Thirty Years Ago Today: Tex Cobb Meets Larry Holmes

By Sharon Cobb on November 26, 2012
Thirty Years Ago Today: Tex Cobb Meets Larry Holmes
The day of the fight was the usual blend of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. (Jeffro Kilpatrick)

Although the fight looked like a train wreck and Cosell was calling for it to be stopped, Tex told me wasn’t hurt at all…

I don’t recall any fight in history quite as one-sided as Larry Holmes vs. Randall “Tex” Cobb. In one corner you had Holmes, aka The Easton Assassin, longtime heavyweight champion with a perfect 40-0 record. In the other corner you had a cowboy from Texas with no amateur background, who had fought only 80 rounds (not 80 fights), but had rounds of life experience by the time he found his way in the ring, fighting for the heavyweight title.

To say it was premature is an understatement. The late Paul Clinite was hungry for a Great White Hope, but Tex was less Great White Hope than great white entertainer, particularly in boxing with its stereotype of gangsters who pimped out their fighters. Still, before he fought Holmes, Tex had stopped Earnie Shavers and lost a split decision to Ken Norton in 1980, and never had an ounce of leather laid on him prior to turning pro.

Unfortunately, for the most part the “pimps” didn’t care about the fighters; just about how many rounds their whores could go at the expense of how much blood they left on the canvas. In Tex’s case, it was a lot. That’s the bad news. The good news is it looked worse than it was. It’s true that Tex’s words after the fight were “Let’s party.” I know. He said them to me. He said them to two other women as well, but I’ll get to that in a moment.

Let me digress and give you a behind-the-scenes look at what happened leading up to this fight. You won’t hear a story quite like this again.

It was Thanksgiving time, and a lot of the crew were cranky about being away from home for the holidays. No one was more vocal about his displeasure than Howard Cosell, who was the most annoying sportscaster I ever met.

As we were getting in the elevator at the Houston Astrodome where the fight was being held, Howard turned to Tex and said, “My wife called, and is upset that I am away for Thanksgiving.”

Without missing a beat, Tex turned to Howard and said, “That’s funny, she called me and thanked me.”

Yep. Meet Tex Cobb. My ex-husband.

Tex wasn’t going to let getting in the ring stop him from getting everything he could on the dinner table, including a bird, mashed potatoes, sweet potato pie, greens, and pecan pie, not to mention the table itself, along with the straws.

Tex liked his drugs. I won’t mention what they were here, because Tex doesn’t work and makes a living the best he can from being litigious. But let me say most people would have been in cardiac arrest from what he did, let alone fight 15 rounds against Larry Holmes.

Not known to me at the time, he had two other fiancés there. Tex and I were engaged; Priscilla, his long suffering girlfriend of eight years was there; and Kathy, his pregnant soon-to-be first wife was there too. None one of us knew about the other, so Tex was going back and forth from room to room, having dinner with all of us and doing things with all of us that fighters aren’t supposed to do the night before a big fight. Indeed, it was easy to forget we weren’t on vacation, and that we were in Houston for a reason.

Yep. That was my husband, Tex Cobb.

I’m not sure how he juggled who was going to sit next to his mother at the fight, but Priscilla was the closest, or so I hear. I couldn’t watch the fight past the fourth round, so it doesn’t matter. Kathy was braver than I, so she deserves bragging rights.

The day of the fight, it was the usual blend of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, and several hours before the opening bell his trainers, managers, and mostly hangers-on came and got him. I suspect to take him to Kathy or Priscilla’s room, but don’t know for sure.

At the fight, it wasn’t long before my heart was beating irregularly, and we could all hear Cosell like a knife being turned in our backs each time he opened his mouth. I left for a round or two, just to get back in time to see Tex walking to the wrong corner. Tex swore he wasn’t hurt and was just confused as to which corner was his. I’ll take his word for it.

Although the fight looked like a train wreck and Cosell was calling for it to be stopped, Tex told me he wasn’t hurt at all. I assume most of you reading this know boxing and understand weight shift, and for some reason Larry didn’t have any power behind his punches. When you watch the fight again, look at Holmes’ legs. Look at him when he throws a right hand. It’s almost as if he’s saying, “Here, hold this.” At times, it’s almost like he is leaning backwards when throwing a punch. So as bad as it looked, it was, according to Tex, more like getting slapped than getting punched. I count my blessings for that, because had Holmes been on his game, it could have turned out very differently.

Tex unceremoniously dumped Priscilla and eventually married Kathy, Kathy dumped Tex after she quit drugs and had two beautiful boys (sadly, one of them was killed in a car accident), and Tex tracked me down in Nashville. I thought he should be in the movies and became his manager, and it wasn’t long before we were married, and stayed married for ten years. Then he went and ran off with a punk rocker with purple hair. How could I compete with that?

So that is the story of Tex and Sharon Cobb, Tex and boxing, Tex and women, Tex and drugs, the story of the most unique man I’ve ever known.

For all the insanity and lies and whatnot, he remains my husband in my heart, and I hope he is happy and well.

Sharon Cobb is the former Southeast Correspondent for MSNBC Online, documentary filmmaker and press writer for Al Gore in his bid for President in 1999, a disc jockey and sportswriter, a book editor and, her most insane job, manager of Tex Cobb.

She can be reached at: misssharoncobb@aol.com

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Larry Holmes vs Tex Cobb - 1/4



Larry Holmes vs Tex Cobb - 2/4



Larry Holmes vs Tex Cobb - 3/4



Larry Holmes vs Tex Cobb - 4/4



Uncommon Valor (1983) Reb Brown & Randall "Tex" Cobb KillCount



Earnie Shavers vs Tex Cobb http://bigpunchers.blogspot.com/



Earnie Shavers vs Tex Cobb part 2



Earnie Shavers vs Tex Cobb part 3



Earnie Shavers vs Tex Cobb part 4



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  1. Tate "Maddog" WIlliams 10:02am, 09/11/2013

    I think the best of Tex line was, “You now Howard Cossell retired from doing professional boxing after seeing you beaten so badly by Larry Holmes?” Tex fired back,“I will fight him agian if he quits doing Monday Night Football.” Loved that. Tate

  2. bikermike 03:40pm, 02/11/2013

    Randall ‘Tex’ Cobb gave us something nobody else could do for fight fans….....he got rid of Howard Cssell…....and we must always be grateful to Cobb for that…....it cost Cobb an ass whomping…

  3. bikermike 03:36pm, 02/11/2013

    Sharon Cobb….

    I enjoyed your article…your insight….and ......let’s face it….ten years with ‘Tex’ would be enough to fill a library of stories . 

    Easy to love…but easier to hate….it’s what they say about Irishmen…and ....I’m sure there is a verse in that song…..just for Randall “TEX” Cobb.

    Sharon….I , among many fight fans….would like to read another ...and another….and even more articles from you…..

    Don’ t just give me Tex stories…but they are always good…..I’d like to hear your thoughts on Pro Boxing…now and in the future…

    Great article Sharon…..keep ‘em coming

    ONE OF THE FUNNIEST LINES EVER DELIVERED FROM ONE FIGHTER TO ANOTHER…WAS WHEN BELL RANG FOR END OF ROUND SEVEN…...FOR COBB CHALLENGE HOLMES…......COBB SPITS OUT HIS MOUTHPIECE…AND SHOUTS…..WHAT’S THE MATTER LARRY ??????  HANDS SORE ????

    Cobb gave Boxing fans a lot of entertaining moments…in and out of the ring…..tuff fkr…..like Ali…kept his weight down by being engaged to three ladies at the same time….for years…

    Great interview…;.but Sharon could do a better job than anybody ....to share Cobb stories…about this lovable fighter…

  4. Sharon Cobb 10:36am, 12/24/2012

    Liam,

    So sorry for not getting back sooner. Like everyone else, December is a crazy time.

    I am writing a book, and Part One (It is in three parts) is all about Tex and me.

    I don’t know if he is writing a book on his own, but it’s well known I am writing my memoirs, so it’s probably what you heard about.

    I can’t decide to write about ALL of it, you know, the good the bad the ugly, or just leave in the funnier things about him/us.  Tex was (is?) very duplicitous, and one day he could be getting high all day, and the next holding a bible study at our home.  He would take off for weeks on crack and meth, or, he could be preaching to fans and invite them home.  We even had a fan from England fly over to meet him.  His loyalty to his fans was better than any celebrity I know.  Willie Nelson kidnapped us while we were making a film, Bob Dylan worked out with Tex,  I have no idea why Jon Bon Jovi was in our living room.  This is stuff I need to include, but there are very ugly things about him and I don’t want to ruin any illusions for his fans, and am confused whether to include it all, or keep it sugarcoated.  He was a lousy father, a serial cheater, a drug abuser and things like that on the other side of the coin,  And I don’t want to ruin the image for his fans, or for him for that matter, but it is my memoir and a major part of my life, and I feel like I am being dishonest if I don’t include the ugly parts of both of us.  I dunno.  I’d value your feedback and any other Tex fans.  If nothing else, I think both sides of him should be presented—keep it balanced.

    So all opinions are welcomed. (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)) and in the subject line please put boxing or Tex; Whatever the book turns out to be, it will be honest, but I just don’t want to sound like “the bitter ex-wife,” yet I want to keep it real, I just don’t know how much and how real.  Again, feedback is not only welcome, but needed.

    Thank you, Liam, and again, please forgive how long it took to get back to you.

    I hope you and yours have a wonderful and blessed holiday. (And hope we all aren’t going off the fiscal cliff!)

    Again, happy holidays!

    Sharon Cobb

  5. Liam 08:44am, 12/06/2012

    I recall hearing about Tex having “written” a book and how most boxing writers loved to quote from it - particuarly for comedy value.

    But I’ve never been able to find anything when I google it.

    Anyone know whether he did indeed write an autobiography, ghost-written or otherwise?

  6. the thresher 10:31am, 12/01/2012

    Sharon, even though Tex lost twice to Dokes, he seemed to have a lot of respect and fondness for Michael, Can you comment on that?

  7. THE THRESHER 01:49pm, 11/30/2012

    Thanks, SC

  8. Sharon Cobb 10:16am, 11/30/2012

    The Thresher- You hit the nail on the head.  He surrounds himself with people who perpetuate the myths of Tex Cobb, and while he it might be fair to compare him to the Max Baer of the ‘80s,  the legend was bigger than the myth. 
    For whatever reason,  EVERYTHING I have ever read (except here) on his birthday shows it in May or another incorrect date, and usually 1950.  To be sure, it is Dec. 10, 1953.  I don’t know why he changed it or fans changed it, but almost all public records give another date, except, of course, the one that counts, which can be gotten in public records in Orange County, Texas. Take it to the bank:  Dec 10, 1953 is his DOB.  The shooting flaming arrows in college in Abilene is true if you ever hear that one, but one that will surprise you that is true is he was a theology major, and knew a lot about the bible. (That’s when I knew he could act.)  He attended Abilene Christian, and when we’d play bible trivia, he’d kick my butt.  I’d kick his in Beatles. We made a good team on trivial pursuit and spades.  FYI, for a little more trivia, we could play hearts all night long, and often did. He could remember every card played, so he was hard to beat there as well.  Now, running around a gravity ridden wheel at a carnival in Rome is true, because I was trying to get out of my cage to pull him in, as was Rowdy Roddy Piper’s wife. They were crawling on the outside of the cages trying to spar.  Another story for the frture.  So with both of us it was hard to tell fact from fiction. One had to be there. I will also say this; on the boxing circuit, Tim ‘Doc’ Anderson, who killed Rick ‘Elvis’ Parker, was the sanest of everyone, for whatever that is worth.  Everyone who was a witness at my wedding is dead, (Rick Parker and Joe Derrick) or in jail (Tim Anderson) so my marriage certificate is not the most romantic. I would suggest y’all get a copy of it because it’s a collector’s item. I think it was the Ormond Beach Courthouse,  You can get it for 10 or 20 dollars.  Maybe it was another beach, but it was at Rick Parker’s house, and easy enough to find.  Another story, Tex’s goons kicked me out of the limo to hitchhike on highway 95 after the wedding.  I stayed in the basement of Doug and Joyce Douglas, who lost everything by putting up 50 thousand on Tex’s word that Ron Weathers would pay them back. (Weathers used the money to start George Foreman’s career again and Doug never saw a penny of the money) so that one is true, and Ron threatened to kill people if we talked about it, so that’s as far as I can go on that…well…except watch the Michael Moorer and Foreman fight carefully from 93 or 94 carefully.  ..................... X   Just saying…..or not saying…..
    So much insanity, so little time….

  9. Sharon Cobb 09:44am, 11/30/2012

    Mike Schmidt-It’s my understanding he graduated Cum Laude, but I am not sure.  I’ve heard sports management to marketing.  I’ve also heard from his friends in Abeline he is begging them for money, so it sounds like the same Tex that doesn’t want to work. with or without a degree.  I will say this:  Tex was unusually bright; much more so than one would expect for a boxer, and being very competitive, he’d make good grades.  Whenever we’d [lay a trivia game or get in a conversation, he would hold his own with the best.  Now, he sucked at pop culture. I was trying to fill him in on who Bob Dylan is when we were walking to his dressing room and I was having a mini meltdown because music is my life, and meeting Waylon (which he later did because Waylon was a friend of mine before Tex came to Nashville) then meet Bob Dylan. (Remind me y’all to tell you both the Dylan story and the waking Waylon up in recovery story after heart surgery.)

  10. THE THRESHER 06:09am, 11/30/2012

    Mike Schmidt, NOT SURE THAT’S CORRECT. HE GRADUATED WITH A DEGREE IN SPORTS MANAGEMENT OR SOMETHING AKIN AND HAD SOLID GRADES BUT NOT Magna Cum Laude. Tex seemed to attach himself to many myths started by his adoring fans. Few ever had the temerity to challenge them for fear they might run into Tex in a Philly bar. SHARON CAN CLARIFY. I never met him. Wish I had. Sounds like a one-of-a-kind.

  11. Pete The Sneak 06:03am, 11/29/2012

    Ahh..It’s good to be back. Hope everyone is well. I’ve missed Boxing.com, but I see that Ecksel and Company have not missed a beat. Ms. Cobb, thank you for a truly entertaining and personal write up on Tex Cobb. Man, this is incredible stuff and you tell it so honestly and direct without rancor or being judgmental. It appears you also have a biting wit that must have been an absolute howl when you both were in sync. Thanks again for sharing and I agree with Thresher, would be great to see you on that Boxing.com writers list going forward. By the by, my favorite Tex movie moment was when he was grappling with Jim Carrey over the little dog in Ace Ventura, Pet Detective. Heck, I even saw him get into it with Al Bundy in Married With Children..LOL….Great stuff…Peace.

  12. Mike Schmidt 01:17pm, 11/28/2012

    Irish my understanting, and perhaps Sharon can confirm, is that the big man graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2008 from Temple University—pretty darn impressive for a guy that got hit in the Temple a lot!!!!!!!!

  13. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo (aka) Gimpel 11:49am, 11/28/2012

    Sharon Cobb-Thanx for the up close and personal look into the life and times of a very complicated dude. I’ve always suspected that on top of or underneath everything else that he was a highly intelligent human being.

  14. Sharon Cobb 08:55pm, 11/27/2012

    Hi Mike,
    First, thank you for the kind words. Second, I want to hear more on the two hundred thousand!  I never heard thar one, but I do know his managers (Ron, Bruce, Bobby Joe—no last names to protect myself) took his money as he’d only end up with a little bit of the purse. (Holmes fight, one million purse, said he made 100 thousand after everyone got paid.) Would love to hear the truth! Sharon

  15. Mike Schmidt 06:07pm, 11/27/2012

    “I thought the judges’ decision had ended my fight with Cobb. But I had one final encounter with him. That night at the hotel, Cobb wanted to settle things in the lobby ‘mano a mano’ and frankly, he scared the piss out of me. I wanted no part of him, and the only thing I could do was to call the cops, which I did. I later discovered that the reason why Cobb was so disgruntled over my victory was that because he had bet his entire purse of $200,000 on himself.”—Ken Norton, “Going the Distance.”

  16. Mike Casey 11:02am, 11/27/2012

    Sharon, you write very well!

  17. l pearce 07:34am, 11/27/2012

    i watced the fight holms v cobb never seen cobb before, what i would like to say is there is not many a boxer with more guts and determination than cobb. the comments by the anouncer before the fight i thought where ungrounded, on about him having no amateur fights. one could not tell unless one knew about his history. i am an ex-boxer myself 14 years of it and thought he put up a damn good show . Len

  18. the thresher 06:55am, 11/27/2012

    Your post was more interesting than most articles.

  19. Mike Schmidt 06:35am, 11/27/2012

    Great read on a great entertainer—Kenny Norton mentioned that Tex was certainly a guy that you did not want to meet in a street scrap—love the write up!!!

  20. Sharon Cobb 05:28am, 11/27/2012

    Thresher—Thank you for the kind comments.  I am going to try to write more for boxing.com.  It’s fun to hear about what goes on behind the scenes, and I’m thinking about doing a story on the time I was producing a rap record on Shavers, Dokes and Tex.  Insanity ensued.  Shavers was the nicest boxer I ever met.  I guess a man who could knock down a building with on punch can afford to be that nice.  And Dokes.  As quick as he was, he could do what he wanted before anyone noticed.  Fastest hands I ever saw.  Then my husband.  Tex was just Tex and he got away with a lot for just being himself..  As they say, “We live in interesting times.”

    Hi Jason—I, too, love Raising Arizona.  To get the part, he had to tell the producers he knew how to ride a motorcycle.  Although he looks like a biker, he had never ridden a bike in his life before the movie.  The first day of shooting hr broke his shoulder, had surgery and was back on the set a few days later.  And in between surgery and Raising Arizona, he was making Critical Condition with Richard Prior and Golden Child with Eddie Murphy.  In both, you can see him holding his belt loop on his right side because he couldn’t move his right arm well, and a stunt double was used for the motorcycle parts on Raising Arizona.  He was drugged out of his mind on all three of those films, but in fairness to him, he broke his shoulder and only took a day or two off for surgery..  He had a proclivity to getting hurt on movie sets more than in the ring.  Go figure.\

    Raxman-I think his role in Uncommon Valor was his best.  He was wonderful in it, and though those of us who cared and wanted his movie career to continue (Hollywood was calling us, we didn’t have to look after that film), Tex had some blood hungry boxing managers named Joe (the main sane one) and others who wanted him to box, and had Tex convinced he could still get a title fight so Tex blew it in the sense he had Hollywood in his hands, and walked away to box when his boxing days were clearly over and Hollywood loved him, which was a lucky break, except I had to go on locations with him because Producers wanted me on the set to make sure he learned his lines and stayed semi straight.  That wasn’t very good for our marriage, but it was the only way he could have a movie career.  I’ve yet to meet a boxer when he laid down the leather when it was time to do so..  We could have had it all in terms of Hollywood, but he couldn’t let go of boxing and was always on a “come back” road.  In 87, he fought in states with almost no commission and would fight one fight one night next to the next fight.  He’d fight 4 fights in a month….against the rules.  We were traveling the country with Mouse Strauss, who had been knocked out on every continent, and was one of the funniest people I ever met.  We were traveling with Tim ‘Doc’ Anderson, who shot and killed the promoter, Rick Parker.  (To this day I believe Tim when he says he was poisoned, and I will be glad to testify for him if he gets a new trial)  He is in jail in Florida, and there is a wonderful book out on this called ‘Year of the Locust,’ written by Jon Hotten.  Jon did his research and he comes the closest to nailing what really happens in boxing.  It’s going to be a movie.  All that said, I wouldn’t be afraid to let Tim use my guest room.  He’s not a killer in the true sense.  I believe him when he says Rick Parker poisoned him, (Tex was there and on the phone with me) and the people who went after fixed fights will hopefully revisit Rick Parker and what he did to Tim. and others.  But Tim wouldn’t hurt anyone and needs to get out of jail, and like I said, I’d be glad to put him up.  Stay tuned.  This is still a work in process, and the movie might get Tim out of jail.  Senator John McCain is aware of all of it and he is still interested in the case….so it’s not over till it’s over.  Do get Jon’s book the movie is based on.  It’s accurate.

    But back to Sailor.  I think that was his best character to date.  He didn’t take a sober breath through the entire shoot.  He’s like Ozzy Osbourne and Kieth Richards; you just scratch your head and ask “How does this guy do it?”

  21. raxman 07:55pm, 11/26/2012

    My favourite tex acting moment is in uncommon valour as Sailor - squaring up against a young pat swayze who has just chucked Sailor around using army ju jitsu - Sailor: “boy, using that orential martial bullshit on me is gonna cost you a whole can of whomp ass!!” cue a can of whomp ass all over dirty dancing man

  22. Jason 06:45pm, 11/26/2012

    I love hearing stories about this dude. I remember when I was little, he scared the daylights out of me every time I watched Raising Arizona. My dad would point out many times to me that he was once a boxer. I guess he thought that would make me feel better since I liked boxing even at that young age.

    Great story, Ms Cobb. Sorry it didn’t work out for you two.

  23. the thresher 05:58pm, 11/26/2012

    Gosh, I sure hope this wonderful writer joins Boxing.com. What an enjoyable and refreshingly candid account of a very interesting dude.

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