis’ height, not his size.

    Using this idiotic reasoning, anyone who defeated Maurice Blocker, Mark Breland or Milt McCrory would be favourite over Thomas Hearns at welterweight.

  111. Jethro's Flute 05:10am, 10/13/2014

    Lewis avoided Herbie Hide????

    We’ll skip over that to look at accusations that Lewis avoided John Ruiz, who was creamed in under a minute by David Tua. How much of a slagging would Lewis have received if he had faced him instead of doing what he did do, facing the unbeaten Michael Grant?

    Barry’s opinion’s are a joke.

  112. Jethro's Flute 04:58am, 10/13/2014

    “just as he took Earnie Shavers’ bombs for a total of 23 rounds.”

    He didn’t take any of his bombs except for the one that knocked him down and Tyson was a much better finisher than Earnie Shavers was.

    As for Marciano, Holmes wouldn’t need to back up against him, he’d be the bigger and stronger man with the more accurate punch, fighting an opponent who always cut easily and was a division below him.

  113. Jethro's Flute 04:52am, 10/13/2014

    If Holmes had met Ali while both were in their primes, Holmes certainly could have beaten Ali and was a bigger puncher than Ali, though that was never a factor in defeating Ali.

    I think Holmes would have defeated Ali, for sure, if they were both 30 years old when they met.

    If Tyson had met a prime Holmes and defeated him, Holmes would still be bitching about it to this day and making increasing absurd excuses while denigrating his conqueror.

    I know this because this is exactly what Holmes has done, more than a quarter of a century after his only stoppage defeat.

  114. Barry 11:24pm, 10/12/2014

    Bert… i agree with all that you have said, with the exception of the judges robbing Holmes, of 49-0. Michael Spinks easily won their first fight. Spinks won it 10-5rds. Spinks out-jabbed Holmes, out-fought Holmes, Spinks won that fight in a canter. Their second fight was very close to score, with a case being made for either fighter.

  115. Bert 08:15am, 10/12/2014

    This was a nicely written article.

    I am a Holmes fan. I believe he was one of the best but not The Best. Larry was Ali’s sparring partner. At first he was the student but eventually, he dominated Ali in the gym. He stopped sparring with Ali in 1977.  Ali was prime in 1967 at 25 years of age. Holmes was prime in 1979-1980 at 29-30 years of age.

    Styles make fights. I think Joe Frazier would have caught up with Larry and nailed him with a left hook. No one stood up to Joe’s left hook. I think that Rocky Marciano would have worn him down and beaten him.  Ali in his prime would have been too much for him.

    Larry would have beaten all the others.

    It’s a damn shame that he was denied his 49-0 record. The judges stole that first Spinks fight from him.  Larry easily won the second fight.

    So that’s it.  Keep punching, Adam.

  116. Barry 04:27am, 10/11/2014

    tuxtucis…Nothing boring about my posts, i also do not turn posts into a discussion about Lennox Lewis. if you read posts correctly, you would see i was posting about Larry Holmes. nicolas, then posted saying he rated Lewis as the “second greatest heavyweight of all time” on his personal list. i then responded to nicolas… If what i post is boring to you. then do yourself a favor and do not read it. simply as!.. The Truth hurts, but you will get over it.

  117. tuxtucis 03:32am, 10/11/2014

    @Barry: We live in democracy, so you’re free to say what you want…let me say your obsession to transform every discussion about every boxer of the past in a discussion against Lennox Lewis is boring…very very boring…Caso cerrado

  118. Barry 01:06pm, 10/10/2014

    tuxtucis…John Ruiz was a novice pro over in the UK, here to fight Julius Francis in mid 1994. Ruiz was then hired by the Lewis camp as a sparring partner, while Lewis was training for his bout with Oliver McCall. By Ruiz account, he floored Lewis in sparring, with Lewis unable to handle Ruiz “Grappling-Hook” style. The Lewis camp got rid of Ruiz services after 3 days. John Ruiz knew he could handle Lewis and had nothing to fear. Yet 5yrs down the line when John Ruiz was the No1 contender for Lewis WBA title, Lewis simply refused to fight the man he knew he could not handle… tuxtucis.. please refrain from telling me to “Stop it”.. i am here to discuss boxing, not just Lewis. but every fighter past or present.

  119. tuxtucis 12:51pm, 10/10/2014

    Probably Lewis avoided Ruiz cause he would had a low payday, sure not cause he feared him…About Roy Jones I can’t believe he could have been a serious threat to Lewis…If Vingo today would had the same size of Lewis, even Marciano would be a Little taller and much heavier…

  120. Barry 12:22pm, 10/10/2014

    tuxtucis & nicolas… http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/sports_talk/2454473.stm

  121. Barry 12:11pm, 10/10/2014

    tuxtucis..please refrain from telling me to stop it….i am responding to others who commented on my previous comments. You seem to be unable to address what i have said about Lewis, so your now trying to STOP me talking boxing. Yes i am claiming 100% Lennox Lewis avoided John Ruiz.in fact Lewis was stripped of his WBA title for refusing to fight No1 contender John Ruiz…tuxtucis, are you claiming that to be incorrect and absurd ? also when Roy Jones defeated Ruiz for that WBA title. Lewis was offered the largest purse in pro sports history, a staggering $35 million, to face the undefeated Roy Jones. But turned it down… tuxtucis, your problem is that you are not very knowledgeable on the careers of boxers and especially Lewis, yet if you use google archives you will find that i am correct… Carmine Vingo, if fighting today would have been the same height and weight as Lewis.

  122. nicolas 11:59am, 10/10/2014

    TUXTUCIS: After beating Ruiz, Jones was asked if he would go after Lennox Lewis. His response, “I’m not crazy”. ERIC: Thanks for your input on my point. I know that Muhammad Ali did feel that Marciano would win a close fight with Frazier back in the early 70’s, though I think this was partially due to his being thankful for the “computer fight” he had with Marciano, and his recent passing. Though also earlier in the 60’s, when Paterson fought Chuvalo, Ali said that Marciano would have knocked out both men in the first round in one night, though that was his humor showing. Also who can forget his interview with Cosell, and his acting in awe of Marciano, while dismissive earlier of Jack Dempsey. Marciano did beat a nearly 30 pound heavier Joe Louis, certainly his best win over anyone weighing above 200 pounds, and though not what he once was, Louis was still formidable at that time. I just wish that Marciano had fought Nino Valdez when Valdez was number one contender by ring magazine for some two years. Had he beaten Valdez as easily as Liston would a few years later, when Valdez was past his best years, perhaps I would put Marciano in my top ten, and not top twenty.

  123. tuxtucis 10:19am, 10/10/2014

    @Barry: If Frazier would have born 25 years later, he would have been bigger and probably would have won Lewis. But Vingo was not same size Lewis: he was tall about the same, but His weight was under 200 lbs. And now please stop to dismiss Lewis, that seems to be Your mission in life, specially if you have to da absurdities like he feared Ruiz. I Know in next episode you Will say Lewis feared Roy Jones jr…Please, stop it…

  124. Barry 08:53am, 10/10/2014

    Eric.. some interesting points you make. However i am not someone who believes height and weight win heavyweight fights. Marciano ended the career of 6ft 4in Carmine Vingo who matched up to Lewis in size. Frazier fought and beat his share of Big Heavyweights who all matched Lewis in size and ability, if not better. Bugner, Ramos, Ali, Doyle & Mathis. having little difficulty beating them. if Rahman & McCall can put Lennox Lewis lights-out. Then Joe Frazier with his famous left-hook would smash his lamp into a million pieces. I am not being hard on Lennox Lewis. i am telling it how i seen Lewis career unfold. in my opinion Lewis avoided every single world ranked Heavyweight, who was “At The Top of their Game” Lewis avoided them throughout his entire career. he even avoided John Ruiz & Chris Byrd when both were at the top of their game. Lewis best career victories was against, Tucker, Ruddock, Morrison, Bruno. Tyson & Holyfield who were all years past their best. Yet Lewis had ample opportunities to fight them all when they were at the top of their game.

  125. The Flea 05:47am, 10/10/2014

    Frazier a ‘predictable one armed fighter’ is a long-running myth. His right hand was active, even if it wasn’t punching.

  126. Eric 05:33am, 10/10/2014

    nicholas, Excellent point. This isn’t a P4P ranking, it is ranking Holmes, Frazier, Marciano, etc. at heavyweight. Asking a 184-187lb Marciano or a 205-209lb Frazier to compete against a talented 240lb Lewis is a bit much. I, too, would rank Frazier over Lewis as a fighter, but not as a heavyweight. However, I would still favor the 185lb Marciano to beat the heavier Frazier in a head to head matchup. The 20lb weight advantage for Frazier probably wouldn’t be that much of a factor in a battle between these two short swarmers. Even at 205lbs, Frazier seemed a bit chunky, while the 185lb superbly conditioned Marciano didn’t carry an ounce of flab. Weight wouldn’t be much of a factor in this bout, I see Marciano every bit as strong, if not stronger than the heavier Frazier. And Marciano was a two handed fighter with excellent power in both hands, Frazier was mainly a predictable one armed fighter. Marciano’s extreme training schedule helped slim him down to the lightest weight possible while still maintaining his strength and stamina. Frazier wasn’t really that much bigger of a man than Marciano, just wasn’t as finely tuned. Rocky could have easily carried another 10-15lbs, but by doing so, I’m sure his stamina and conditioning would have suffered, and stamina and conditioning were a major part of Rocky’s being so successful against heavier opposition.

  127. nicolas 11:42pm, 10/09/2014

    Thanks for your input Barry on Lewis, though I have never heard that Lewis made these demands before. I am sure that Matt McGrain will have Lewis in his top ten. He will probably have Joe Frazier I think ahead of him. In the pound for pound list I can understand. However, as a heavyweight, and at 6 ft five, with Lewis’s talent, I would have him beating Frazier. Pound for Pound Frazier was better, but 206 vs 240 something, I have to go with Lewis. I pound for pound where the criteria, I would have Marciano ahead of Frazier. But as a heavyweight I have Frazier ahead.

  128. Shaun Kernahan 01:21pm, 10/08/2014

    Holmes was great but Ali was much greater. Ali was far quicker of hand and body, much more skilled on his feet and he battled better fighters than Holmes faced. Holmes was a reasonable copy of Ali but Ali set the bar and created the style.To say Ali and Holmes battled when Ali was on the way down and Holmes was on the way up is a farce. Ali was out of shape and retired and coming back for a payday against Holmes in his absolute prime. Holmes doesn’t even touch Ali in his prime. Holmes was far more active than Ali was when Tyson destroyed him. Opinions are opinions but Ali was in a class above Holmes. Ali was the fluid perfect synthesis of body and mind, the epitome of the heavyweight with middleweight skills. Holmes did his best to be the poor man’s Ali and he did well. Holmes was Jayne Mansfield or Mamie Van Doren to Ali’s Marilyn Monroe. Ali was the archetype and Holmes the imitator.

  129. Barry 04:58am, 10/08/2014

    nicholas… i was sitting near ringside for Lewis vs McCall (1) and almost everyone at ringside was shouting “Stop it” as Lewis fell into the referee’s arms at the count of ten, on unsteady legs. When Lewis left the ring five minutes after the stoppage loss, he had to be helped down the ring steps by his brother. with Lewis still on unsteady legs and “Glassy-Eyed”. Riddick Bowe did not avoid Lewis in 1992 Bowe was undisputed Heavyweight Champion. Lewis was WBC No1 contender, after beating Razor Ruddock, who was “Damaged Goods”.. The WBC ordered Bowe to fight Lewis within 90 days. But Lewis “Priced himself out” by demanding a 50/50 purse split and options on Bowe’s next 3 fights, should Lewis lose. Lewis knew Bowe would never accept his terms, so would be stripped of the WBC belt. Bowe said to the WBC, “UP YOU” and threw their belt in the trash can. Lewis picked that belt out of the can and masqueraded as a champion for 2yrs. When Lewis lost that belt to McCall in 94 Bowe lost his titles to Holyfield and Live’ on British TV Bowe offered Lewis a career highest payday of $10 million to fight him, Lewis turned him down. Corrie Sanders fought on the undercard of Lewis v McCall as No1 contender in waiting. Sanders called for a fight with Lewis throughout the 1990s. Moorer called for a fight with Lewis in 96, undefeated Herbie Hide regularly called out Lewis on British TV. Lewis was offered $16 million and a guaranteed title fight to face Tyson in 96 yet turned it down, selling his title fight to Holyfield for $3.3 million step-a-side-money. Lewis was stripped of his three belts for refusing to fight John Ruiz (WBA) choosing to fight murderous Frans Botha instead. Then the IBF belt for refusing to fight Chris Byrd. Lewis promised the entire boxing world he would face Vitali in a rematch, yet dragged out his reign for another 8 months, until 3 days before he was to be stripped of his last remaining belt. He announced his retirement. McCall & Rahman was both mediocre journeymen. McCall was easily defeated by Buster Douglas & Mike"bounty"Hunter previous to him poleaxing Lewis. Rahman was very mediocre, twice being poleaxed by the limited Oleg Maskaev.. Lennox Lewis refused to ever face any opponent who was “At The Top of Their Game”, throughout his entire career. Lewis only ever fought fighters who was on the downside of their careers. Nicolas, you ask, Do i really think Lewis would lose to Chris Byrd?... Yes i do, just like Emmanuel Stewart who also thought Lewis would struggle to beat Byrd, saying Lewis would most likely lose a decision to the elusive Byrd. i also agree with what Oliver McCall said, “Lewis has Two-Left Feet”..

  130. Pete The Sneak 04:53am, 10/08/2014

    Have to agree with ROB to some degree. I don’t believe Larry was/is a racist… Holmes was disrespected repeatedly by the media pretty much throughout his career because he wasn’t Muhammad Ali…You have to remember, Ali was super popular with reporters/TV folks, etc. Here comes Larry, who beats an old washed up Ali into oblivion and is now the new Heavyweight champion. Although Larry was a good fighter, he was no Ali in boxing skills, personality and mostly his communication skills That was an extremely tough act to follow…. Larry was not a good speaker and did not trust reporters, He tried to be an Ali clone (trying to recite poetry before fights and attempting to talk the kind of smack that Ali talked, which coming from Larry just did not come out right) and was made fun of by the boxing media at the time. They wanted an Ali and Larry was not it, so they went after him personally…What they did to him in the Cooney fight was despicable. As for the Marciano comment, yes it was low down, inappropriate and totally wrong. No excuse for that. However, Larry I believe just said what came to his mind (without thinking) after being asked a zillion times leading up to his 49th fight about the Marciano record. Reporter after reprter after interviewer, all they wanted to know was about the record and Marciano. A brooding, tired and pissed off Larry just heard the question once to often. Again, was it wrong? Yes. Was it racist, no, I don’t believe it was… If you were to see all the people (of all races) that Larry has helped over the years financially in his hometown of Easton, PA., the race card just would not come into play…. Larry was a very good fighter and I would definitely have him in my top 10 Heavyweight list…Peace.

  131. The Flea 03:20am, 10/08/2014

    ROB

    Most people think the second Holmes-Spinks fight was a robbery.

    I’d love to see some contemporary accounts that said the first was anything like an unjust decision.

  132. ROB 03:07am, 10/08/2014

    The Flea
    Most observers thought it was a robbery and most know why. But hey you will always have some who disagree, some really believe Bradley won his first fight with Pacquiao

  133. The Flea 01:39am, 10/08/2014

    @ROB

    Holmes-Spinks 1 was NOT a robbery.

    You could just as easily say that Holmes got a favourable decision against Williams and Witherspoon if you won’t to go down that route.

  134. ROB 01:34am, 10/08/2014

    Why do some white people call Larry racist? Is it because he endured the hype and disrespect given to him by Ronald Reagan who had a phone installed in Cooney’s dressing room (THE CHALLENGER) so he could call him “when” he won the fight? Is it because Sports Illustrated ran HIM (THE CHALLENGER) on the cover with Sly Stallone instead of the champ. Is it the fact that Cooney’s guys wore t-shirts saying “not the white man but the right man”. Is it the fact that Cooney got to walk out last like he was already the champ? Is it that Cooney got paid the same as the champ as the challenger? Is it the fact that he said accurately that Rocky Marciano couldn’t carry his jockstrap? Is it that he was obviously robbed of his 49th straight win so that he couldn’t match Rocky’s record? Seems to me that it wasn’t Larry then nor is Larry now the “racist”. When he beat Ali he said ‘I used to be Ali’s sparring partner but tonight he was my sparring partner” Was that racist or just Larry? I’ll bet that some of the same people calling Larry racist don’t consider paula deen or that duck dynasty gut racist and Deen wanted black children(little ni33ers as she called them) to dress as slaves at her brothers wedding and the duck dynasty gut asserted that black people were better off under racist jim crow laws and that they were happy

  135. nicolas 11:16am, 10/07/2014

    BARRY: On Lennox Lewis, It was Bowe, who avoided Lewis when he threw the WBC belt into the trash can. Tyson also earlier avoided Lewis when he was WBC champ after beating Bruno, decided to go after Bruce Seldon for the WBA belt instead. You are somewhat correct about Byrd, but I think that was more due to looking for a bigger payday, and don’t forget, Byrd had already gotten knocked out by Ibeabuchi, lost to Wlad Klitschko in 2000. Do you really think that Byrd would have beaten Lewis at that time? the case can be made only with Vitali Klitschko with the second fight where he was offered I believe around 20 million, and that is the only one. I used to even joke to people, before Holyfield fought Lewis, that Bowe, Tyson and Holyfield are hiding out in Holyfields chicken farm. Also to call fighters that beat him Journeymen fighters, and not naming them, Oliver McCall and Rachman is wrong. these guys were not journeymen fighters by any stretch of the imagination. McCall of course had some big mental problems, I could see that with his fight with Bruno, which he lost, as he did not even try to win that fight, and then he almost did the same thing with Holmes, having to rally in the end. But he did knock out Francesco Damiani, who nearly beat Ray Mercer, and was winning handily up to that time, and knocked out in one round, that Russian fighter, whose name escapes me, but beat Rachman twice. Rachman also knocked out a fighter, you say Lewis avoided in Corrie Sanders. Also, the Lewis loss to McCall was controversial at the time, as many questioned the stoppage. Rachman was schooling David Tua, when Tua landed a punch after the bell, which Rachman’s corner should have made a big stink about to allow there fighter to recover, and many thought that Rachman beat Tua the second time.

  136. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:00am, 10/07/2014

    Hello? Goddammit Hello? We’re not comparing apples and oranges here anymore as in Ali vs Tunney….now we’re comparing apples and apples! Christ! It’s as if the last fifteen years didn’t happen….I guess we’re not to trust our lying eyes in this alternate universe of Boxing.com….was there some kind of a time warp….WTF is going on here….Lennox Lewis and both Klitschkos would kick Larry’s ass right up onto his hateful, racist shoulders….let alone Ali in his prime or Foreman at his bludgeoning best….this is so much Birkenstock and hiking sox wearing, progressive horseshit!

  137. NYIrish 05:21am, 10/07/2014

    Ali was quicker. Faster feet and quicker left jab - right hand. Both were tough but Ali was more durable.  Much of Holmes skill was honed from his time sparring with Ali. Ali could pull out the deadening one punch KO when he needed one. I’m talking both in their prime. Been following boxing since Patterson - Liston 1. Saw Ali and Holmes up close. Think they are both greats but Ali by comfortable decision. Good thought provoking article.

  138. Eric 05:14am, 10/07/2014

    Holmes was a poor man’s Ali, which doesn’t mean he was a cheap imitation, just means that he wasn’t quite on the level with a prime Ali. Had Holmes been born a few years earlier and made his serious run in the early to mid ‘70’s, he probably wouldn’t have made it past the serious contender status. I think tuxtucis has an interesting take on a Holmes-Foreman matchup from that period, and I agree with him totally on Foreman over Holmes. Holmes would’ve been a notch below the Big Three, Ali-Frazier-Foreman, and a notch above the Quarrys, the Lyles, the Shavers. Norton and Holmes might have been on the same page back then, if anything Holmes ranking just slightly above a prime Norton.

  139. George Zelma 04:52am, 10/07/2014

    There are some qualities that defy logic and statistics—experts say Jeter was not the most gifted, but to me he was the best of his generation. Ali, in his prime was simply the best ever. Before his unfortunate hiatus, Ali was unstoppable, because he didn’t fight like a heavyweight—his hand speed and footwork were unprecedented in the heavyweight division. Holmes was great but not the greatest.

  140. Eric 04:31am, 10/07/2014

    You have to wonder had the decision for the Holmes-Norton fight gone to Norton rather than Holmes, what kind of effect would that have had on the careers of Holmes & Norton. Norton seemed to have aged over night following that loss to Holmes and of course Holmes went on to hold the title for 7 years. I always thought Norton did enough to pull out a victory in his fight with Holmes, and should have received the decision.

  141. tuxtucis 01:59am, 10/07/2014

    Well, simply I don’t think it’s possible to rate the greatest heavy of all-time the first man who lost his title by a light heavy: sure he was no more in his prime, but he was not so distant (while Ali was completely over the hill when lost to L.Spinks and Holyfield lost to Ruiz), as it showed by the fact some of his best victories (Mercer, McCall) were AFTER his forties. I don’t think he could have matched Frazier or Tyson at their best in no part of his career. And I don’t think toou he could have had good chances vs Foreman: don’t confuse Holmes with Jimmy Young. Holmes was never a pure counterpuncher as Young was and, mostly, never had the defensive ability of the prime Young.

  142. Carlos Torres 08:25pm, 10/06/2014

    Larry Holmes is one of the most underrated fighters of all time. Unfortunately, Holmes does not get credited for being one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. In his prime he could have beaten the best heavy weights of the past and of the present. With his jab along he would win fights and his power was greatly under valued. Not only did he have great offensive weapons but his ability to take and absorb punches was also underrated. I feel that Larry Holmes should be in the top five heavy weights of all time if not the best.

  143. bikermike 07:15pm, 10/06/2014

    OK…there’s a lot of very knowledgable posters on this site….far more that ESB.

    So..if you can contain focus upon HW Title holders After Joe Louis…

    I still think Holmes is in the top five…due to top caliber performance against the best of his time(some doubters here .can’t fight ‘em all at once)..
    ......I’m his biggest fan…but I thought Tillis had him…in a lethargic point count effort

  144. Lisa 07:08pm, 10/06/2014

    Beautifully written—taut, lyrical and elegant. Thanks as always for an excellent and edifying read.

  145. bikermike 06:51pm, 10/06/2014

    bobby clark…...would have..should have..could have

    If I would have been more humble ...I wouldn’t have got those thirty days or four thousand dollars in Sturgis .....

    Ali was boxing in his time..and he milked it a bit…and when his protege clawed his way up to the Title…Ali never gave Holmes his due…I’m happy to know that HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD ...LARRY HOLMES ..is financially secure..and healthy and happy…But the manner in which he has been referred to for his career is not fair…and it hurts him

  146. bikermike 06:40pm, 10/06/2014

    it’s true….some of the pelts on Holmes’ warlance don’t include Pinklon Thomas…Greg Page..Dokes and Coetzee///
    Can only fight ‘em one at a time…
    none of these guys put in the miles that Holmes did…day in and day out…lots of flash..but by the time ‘we got there’...burnt out

  147. bikermike 06:24pm, 10/06/2014

    Bobby Clark…...

    that ..A would have beaten B ..in their primes…is like…..my dad can beat your dad…thinking….*(respectfuly)
    ..some of the ratings given to the ‘greats’ ..has to be long term success due to dedication to the SPORT.
    .not many pictures of Holmes late at night…in awkward situations

  148. bikermike 06:13pm, 10/06/2014

    Eric…when it comes to rating Tyson…..God bless his soul…
    intangents
    Pro fighter…dedicated to his craft…yep..up intil Jimmy Jacobs went to that great handball court in the sky….
    ...after that…enter Don King..and it spiralled from there
    ...some poet wrote…

    I paraphrase…...Yes…I burn the candle at both ends…..and will flame out much sooner…..but what a fire it makes…
    Tyson didn’t ply his trade…for decades…aka Holmes…like a real fast car that blew up early in the race..with a five second lead….

    .....or ....a guy that always cums first in a circle jerk…but
    doesn’t finish first AND
    third….like holyfield type fighters did

    Tyson deserves his place…but not above guys like Holyfield…or Holmes

  149. bikermike 05:55pm, 10/06/2014

    either way…Norton or Cooney…Larry Holmes was the baddest man alive during his time

  150. bikermike 05:52pm, 10/06/2014

    Call it….Holmes vs Norton…...or Holmes vs Cooney…
    Norton ..by far the more worthy opponent…..Cooney ...was very profitable…and somebody forgot to send Holmes the memo ...that he was supposed to lose…..Holmes beat
    that man damned near to death that night….dispite the shots to the pills

  151. bikermike 05:44pm, 10/06/2014

    Eric…I always read your posts….really…and you got me pulling a brain muscle here….Just where woud Holyfield rate…in all of this.

    Holyfield…a natural Cruiser…beat up on Tyson cupla times..and went hammer and thong with Bowe and Lewis…(not size of the dog in the fight…but the fight in the dog…kinda things)  Holyfield is ...remarkable

  152. bikermike 05:33pm, 10/06/2014

    ....gotta love this author….

    ....‘Easton Assassins’ curse of history’...
    Bitch of a truth

    Holmes got that flag of HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD…...and NEVER LET IT FALL…
    He beat the Champ…and went out swinging…
    Holmes had the presence of mind to invest in what he knew….Easton…
    Gotta love HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD….LARRY HOLMES
    ..his quip….‘Reporter…How would you like to be remembered?  ..larry says….‘I would like to be remembered as the oldest LIVING Heavyweight Champion of the World !!’

  153. bikermike 05:24pm, 10/06/2014

    Holmes was as gifted and skilled as could be ...and he had warrior..in his heart and deed.
    Holmes showed up ...tight and trim against Kenny Norton…with a torn muscle in his arm he got during training…...Norton had to try and beat that man off him for fifteen rounds….and still couldn’t shake LARRY ..BIG CAT ....HOLMES…at the final bell ...upset decision ....Norton….lost to Holmes…(and he had)....
    Holmes went from there to be one of the greatest HW Title holders of all time…..Homes took the blows..but he made King $trillions…

  154. Paul.driscoll 05:23pm, 10/06/2014

    Hi how are you my name is Paul I`am a former sparring partner from Toronto,Ontario Canada.I would just like to say when most people talk about the pugilistic Heavyweight champions in History the ones that are most mentioned are Louis and Ali . Mr.Joe Louis who had a perfect stance who went to the head and body, but had a lack of dancing ability, Ali on the other hand was strictly a head hunter with a great left jab ,who could dance back peddling or lateral movement but rarely ever went to the body.Then came Mr.Holmes who I believe was truly the real greatest Heavyweight champion ever period, make no mistake about it, this man is the total package of Louis and Ali. Mr.Holmes has every punch that there has ever been in boxing ,a defense that either he would slip the punches or parry, roll or deflect .He did not cover up and stay in a shell he would counter punch every time a opponent made a move on him example: David Bey.With a piston like jab that he would triple up on, a right cross that was like a laser beam so straight, a uppercut that would snap his opponents head back with regulararity just ask Shavers. Mr.Holmes was ducked by a lot of fighter in the mid 1970`s but he wouldn’t` be denied Holmes had paid his dues By sparring hundred of rounds with Ali, and Frazier just to name a few and after winning the title from WBC Champion Kenny Norton in one of the greatest boxing matches ever, there was no stopping the “Easton Assassin” as champion 48-0-34 KO`s with twenty title defense over 7 1/2 years and in the top 5 of almost every category of boxing records this man cannot be denied his place in history is secure. After losing two controversy decisions to Undisputed Light Heavyweight Champion Michael Spinks When most so called experts said his career was over because of father time back in 1985, and again with almost two years off singing with the greats like the Temptations and Cool And The Gang and trying to make a quick come back in 2 to 4 months for 4 million dollars to box Mike Tyson the Champ could not shake off the ring rust in time ,so after Tyson 17 years younger won the match it seem like it was all over, and it would be time to say good bye. And now with some tune-ups under the Champions belt ,he was ready to challenge former WBO champion Ray Mercer who was striped of his title because of taken on Larry! “Or Larry would of been the WBO Champion” Now at 42 years of age Holmes wins, then challenges the Real Deal Holyfield 14 years younger ,again no one gave him a chance, Holmes loses a close fight by 40 punches on the computer punch stat. Holyfield couldn’t even KO a almost 43 year old man. Holyfield in his prime ! sure he look alot better in beating a 42 year old Foreman, but look at the different of how Foreman was puffed up staggered more then once ,easily out punched ,the only thing that kept Foreman in that fight was his big heart. As champion and after in too Holmes late 40`s ,the age of his opponents were from 22 to 28 years old .The pride this man shows in the ring is amazing that`s what keeps this 51 to 52 year old boxing Legends Champion today in the ring with rematch’s with Bonecrusher and Weaver and now his official retirement match of his career with Eric Esch ,where even at Larry’s age against a 36 year old man he`s still has enough to give Butterbean a boxing lesson! Unheard of in this level of boxing history has there been a handy cap like this! And it`s not for money because he needs it. It`s about the “Pride and Glory” and this man deserves everything that a champion should receive. And a family man that has morals and stands up for him self in and out of the ring. Mr.Larry Holmes should be respected as a great heavyweight champion, in the history of heavyweight boxing there has never been two back to back champion like Ali and Holmes with very similar styles ! and for people who want to ignore Mr.Holmes greatness in the ring because Ali came first is crazy.“Example”:Elvis came before Tom Jones “he Elvis did alot of things out side of singing, like movies, going to the army where Ali would not go to the army, but when it came down to singing on stage ,Tom Jones vocal ability carrying a note at the end of a song was way more powerful then Elvis”. And the same basically is the same for Legendary Mr.Larry Holmes. God Bless you Mr.Holmes from your friend Paul “little Holmes"Driscoll. 
    ————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————WOW!!!!!! Thanks for the great public relations plug. The check is in the mail. (just kidding) 
    I appreciate your support and I hope to return to Toronto soon. 

    Larry Holmes !

  155. bikermike 05:12pm, 10/06/2014

    Larry ‘BIG CAT’ Holmes was the last of the big ..mobile…great boxier/punchers .....shortly after his time….Champion fights went to 12 rounds…and in came the bio logical experiments with trees and large oxen…and boxers….everyone was over two fifty ..and closing in on seven feet…
    Holmes was reemed b;y judges with Michael Spinks decision(s)...but Holmes was king…when he was Champ…
    His foray with Tyson was for the money…same as Ali with Holmes..for the money.. Few boxing greats leave when it is time to do so

  156. Bobby Clark 03:30pm, 10/06/2014

    ali would have kicked larry’s ass !

  157. peter 03:24pm, 10/06/2014

    Ranking Holmes as #1 heavyweight champion is almost heretical. However, it’s a gutsy opinion that I respect, and it is well fleshed-out in this excellent article. Berlin’s opinion, although not my own, has merit.  On a good night I can see Holmes beating Ali, Tyson, Louis, Dempsey, Johnson, et. al….This article is a perfect exemplar of a writer being influenced by the era of his youth. That’s not a knock.

  158. Darrell 02:52pm, 10/06/2014

    We are obviously the same vintage Adam Berlin.  I too remember watching Ali’s fights on the box in the late 60’s, early 70’s with my dad, his mates and several crates and flagons of beer.  My brother and I would keep the vinyl records playing and steal the odd glass of beer….ahhh, those were the days!

    I admire, and rank Holmes highly too, at least top 6.  He had skills man, not many had them in as much abundance as Larry amongst the big men…...fuck he schooled plenty of guys and looked silky smooth doing it too, mostly.

    I see someone ranking Lennox Lewis in the 20’s?  Top 3 for mine, no doubts whatsoever.  Only Louis longevity, stunning short range two-fisted KO power, and Ali’s speed & fluidity of foot and hand…..and intelligence of both, keep them above Lewis.  Lewis had the power and intelligence but his feet were like anchors.

  159. Eric 11:12am, 10/06/2014

    I rank Holmes at #13 right below Holyfield at #12 and Frazier at #11. Hard time with Holyfield, Marciano, & Frazier, all 3 are all but tied IMO. @Barry, I have to disagree with you on Holmes not having a great chin, however. Holmes had a solid, if not great chin. The shots he absorbed from Snipes and Shavers would’ve decked anyone. Holmes’s chin stood up to shots from Shavers and Cooney, two of the hardest hitting heavyweights ever. I rank Tyson in the top 10, but a prime Holmes had the right style, height and reach, to beat a prime Tyson. Styles make fights, so while I rank Tyson higher, I would favor a prime Holmes to beat Tyson. Holmes had a ton of heart, I can’t take that from Larry, while heart was Mike’s biggest flaw. No way do I see a prime Holmes beating a prime Ali though.

  160. Barry 09:46am, 10/06/2014

    nicolas…i was agreeing with most of what you say, then i came across your Top Four… Lewis??? , i could not have Lennox Lewis in my Top 20 never mind Top 4.. Lewis avoided every fighter who was “At the Top of their Game” throughout the 1990s-2003. Holmes 93, Witherspoon 95, Hide 95, Moorer 96, Foreman 95, Tyson 96, Bowe 92 & 95, Holyfield 94, Sanders 94-99, Ruiz 98-01, Byrd 99-01, Wlad 98-03, Vitali 03. Lewis was stripped of all three title belts for refusing to fight the No1 contenders. Lewis was also poleaxed TWICE by mediocre journeyman fighters…. Kurt..i agree 100% with you in that Holmes best weapon was his left thumb. Holmes was also a very fortunate winner on several occasions, getting Gift decisions over. Carl Williams and Tim Witherspoon as well as being fortunate against James Smith.

  161. Sandra Hunter 09:35am, 10/06/2014

    Adam is the boxer’s writer: thoughtful, observant and incisive.
    I read this twice for the pure pleasure of the word “fistic”.

  162. nicolas 09:24am, 10/06/2014

    Holmes was a great fighter, but not a great champion. Yes he defended the title many times, but his reign was littered with more people who did not deserve the title shot than did. He barely beat Norton, and then never gave him a rematch, instead choosing to fight the likes of Alfredo Evangelistia, Ossie Occasio. His comment during an interview at I believe was the US Open Tennis championship was regarding Norton, He’ll have to wait in line like everyone else. the only reason he fought Shavers a second time was because the WBC ordered it after Shavers beat Norton. After defeating Tilm Witherspoon by split decision, he also never gave Witherspoon a rematch. Yet Michael Spinks gave the nasty (Rocky Marciano couldn’t carry my bootstraps) Holmes a rematch. He also as mentioned, never fought Michael Dokes, nor Greg Page, perhaps the first one due to Don King, who was too prevalent in the heavyweight division at the title. He was supposed to fight Gerry Coetzee, after Coetzee had knocked out Michael Dokes, but strangely due to the promoter not being able to secure the money, that fight never happened. Amazing also, that in his comeback years, proposed fight, but never happened with George Foreman. That Ali would not have gotten under Holmes’ skin is also something I have to disagree with. Anyone who at his early 40’s or late 30’s, who gets up on a car and tries to jump on top of a crazy Trevor Berbick, shows some could get under his skin, and Ali would certainly have succeeded. Of course I think that Holmes admitted later that was perhaps the most stupidest things he ever did, at he landed on a police officer present at the time, jail time for Larry perhaps. He now has finally mellowed as a older person, and I have him at number four all time great heavyweight, behind Ali, Lewis, Louis.

  163. Kurt 09:11am, 10/06/2014

    Larry Holmes avoided, refused to fight Gerrie Coetzee, Greg Page, Mike Dokes and Pinklon Thomas. They were some tough customers. His best weapon in the Ring, was his left thumb.

  164. Eric 06:42am, 10/06/2014

    Holmes actually avoided fighters if I remember correctly. He never fought Greg Page, and avoided Pinklon Thomas.

  165. Eric 06:40am, 10/06/2014

    Shavers was 34 years old when he fought Holmes in ‘79, and had a lot of mileage on him. He was pushing 33 when he fought Holmes in ‘78.

  166. Barry 05:01am, 10/06/2014

    Adam.. You come across as a guy who is roughly the same age as myself. i am 54yr old for the record. i followed boxing closely from the age of 16yrs and Holmes career is my No1 subject. Larry Holmes was a very decent fighter, but not a great fighter. Much is spoken by boxing fans of Holmes fantastic jab, but the reality is that Holmes jab was poor compared to how great Muhammad Ali’s jab and Sonny Liston’s jab. Holmes tried to mimic Ali throughout his career, yet never pulled it off. Holmes was vulnerable when fighting on his toes, “Shavers, Arrington, Tyson & Snipes all clattered him” as he imitated his hero Muhammad Ali. When Larry fought “flat-footed” was when he was at his best. But always vulnerable to a big hitter. Holmes jab is mentioned over and over by boxing fans, yet it’s forgotten that he was “Out-Jabbed” for 30rds by Michael Spinks, out-jabbed by Carl Williams, James Smith & the then novice Tim Witherspoon.. Holmes never had a great chin, as Renaldo Snipes proved. imagine Foreman & Frazier hitting his chin with their best shot. Larry Holmes vs Ken Norton was a Classic fight for the title back in 1978, a fight i have watched a dozen times. Yet each time i watched it, i have Norton edging the decision. Larry Holmes fails to make the list of All Time Top Heavyweights, in my book. i see Holmes losing to Ali, Frazier, Dempsey, Foreman, Bowe, Louis, Tyson,  Holyfield, Douglas, Liston by knock out. with several other former champions being good enough on their best night to whip Holmes over the distance. Holmes after his loss to Mike Tyson, went 21-3 and was a better fighter during that era of his career, than he was pre Tyson. slower but better. being able to last the distance against a near prime Holyfield, was a great performance, yet i would fancy Holyfield to beat any version of Holmes. But to base Larry Holmes career around how good he used his jab, against mediocre journeymen like Evangelista, Zanon, Shavers, Cobb & Berbick. does not make him into an all time great fighting machine, capable of licking Dempsey, Frazier, Foreman and Muhammad Ali.. Holmes was a good fighter, but far from the best.

  167. Clarence George 04:00am, 10/06/2014

    “I believe Joe Louis would have struggled with Holmes.”  So do I—struggled to have helped him to his feet.

  168. The Flea 03:38am, 10/06/2014

    Well written and well thought out.

    But a bizarre opinion to flout in my opinion.

  169. Matt McGrain 03:21am, 10/06/2014

    “Because more people know or think they know heavyweight boxing
    Whatever I agree or disagree with her, prepare yourself to be quoted.”
    Brother, you said.  But that’s also what often makes it fun.
    Whatever I agree or disagree with here, prepare to be quoted.

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