Larry Holmes (born November
3,1949) is an American former professional boxer. He grew up in Easton,
Pennsylvania, which gave birth to his boxing nickname, the "Easton
Holmes, whose left jab is rated among the best in
boxing history, was the WBC heavyweight champion from 1978 to 1983,
The Ring magazine champion from 1980 to 1985, and the IBF champion
from 1983 to 1985. He made 20 successful title defenses, placing him
third all time, behind only Joe Louis at 25 and Wladimir Klitschko
at 22. He is also one of only five men (along with Joe Frazier, Ken
Norton, Leon Spinks and Trevor Berbick) to defeat Muhammad Ali.
won his first 48 professional bouts, including victories over Earnie
Shavers, Ken Norton, Muhammad Ali, Mike Weaver, Gerry Cooney, Tim
Witherspoon, Carl Williams and Marvis Frazier, and fell one short
of matching Rocky Marciano's career record of 49-0 when he lost to
Michael Spinks in 1985. Holmes retired after losing a rematch to Spinks,
but made repeated comebacks, and was unsuccessful in three further
attemps (against Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Oliver McCall)
to regain the title, the last in 1995. Holmes fought for the final
time in 2002 and ended with a career record of 69-6. He is frequently
ranked as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time and has been
inducted into both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and World
Boxing Hall of Fame.
Holmes was the fourth of twlve
children born to John and Flossie Holmes. When the family moved to
easton in 1954, Holmes' father went to Connecticut, where he worked
as a gardener until his eath in 1970. He visited his family every
three weeks. "He didn't forsake us," said Flossie Holmes. "He just
didn't have anything to give." The family survived on welfare.
help support his family holmes dropped out of school when he was in
the seventh grade and went to work at a car wash for $1 an hour. He
later drove a dump truck and worked in a quarry.
When Holmes was nineteen, he started boxing. In his twenty second
bout, he boxed Duane Bobick in the 1972 Olympic Trials. Holmes was
dropped in the first round with a right to the head. He got up and
danced out of range, landing several stiff jabs in the process. Bobick
mauled Holmes in the second round but couldn't corner him. The referee
warned Holmes twice in the second for holding. In the third, Bobick
landed several good rights and started to corner Holmes who continued
to hold. Eventually, Holmes was disqualified for excessive holding.
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. He
was paid well and learned a lot. "I was young, and I didn't know much.
But I was holding my own sparring those guys," Holmes asid. "I thought,
'hey, these guys are the best, the champs. If I can hold my own now,
what about later?"
Holmes first gained credibility as a contender
when he upset the hard punching Earnie Shavers in March 1978. Holmes
won by a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision, winning every round
on two scorecards and all but one on the third. Holm's victory over
Shavers set up a title shot between Holmes and WBC Heavyweight Champion
Ken Norton in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 9, 1978.
Champion - Holmes vs Norton
The fight between Holmes and Norton was
a tough, competitive fight. After fourteen rounds, all three judges
had the fight scored dead even at seven rounds each. Holmes rallied
late in the fifteenth to win the round on two scorecards and take
the title by a split decision.