Celebrating Black History Month: Larry Holmes

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With a left jab powerful enough to fell a redwood, Larry Holmes became one of the most dominant heavyweights of his era—or any other—beginning in the late 1970s.

Larry Holmes

Larry Holmes defended his world heavyweight championship 20 times in starting his career 48-0.

Holmes’ 20 successful title defenses puts him second all time behind only the great Joe Louis (25).

He started his career with 48 consecutive victories, just one win shy of tying Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0.

Hailing from Easton, Pennsylvania, the hulking Holmes, whose nickname was “The Easton Assassin,” first became world champion by vanquishing Ken Norton in 1978.

Two years later, he’d become the only fighter to ever stop Muhammad Ali when Ali’s trainer, Angelo Dundee, ended the bout after the 10th round.

From there, Holmes would conquer plenty of notable opponents, including Gerry Cooney in front of a crowd of 32,000 in an outdoor stadium erected in the parking lot of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in 1982.

Holmes would retire in 1986 after back-to-back losses to Michael Spinks, returning in 1988 to unsuccessfully challenge Mike Tyson.

During his comeback, though, Holmes, at the age of 42, handed then-undefeated Olympic gold medalist Ray Mercer his first loss, earning a shot a world champion Evander Holyfield.

Holmes would fight for the last time in 2002, finishing his career with a stellar 69-6 record.

Six years later, he was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

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