McCall vs Holmes commemorative official pin measures 3" in diameter.
Conditition very good
Larry Holmes (born November 3, 1949) is a former professional boxer. He grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania, which gave birth to his boxing nickname, The Easton Assassin.
Holmes, whose left jab is rated among the best in boxing history, was the WBC Heavyweight Champion from 1978 to 1983, The Ring Heavyweight Champion from 1980 to 1985, and the IBF Heavyweight Champion from 1983 to 1985.
He made twenty successful title defences, which places him third behind only Joe Louis' twenty-five and Wladimir Klitschko's twenty-one.
Holmes won his first forty-eight professional bouts, including victories over Earnie Shavers, Ken Norton, Muhammad Ali, Mike Weaver, Gerry Cooney, Tim Witherspoon 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 four (Tyson, Holyfield, McCall and Nielsen) further attempts to regain the title, the last in 1995. He had his last fight 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 the International Boxing Hall of Fame and the World Boxing Hall of Fame.
Holmes was the fourth of twelve 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 death 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.
To 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.
Amateur Boxing Career
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.
Early Boxing Career
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 said. "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.
Holmes'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.
WBC Heavyweight Champion
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.
In his first two title defences, Holmes easily knocked out Alfredo Evangelista and Ossie Ocasio. His third title defence 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 it. "This man knocked the devil out of me," Holmes said. "This man might not have had credit before tonight, but you'll give it to him now."
Three months later, on September 28, 1979, Holmes had a rematch with Shavers, who got a title shot by knocking out Ken 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 stop Shavers in the eleventh.
His next three defences were knockouts of Lorenzo Zanon, Leroy Jones, and Scott LeDoux.
On October 2, 1980, at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Holmes defended his title against Ali, who was coming out of retirement in an attempt to become the first four-time World Heavyweight Champion. Holmes dominated Ali from start to finish, winning every round on every scorecard. At the end of the tenth round, Ali's trainer, Angelo Dundee, stopped the fight. It would be Ali's only loss without "going the distance" for a judges' decision. After the win, Holmes received recognition as World Heavyweight Champion by The Ring magazine.
Ali blamed his poor performance on thyroid medication that he had been taking, claiming that it helped him lose weight (he weighed 217½, his lowest weight since he fought George Foreman in 1974), but it also left him drained for the fight.
Holmes seemed to show signs of regret, or at least sadness, in punishing Ali so much during the fight. He appeared in a post fight interview with tears in his eyes as he was asked why he was crying, replying that he respected Ali "a whole lot" and "he fought one of the baddest heavyweights in the World today, and you cannot take credit from him".
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.
Holmes vs Cooney
On June 11, 1982, Holmes defended his title against Gerry Cooney, the undefeated #1 contender and an Irish-American.
The lead up to the fight had many racial overtones. Holmes said that if Cooney wasn't white, he wouldn't be getting the same purse as the champion (Both boxers received $10 million for the bout). Although Cooney tried to deflect questions about race, members of his camp wore shirts that said "Not the White Man, but the Right Man."
Many felt Holmes was unfairly slighted leading up to the fight.
In their fight previews, Sports Illustrated and Time put Cooney on the cover, not Holmes. President Ronald Reagan had a phone installed in Cooney's dressing room so he could call him if he won the fight. Holmes had no such arrangement. Lastly, boxing tradition dictates that the champion is introduced last, but the challenger, Cooney, was introduced last.
The bout was held in a 32,000 seat stadium erected in a Caesar's Palace Parking lot, with millions more watching around the World. After an uneventful first round, Holmes dropped Cooney with a right in the second. Cooney came back well in the next two rounds, jarring Holmes with his powerful left hook. Holmes later said that Cooney "hit me so damned hard, I felt it - boom - in my bones.
Cooney was tiring by the ninth, a round in which he had two points deducted for low blows. In the tenth, they traded punches relentlessly. At the end of the round, the two nodded to each other in respect.
Cooney lost another point because of low blows in the eleventh. By then, Holmes was landing with ease. In the thirteenth, a barrage of punches sent Cooney down. He got up, but his trainer, Victor Valle, stepped into the ring and stopped the fight.
After the fight, Holmes and Cooney became close friends.
Trouble With The WBC
Holmes' next two fights were one-sided decision wins over Randall "Tex" Cobb and Lucien Rodriguez. On May 23, 1983, Holmes defended his title against Tim Witherspoon, the future WBC and WBA Heavyweight Champion. Witherspoon, a six to one underdog and with only 15 professional bouts to his name, surprised many by giving Holmes a difficult fight. After twelve rounds, Holmes retained the title by a disputed split decision. Boxing Monthly named it one of the ten most controversial decisions of all time.
On September 10, 1983, Holmes successfully defended the WBC title for the sixteenth time, knocking out Scott Frank in five rounds. Holmes then signed to fight Marvis Frazier, son of Joe Frazier, on November 25, 1983. The WBC refused to sanction the fight against the unranked Frazier. They ordered Holmes to fight Greg Page, the #1 contender, or be stripped of the title. Promoter Don King offered Holmes $2.55 million to fight Page, but the champion didn't think that was enough.
He was making $3.1 million to fight Frazier and felt he should get as much as $5 million to fight Page.
Holmes had an easy time with Frazier, knocking him out in the first round. The following month, Holmes relinquished the WBC championship and accepted recognition as World Heavyweight Champion by the newly formed International Boxing Federation.
IBF Heavyweight Champion
Holmes signed to fight Gerrie Coetzee, the WBA Champion, on June 15, 1984 at Caesar's Palace. The fight was being promoted by JPD Inc., but it was canceled when Caesar's Palace said the promoters failed to meet the financial conditions of the contract. Holmes was promised $13 million and Coetzee was promised $8 million. Even after cutting the purses dramatically, they still couldn't come up with enough financial backing to stage the fight. Don King then planned to promote the fight, but Holmes lost a lawsuit filed by Virginia attorney Richard Hirschfeld, who said he had a contract with Holmes that gave him right of first refusal on a Holmes-Coetzee bout. Holmes then decided to move on and fight someone else.
On November 9, 1984, after a year out of the ring, Holmes made his first defence of the IBF title, stopping James "Bonecrusher" Smith on a cut in the twelfth round. In the first half of 1985, Holmes stopped David Bey in ten rounds for his 19th title defence. His next against Carl "The Truth" Williams was unexpectedly tough. The younger, quicker Williams was able to out-jab the aging champion, who was left with a badly swollen eye by the end of the bout.
Holmes emerged with a close, and disputed, fifteen-round unanimous decision.
On September 21, 1985, Holmes lost the IBF title by a close fifteen-round unanimous decision to Michael Spinks, who became the first reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion to win the World Heavyweight Championship. If Holmes had been victorious against Spinks, he would have tied Rocky Marciano's career record of 49-0. After the fight, a bitter Holmes said, "Rocky Marciano couldn't carry my jockstrap.
Holmes received a lot of criticism for the remarks. Shortly afterward, he apologized. Holmes had a rematch with Spinks on April 19, 1986. Spinks retained the title with a disputed fifteen-round split decision. The judges scored the fight: Judge Joe Cortez 144-141 (Holmes), Judge Frank Brunette 141-144 (Spinks) and Judge Jerry Roth 142-144 (Spinks.)
In a post-fight interview with HBO, Holmes said, "the judges, the referees and promoters can kiss me where the sun don't shine - and because we're on HBO, that's my big black behind."
On November 6, 1986, three days after his 37th birthday, Holmes announced his retirement.
On January 22, 1988, Holmes was lured out of retirement by a $2.8 million purse to challenge reigning Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson. Tyson dropped Holmes in the fourth round with an overhand right. Holmes got up, but Tyson put him down two more times in the round, and the fight was stopped. It was the only time Holmes would be knocked out in his lengthy career. After the fight, Holmes once again retired.
Holmes returned to the ring in 1991. After five straight wins, he fought Ray Mercer, the undefeated 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist, on February 7, 1992. Holmes pulled off the upset and won by a twelve-round unanimous decision. The win got Holmes a shot at Evander Holyfield for the Undisputed World Heavyweight Championship. On June 19, 1992, Holyfield defeated Holmes by a twelve-round unanimous decision.
Holmes won seven consecutive fights and then got another title shot. On April 8, 1995, he fought Oliver McCall for the WBC title. Holmes lost by a close twelve-round unanimous decision. Two of the judges had him losing by only one point, while the other judge had him losing by three points.
On January 24, 1997, Holmes went to Denmark to fight Brian Nielsen, who was 31-0. Nielsen won by a twelve-round split decision to retain the International Boxing Organization title.
Holmes and George Foreman signed to fight on January 23, 1999 at the Houston Astrodome. Foreman called off the fight several weeks before it was to take place because the promoter failed to meet the deadline for paying him the remaining $9 million of his $10 million purse. Foreman received a nonrefundable $1 million deposit, and Holmes got to keep a $400,000 down payment of his $4 million purse.
Holmes' next two fights were rematches with old foes. On June 18, 1999, he stopped "Bonecrusher" Smith in eight rounds, and on November 17, 2000, he stopped Mike Weaver in six.
Holmes in Beaufort, South Carolina in 2010.
Holmes' final fight was on July 27, 2002 in Norfolk, Virginia. He defeated Eric "Butterbean" Esch by a ten-round unanimous decision.
Holmes was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008.
Life After Boxing
Holmes invested the money he earned from boxing and settled in his hometown of Easton. When he retired from boxing, Holmes employed more than 200 people through his various business holdings. In 2008, he owned two restaurants and a nightclub, a training facility, an office complex, a snack food bar and slot machines. Holmes currently co-hosts a talk show "What The Heck Were They Thinking?"
In 2014, Holmes sold his business complex in Easton to business entrepreneur Gerald Gorman
Jimmy Young (November 16, 1948 – February 20, 2005) was a skilled Philadelphia heavyweight, who had his greatest success during the 1970s. Young was very hard to hit, had an effective left jab and straight right hand, and an equally effective body attack. His career record was 34-19-2 with 11 knockouts.
Young made his name when he fought Muhammad Ali in Landover, Maryland in April 1976 for the World heavyweight title. Ali weighed in at 230 lbs., the highest for any of his fights (he would weigh 236.25 pounds in his fight against Trevor Berbick), and was consequently slow and immobile by his standards throughout the bout. Ten years younger and 25 pounds lighter, Young adopted a tactical strategy of fighting aggressively from a distance, landing numerous light blows while dodging and parrying Ali's counterpunches.
Many fight historians have written that Young made Ali miss more often than did any other opponent. At close quarters, however, where Ali's strength was dominant, Young would turn passive. He retreated whenever possible, and often kept his head ducked very low to avoid serious blows when Ali would fight from the inside (the notion is that boxers are not permitted to hit in the back of the head, and due to how low Jimmy ducked there was really no way for either fighter to hit the other until the ref would restart the fight, but at that point Ali wasn't on the inside anymore), and on several occasions intentionally put his head or upper body out of the ring to compel the referee to separate the fighters. To some, Young's was a brilliant strategy of neutralizing his opponent's strengths and forcing the bout to be fought on his own terms; to others, it was boring and unworthy of a championship bout, with some detractors terming it "the coward's rope-a-dope."
The fight went the full 15 rounds with the controversial unanimous decision going to Ali. Referee Tom Kelly scored it 72-65; judges Larry Barrett and Terry Moore had it 70-68 and 71-64, respectively.
In November 1976 Young beat top contender Ron Lyle in a 12-round bout, winning 11 of 12 rounds on one judge's card. As a result of his loss to Ali, Young had to work hard to get another shot at the World title. He chose to fight one of the most feared boxers in the World at the time, George Foreman, who had begun a comeback after losing the title to Muhammad Ali in "The Rumble in the Jungle". In March 1977 Young beat Foreman, knocking him down in the final round and winning a 12-round decision. Ring Magazine named the Foreman-Young bout its 1977 "Fight of the Year."
Young's next major opponent was Norton. In November 1977, Young lost a split decision in Las Vegas. Young faded in the late 1970s, losing three of his next six bouts. He came back on the scene fiercely in 1981, beating several contenders and being named Ring Magazine comeback of the year for his successes. His lost to Greg Page in 1982 ended his run as a serious contender. He continued fighting with mixed results until 1988. Young passed away on February 20, 2005 from a heart attack.
Oliver "The Atomic Bull" McCall (born April 21, 1965) is an American Heavyweight best known for winning the WBC heavyweight title in 1994 after scoring an upset knockout victory over Lennox Lewis, in London, England.
He defended his title against Larry Holmes before losing it to another Briton, Frank Bruno, at Wembley Stadium in 1995. He had an infamous in-ring meltdown during his 1997 rematch with Lewis.
In a long rollercoaster career that has been blighted by drug addiction and almost constant legal troubles, McCall has served as the chief sparring partner for a peak Mike Tyson, then later came into his own as a professional, defeating Lennox Lewis, Larry Holmes, Bruce Seldon, Jesse Ferguson, Francesco Damiani, Oleg Maskaev, Henry Akinwande, Przemyslaw Saleta, Sinan Samil Sam, and Fres Oquendo.
McCall claims to have never been knocked down as an amateur, professional, or during sparring. He is still an active professional at the age of 49.
McCall had a strong amateur career prior to turning pro, twice a winner of the Chicago Golden Gloves.
Known as "The Atomic Bull", McCall turned pro in 1985 and slowly worked his way up the heavyweight ranks. He beat Jesse Ferguson and future heavyweight champion Bruce Seldon and lost a very close decision to Tony Tucker before landing the shot against Lewis in 1994. After a close first round McCall came out aggressively in the second and landed his signature counter right hand as Lewis moved forward. Lewis dropped to the canvas and got up before the count of ten, but he was unsteady on his feet, forcing the referee to wave a stop to the fight.
McCall's win over Lewis marked Don King's return to power in the heavyweight division, since none of his stable of fighters had been able to win the heavyweight title since Mike Tyson lost it in 1990. He successfully defended the title in a bout against 45 year old ex-champ Larry Holmes in Las Vegas winning 115-112 115-114 and 114-113 on the score cards, before returning to London to face Frank Bruno in 1995.
During a press conference before the fight McCall claimed he was going to get revenge for America after Gerald McClellan had been rendered brain damaged after a fight with Nigel Benn a few months earlier. He had claimed that he was going to hurt Bruno and that the only thing Bruno would be able to do was throw illegal rabbit punches.
The fight took place at the old Wembley stadium. Bruno started off well, working behind the jab and landing some big right hands. McCall seemed uninterested in fighting and lagged far behind on the score cards going into the latter rounds. By round 9 Bruno had built up a big lead on the score cards and looked comfortably in charge. McCall finally sparked into life in round 10 perhaps realizing that he was behind on the score cards. McCall landed several big punches over the final 3 rounds and had Bruno in trouble several times but Bruno managed to hold on and win the title by a unanimous decision.
McCall returned to the ring 6 months after losing his title when he beat future WBC heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev in less than 3 minutes with a sneaky right hand. A month later McCall beat James Stanton in 6 rounds.
Lewis vs McCall II
Lewis and McCall squared off again on February 7, 1997, in Las Vegas. In a bizarre fight, McCall refused to fight in the fourth and fifth rounds, beginning to cry and eventually forcing the referee to stop the fight and award Lewis the victory.
The referee for the fight, Mills Lane, stated in an interview after the match, "In the third round, he got in close, and then seemed frustrated, and then he just backed off and put his arms down. . . . I thought he was playing possum but then I saw his lips started to quiver and I thought, 'My God, is he crying?'" Lane stopped the fight when McCall had refused to defend himself for several rounds.
In 2001 at the age of 36 he resurrected his career with a tenth round knockout of Henry Akinwande, at the time one of the most avoided contenders in the World, on a high profile Lennox Lewis undercard in Las Vegas. McCall was ranked number 4 in the World off this performance, but was arrested shortly afterwards and imprisoned for over a year, losing his ranking.
In December 2004 he lost a close points decision to fellow contender DaVarryl Williamson on a high profile Don King undercard from New York, and in 2005 he traveled to Germany for an eliminator to skillful and well regarded Cuban Juan Carlos Gomez, and was outpointed over ten rounds. However this loss was removed from McCall's record as Gomez later failed a drug test.
Aiming For Another Shot At The Title
Despite his legal troubles, Oliver's career has since continued. He began his next run at a title with a first round TKO of Kenny Craven in June 2006.
McCall defeated Darroll Wilson in a fourth-round TKO in Louisville, Kentucky, on September 9, 2006, for the WBC Fecarbox Championship.
On December 9, 2006, McCall defeated Yanqui Diaz via seventh-round KO in Hollywood, Florida.
On 16 June 2007, McCall defeated Sinan Samil Sam for the WBC International Heavyweight Championship by unanimous decision in Ankara, Turkey. This guaranteed him a shot at the WBC Heavyweight Championship (currently held by Vitali Klitschko). However, McCall took a fight with slick Cuban fighter Juan Carlos Gomez, a fight which McCall lost. As a result, Gomez took his place as the WBC's next mandatory challenger.
The long inactive McCall defeated Australian John Hopoate by 2nd round TKO on the May 22, 2009, for the vacant IBA intercontinental heavyweight belt. McCall dominated the fight and knocked Hopoate down twice.
He defended his IBA continental belt against Franklin Lawrence by a ten round unanimous decision on August 21, 2009, at the Orleans Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas.
On October 23, 2009, he defended his IBA continental title again by a ten round unanimous decision against 6'8" Lance Whitaker.
McCall's next opponent was Timur Ibragimov. The two fought at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Hollywood, Florida. Ibragimov was a fringe contender with an impressive 27-2-1 record, however he hadn't fought anyone at McCall's level before. The former World champion lost the bout by unanimous decision, with the scores of 117-111 twice and 119-109. It was McCall's first loss since his comeback in 2009.
Although never knocked down as a professional boxer, McCall's career has been mottled by several stints in drug rehabilitation facilities and arrests for disorderly behavior. He has attempted numerous comebacks, though the efforts have repeatedly been frustrated by run-ins with the law.
In January 2006 he was arrested by police in Nashville, Tennessee, who say they had to use a Taser on McCall after he tried running away from officers trying to arrest him for trespassing in a public housing development.
Police told reporters that McCall had in his possession a glass pipe and a five-dollar bill containing a small amount of cocaine. They say the 40-year-old McCall later spat at an officer and threatened to kill him.
He was held on $299,000 bond and charged with criminal trespass, resisting arrest, assaulting police officers, threatening to kill an officer, and being a fugitive from justice on charges in his home state of Virginia. He was released on May 8, 2006.
On the weekend before his scheduled fight with Zuri Lawrence at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in nearby Hollywood, Florida, McCall was arrested for possession of cocaine and possession of drug paraphernalia in Fort Lauderdale, preventing him from fighting. He was ultimately sentenced to probation. McCall was able to get another big fight, this time against Fres Oquendo, scheduled for December 7, 2010. McCall won in a split decision over the favoured Oquendo.
On December 9, 2010, two days after his latest victory, McCall was again arrested in Fort Lauderdale for possession of cannabis and a violation of a municipal ordinance, causing him to violate the terms of his probation stemming from the February cocaine charge. As a result of the probation violation, McCall was facing six years in Florida State Prison. McCall's attorney, Roger P. Foley, was able to have him reinstated on his previous probationary term, modified to include a drug and psychological evaluation followed by any necessary treatment.
Oliver McCall and Attorney RP Foley coincidentally have formed a strong friendship and have been found training together in Plantation, Florida. The same attorney, Roger P. Foley, has become a strength and conditioning coach for McCall. On December 16, 2011, Lawyer Foley was successful in having McCall's probation terminated.
McCall has been alcohol- and drug-free for all of 2011 and his legal issues are finally behind him.
McCall was raised on the South Side of Chicago, and is married with four daughters and three sons. One daughter, Jeneva McCall, was a three-time NCAA champion and four-time 1st team All-American in track at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. One son, Mika'il McCall, is a sophomore running back for Southern Illinois University Carbondale, after playing his freshman year at the University of Iowa. McCall has one other son, Elijah McCall, who is currently a professional boxer as well.