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There are still 22 days until the fight with Holmes. He retired with a record of 69 wins (44 by knockout) and 6 losses. Now that I got my weight down and I'm in shape, I know I can do it. On October 2, 1980, Larry Holmes, making the eighth defense of the WBC heavyweight title he won from Ken Norton two years earlier, picked the wings off “The Butterfly” at a temporary arena erected outside Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. "It leaves me open to a right hand. Now he's going to find out how it feels to be an old man fighting a good, fast young man. Ali was great; he was great then, and he’s great now.”. So is his body. Jim Deegan may be reached at jdeegan@lehighvalleylive.com. Just about everybody he fought was old. I go out to dinner, I want to be alone. It was to the Terrible Table that Ali went to get into condition to destroy Spinks in their second fight more than two years ago. It's innocuous enough at first, when it causes just the neck to tighten up. His whole thing was getting in shape. "What was the one-day record for Spinks?" All rights reserved. Neither of us really wanted the fight in 1980, and the only reason we did fight was because we got a lot of money. I lost that. It is the following morning, and Ali, draped with a white bath towel, is lying belly down on the Terrible Table. This Ali fight has given me more publicity than I've ever had, more than I want. "They say I'm going to get hurt. It was an ignominious ending to a glorious 21-year professional career. And for the world-record-setting, never-to-be-broken fourth time, Muhammad Ali is the heavyweight champion of the world, I can see it happening. There is growing concern that he will enter the ring in the same mood. Wells finishes a story written by Tommy Lopez in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Nobody believed me. Angelo Dundee, Ali’s longtime chief second, closed the casket at the end of Round 10. You got to walk to Holmes, just keep walking at him and make him work. Unlike Ali, who had a long and distinguished amateur career that culminated in Olympic gold, Holmes cut his teeth in professional gyms where he was tested to the maximum. While to onlookers this maneuver appears to be only annoying, part of Ali's disdainful ring showmanship, in fact it tends over the course of several rounds to paralyze the vertebrae of an opponent's neck as he bucks and twists to free himself. And I said, 'You know I love you,'" Holmes said. They stuck wires in me; I looked like Frankenstein's monster. Ali actually had the beginning of Parkinson’s syndrome when he fought Holmes. Holmes is a superior boxer. "He said 'If you love me, why'd you beat me up like that? If he doesn't panic, it won't matter. “We worked out together and I did what I could do in there, and I also avoided trying things that I couldn’t do. It's room service. "God, I love it. Holmes, of Palmer Township, recalled the legend of Ali hours after he died at age 74 in a Phoenix-area hospital. It was sooo strange. I'll win the early rounds, he can have the middle rounds if he earns them, but the late rounds will be mine because he'll be too tired to do anything more than try to survive. ", The demonstration complete, Holmes resumes his breakfast. It has been said that he has made a critical mistake by not having a tune-up. I wasn’t awed by him because it was important for me to believe in myself. “In sparring, Ali would throw the punches at you, but if he hurt you he’d slow up. Right now Holmes is tired. The last is the most powerful weapon in this limited arsenal. Put it all in a computer and the winner comes out Holmes. Ali often grabs an opponent by the neck in what looks like a clumsy attempt to tie him up. Just tell me I can't do something. If Holmes attacks it straight on and tries to punch through Ali's arms, the champ could meet Foreman's fate. That was how Spinks won the title in his first fight with Ali. Sure, I want to beat Ali, to finally get the recognition that I'm the real champ. Look at that," he says, pointing toward the TV. On the day Ali sparred nonstop for more than a half hour, the odds were 9-5. I would say, ‘Man, you need to stop taking all these punches’ and he would say, ‘shut the hell up!’ or ‘get the hell out!’ That’s just the way he was in later years. It's there. The question is: Can Holmes throw the right hand, or a hook, when it will finish a fighter? That's what I try to do even today. I see it all now: he's exhausted, it's my fight now. He panics. “I didn’t improve week-to-week or month-to-month, I improved every single day sparring with those guys. "The man is in for a surprise. I asked myself: Can I do it? If I lose this fight, I might never fight again. “I never thought I’d share a ring with him, I never thought that I’d fight him. I was 10 feet tall.". “You don’t stand around taking punches. And what if the 1980 version of Holmes faced off against the 1966 version of Ali? "Might not be enough," observes the champion. Larry Holmes, American heavyweight boxing champion of the late 1970s and early ’80s who was known for his solid defense. m_gallery_permalink = "http://photos.lehighvalleylive.com/4424/gallery/vintage_larry_holmes_photos_20/index.html"; Holmes' right hand can be devastating. He was in neither proper physical shape or properly prepared to fight Holmes. I passed every test. "This is where you hit Ali: high on the side of the head in the area of the temple. "Holmes expects me to run, to grab and hold," says Ali. Photo from The Ring archive. He loops wide hooks to the lower back, he fires a quick right uppercut, and then hooks to the temple with his left. Fight!". Whatever happens on Oct. 2, when Ali meets Larry Holmes, the undefeated WBC heavyweight champion, in the specially erected $800,000 outdoor stadium at Caesars, one irrefutable fact will stand out: Ali, grossly out of shape only a few months ago, will be in better physical condition than at any time since he fought Joe Frazier in Manila in 1975. During his time under Ali’s employ, Holmes learned that long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity. The tactic subtly wears a man down. "Look at that," Ali, now shouting, remarks as he watches the two small figures pummeling each other on the screen. He's a human being, just like you and me. The betting had opened with Holmes favored 3-1 and had dropped to 2-1. It is 6:15 a.m. and Ali, after a six-mile run alone across the Dunes Golf Course that began at 3:30, sits in the drawn-curtain half-light of his bedroom and watches a videotape replay of Holmes knocking out Mike Weaver—now the WBA champion—last year at Madison Square Garden. If he panics against me, the right hand will end it. But to avoid an early fall, he must not only control his own pace but dictate Holmes' as well. "Holmes is down!" I don't like getting hit by right hands. It was 1971 and Holmes, then a young fighter no one outside of Easton had heard of, stepped into a ring in Reading, Pa., for his first sparring session with Muhammad Ali. A few days before, Ali had shaved off the mustache that, together with a facial softening resulting from no exercise and too many sweets, had prematurely made him look middle-aged. "There's something very wrong with Holmes," says Angelo Dundee, Ali's trainer for 19 years. No other earthling could be. "I'll beat that today," says Ali, as he resumes driving his body back through the years. Watching Muhammad Ali be brutally beaten by Larry Holmes was painful and heart-breaking Ali shouldn't have been allowed to fight and 40 years on it still leaves a sour taste in the mouth Ali asks after his 42nd Belly Buster. ", "Screw you," Shavers snarled back. The object of the game is to hit and not get hit. Liver damage. He's 29 again. "It's physiological. m_gallery_blog_id = "4424"; "Holmes is slow and wide open." When Ali goes into his rope-a-dope to rest, which he will do frequently, Holmes must not wear himself out banging uselessly against Ali's protective shell of arms. I wanted that. Very worried.". All Rights Reserved. m_gallery_id = "19326138"; "It is fresh squeezed.". Then his voice hardens and the words come as darts. With a grunt Ali does his first sit-up of the day. ", To the observer, it seems the thought of never fighting again doesn't disturb Holmes, an impression reinforced by the champion's next words. He's no Foreman. "I traveled with Ali as a sparring partner and I saw all the things I thought I wanted," he says, speaking as much to himself as to those in the room. Pow! "Nobody knew who I was. Ali yells as he narrates the picture he sees in his mind. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. m_gallery_type = "photo"; Gallery: Vintage Larry Holmes photos 2015. "I'm the underdog," he bellows happily. If, as the Ali camp anticipates, Holmes' left jab slows down around the ninth or 10th round, Ali will begin to counter with a right over the jab, but that in turn could leave Ali vulnerable to Holmes' potent right cross. And in better physical and mental condition than at any time since he battled George Foreman in Zaire in 1974. And Holmes must have an answer to Ali's habit of grabbing an opponent behind the neck and pulling his head strongly downward. I don't know what it is, but after seven or eight rounds he runs out of gas. People fail to understand that: Muhammad Ali is Muhammad Ali, and compared to him all other men are mere earthlings.". Ali’s health declined quite rapidly and less than three years later he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Syndrome. Then, about the ninth or 10th round, Ali will throw that stunning right counter over a wearied jab and it will end. In the last two years he has had seven fights to Ali's none. "There! ", "Then I'll show you a dope on the rope." He knew I was going to be champion one day because he told me. Check your inbox or spam folder to confirm your subscription. Ali was 38 and many hoped he could recapture glory. Ali's left hand snakes out, jabbing and, before the eye can focus on it, cocking and jabbing again. If I didn't know Holmes, hadn't seen all that publicity, I'd ask: Who's that bum?". Heavyweight legend Larry Holmes spoke to GQ about his friendship with Muhammad Ali, and the night he beat up 'The Greatest'. "It was 517," he says. It is as if he has turned the clock back to 1971, when he was 29. "That's awful. But then, like Foreman, he's only an earthling. I can see it in my mind just as if it was happening right there on the screen. "He grabs my neck and I'll kill his kidneys. Tell me it's impossible. Community Rules apply to all content you upload or otherwise submit to this site. For that one he did 8,024 sit-ups in 39 days. "The odds are dropping like my waistline," says Ali with a laugh. Ali retired in 1981 with a record of 56-5, with 37 by knockout, and was the first man to win the heavyweight title three times. ", "...King said, 'Father Time has caught up with Ali. The table, a three-by-seven-foot instrument of torture, like much of the decor in the suite, is a glaring orange, and it is on its shiny vinyl surface that Muhammad Ali, at the age of 38, will win—or lose—in his bid for an unprecedented fourth world heavyweight championship. We’re here when you need us most. The total for this day will be 536 sit-ups. But as the rounds go by, the weariness spreads from the beleaguered neck to the arms, then the legs, and eventually even a superbly conditioned body rebels against the need to maintain balance while trying to press forward. It would be no more than a grotesque replay of the 28-year-old Rocky Marciano vs. the 37-year-old Joe Louis, of the tough young fighter against the venerated but vulnerable former champion whose comeback could end in nothing but the sad tolling of nine-ten-and-out. m_gallery_title = "Vintage Larry Holmes photos 2015"; Tyson idolized Ali growing up and jumped at the chance to witness the Ali-Holmes fight. Look, he's talking to Weaver. All rights reserved (About Us). “I win, but I win against anyone,” said Holmes, who also learned how to be humble from “The Greatest” himself. If it doesn't, no matter. Standing, Larry uses Jake to demonstrate how he'll attack Ali. "But now I've got all those things, and I've learned that they aren't as important as I once thought they were. I was [his smile can be seen in the blue-white light of the TV set] worried.

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