Larry Holmes was an American former professional boxer, who became world heavyweight champion for seven years, from 1978 until 1985. He was born on November 3, 1949, in Cuthbert, Georgia, and grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania, which led to his boxing nickname, the "Easton Assassin."
Holmes' professional boxing career spanned more than 29 years, from 1973 to 2002. He fought a total of 75 times, winning 69, with 44 of those wins coming via knockout. He was defeated six times, five of them in title bouts, and won two world titles at heavyweight. Holmes retired from professional boxing with a record of 69-6, which included 44 knockout wins and one loss via knockout. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame (IBHOF) in 2008.
Holmes was among the very best of his generation and is frequently ranked as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. His left jab is often rated among the best in heavyweight boxing history, and in addition to holding the WBC heavyweight title from 1978 to 1983, he held the Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight titles from 1980 to 1985 and the inaugural IBF heavyweight title from 1983 to 1985.
After compiling an amateur record of 19–3, Holmes turned professional on March 21, 1973, winning a four-round decision against Rodell Dupree. Early in his career, he worked as a sparring partner for Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, Earnie Shavers, and Jimmy Young. Holmes gained his first championship in June 1978 when he defeated WBC heavyweight champion Ken Norton via a 15 round split-decision.
In his first two title defenses, Holmes easily knocked out Alfredo Evangelista and Ossie Ocasio. His third title defense was a tough one. On June 22, 1979, Holmes faced future WBA Heavyweight Champion Mike Weaver, who was lightly regarded going into the fight sporting an uninspiring 19–8 record. After ten tough rounds, Holmes dropped Weaver with a right uppercut late in round eleven. In the twelfth, Holmes immediately went on the attack, backing Weaver into the ropes and pounding him with powerful rights until the referee stepped in and stopped the fight.
Three months later, on September 28, 1979, Holmes had a rematch with Earnie Shavers, who got a title shot by knocking out Norton in one round. Holmes dominated the first six rounds, but in the seventh, Shavers sent Holmes down with a devastating overhand right. Holmes got up, survived the round and went on to punish Shavers in the eleventh round, and the referee stopped the fight.
After eight consecutive knockouts, Holmes was forced to go the distance when he successfully defended his title against future WBC Heavyweight Champion Trevor Berbick on April 11, 1981. In his next fight, two months later, Holmes knocked out former Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Leon Spinks in three rounds. On November 6, 1981, Holmes rose from a seventh-round knockdown, during which he staggered into the turnbuckle, to stop Renaldo Snipes in the eleventh.
In his next fight, Holmes defended his title against Gerry Cooney, the undefeated #1 contender, and an Irish-American, on June 11, 1982. The lead-up to the fight had many racial overtones, with promoter Don King and others hyping Cooney as the "Great White Hope." Holmes said that if Cooney wasn't white, he would not be getting the same purse as the champion. Although Cooney tried to deflect questions about race, members of his camp wore shirts that said "Not the White Man, but the Right Man." In their fight previews, Sports Illustrated and Time put Cooney on their covers, with profiles and interviews inside.
Holmes dominated Cooney, inflicting severe punishment throughout the fight, before stopping him in round 13. The bout, regarded by some boxing critics as a "Fight of the Year" candidate, was held before approximately 30,000 spectators at Caesars Palace, including celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone of Rocky fame, who referred to the bout as "the greatest fight I've ever seen in my life."
Despite this victory, Holmes found those in the boxing world were eager to see him fight again, specifically to compete against Michael Spinks, against whom he had a bout in 1985. In that loss, Holmes showed signs of his age, losing some of the quickness and energy which had earlier made him so formidable. Although he was able to score some effective punches against Spinks, they were too few and too late in a bout which Spinks dominated. Holmes lost the twenty-first bout of his career to Spinks, both a significant defeat and a crucial moment in his career.
Holmes retired after losing the rematch to Spinks the following year but made repeated comebacks, attempting to regain the heavyweight title in four further fights but was unsuccessful. His last professional fight was a non-title bout against fellow American boxer Eric Esch on July 27, 2002, in which he won via 10 round unanimous decision. It's been 20 years, 8 months, and 4 days since this fight.
Larry Holmes was known for his great performances in his fights, including his win against Muhammad Ali, who he defeated via TKO in the 10th round at Caesars Palace in 1980. He also defeated the likes of Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers, Leon Spinks, Marvis F
Larry Holmes Fight Record
|75||Jul 27, 2002||52||Eric Esch||Win||UD|
|74||Nov 17, 2000||51||Mike Weaver||Win||TKO6|
|73||Jun 18, 1999||49||James Smith||Win||TKO8|
|72||Jul 29, 1997||47||Maurice Harris||Win||SD|
|71||Jan 24, 1997||47||Brian Nielsen||Loss||SD|
|70||Jun 16, 1996||46||Anthony Willis||Win||KO8|
|69||Apr 16, 1996||46||Quinn Navarre||Win||UD|
|68||Jan 9, 1996||46||Curtis Sheppard||Win||KO4|
|67||Sep 19, 1995||45||Ed Donaldson||Win||UD|
|66||Apr 8, 1995||45||Oliver McCall||Loss||UD|
|65||Sep 8, 1994||44||Jesse Ferguson||Win||UD|
|64||Mar 8, 1994||44||Garing Lane||Win||UD|
|63||Sep 28, 1993||43||José Ribalta||Win||UD|
|62||May 18, 1993||43||Paul Poirier||Win||RTD6|
|61||Apr 13, 1993||43||Ken Lakusta||Win||RTD7|
|60||Mar 9, 1993||43||Rocky Pepeli||Win||RTD4|
|59||Jan 5, 1993||43||Everett Martin||Win||UD|
|58||Jun 19, 1992||42||Evander Holyfield||Loss||UD|
|57||Feb 7, 1992||42||Ray Mercer||Win||UD|
|56||Nov 12, 1991||42||Jamie Howe||Win||TKO1|
|55||Sep 17, 1991||41||Art Card||Win||UD|
|54||Aug 24, 1991||41||Michael Greer||Win||KO4|
|53||Aug 13, 1991||41||Eddie Gonzales||Win||UD|
|52||Apr 7, 1991||41||Tim Anderson||Win||TKO1|
|51||Jan 22, 1988||38||Mike Tyson||Loss||KO4|
|50||Apr 19, 1986||36||Michael Spinks||Loss||SD|
|49||Sep 21, 1985||35||Michael Spinks||Loss||UD|
|48||May 20, 1985||35||Carl Williams||Win||UD|
|47||Mar 15, 1985||35||David Bey||Win||TKO10|
|46||Nov 9, 1984||35||James Smith||Win||TKO12|
|45||Nov 25, 1983||34||Marvis Frazier||Win||TKO1|
|44||Sep 10, 1983||33||Scott Frank||Win||TKO5|
|43||May 20, 1983||33||Tim Witherspoon||Win||SD|
|42||Mar 27, 1983||33||Lucien Rodriguez||Win||UD|
|41||Nov 26, 1982||33||Randall Cobb||Win||UD|
|40||Jun 11, 1982||32||Gerry Cooney||Win||TKO13|
|39||Nov 6, 1981||32||Renaldo Snipes||Win||TKO11|
|38||Jun 12, 1981||31||Leon Spinks||Win||TKO3|
|37||Apr 11, 1981||31||Trevor Berbick||Win||UD|
|36||Oct 2, 1980||30||Muhammad Ali||Win||RTD10|
|35||Jul 7, 1980||30||Scott LeDoux||Win||TKO7|
|34||Mar 31, 1980||30||Leroy Jones||Win||TKO8|
|33||Feb 3, 1980||30||Lorenzo Zanon||Win||KO6|
|32||Sep 28, 1979||29||Earnie Shavers||Win||TKO11|
|31||Jun 22, 1979||29||Mike Weaver||Win||TKO12|
|30||Mar 23, 1979||29||Ossie Ocasio||Win||TKO7|
|29||Nov 10, 1978||29||Alfredo Evangelista||Win||KO7|
|28||Jun 9, 1978||28||Ken Norton||Win||SD|
|27||Mar 25, 1978||28||Earnie Shavers||Win||UD|
|26||Nov 5, 1977||28||Ibar Arrington||Win||TKO10|
|25||Sep 14, 1977||27||Fred Houpe||Win||TKO7|
|24||Mar 17, 1977||27||Horace Robinson||Win||TKO5|
|23||Jan 16, 1977||27||Tom Prater||Win||UD|
|22||Apr 30, 1976||26||Roy Williams||Win||UD|
|21||Apr 5, 1976||26||Fred Askew||Win||TKO2|
|20||Jan 29, 1976||26||Joe Gholston||Win||TKO8|
|19||Dec 20, 1975||26||Billy Joiner||Win||TKO3|
|18||Dec 9, 1975||26||Leon Shaw||Win||KO1|
|17||Oct 1, 1975||25||Rodney Bobick||Win||TKO6|
|16||Aug 26, 1975||25||Charlie James||Win||PTS|
|15||Aug 16, 1975||25||Obie English||Win||TKO7|
|14||May 16, 1975||25||Ernie Smith||Win||KO3|
|13||Apr 26, 1975||25||Robert Yarborough||Win||KO4|
|12||Apr 9, 1975||25||Oliver Wright||Win||TKO3|
|11||Mar 24, 1975||25||Charley Green||Win||KO1|
|10||Dec 11, 1974||25||Joe Hathaway||Win||TKO1|
|9||May 29, 1974||24||Bob Mashburn||Win||TKO7|
|8||Apr 24, 1974||24||Howard Darlington||Win||TKO4|
|7||Nov 28, 1973||24||Kevin Isaac||Win||TKO3|
|6||Nov 14, 1973||24||Jerry Judge||Win||PTS|
|5||Sep 10, 1973||23||Bob Bozic||Win||PTS|
|4||Aug 22, 1973||23||Don Branch||Win||PTS|
|3||Jun 20, 1973||23||Curtis Whitner||Win||TKO1|
|2||May 2, 1973||23||Art Savage||Win||TKO3|
|1||Mar 21, 1973||23||Rodell Dupree||Win||PTS|