Larry Holmes Speaks with DogHouseBoxing
By Benny Henderson Jr. (July 10, 2004)
Larry Holmes talks about George Foreman, his career, his past and his future. Oh, did I mention George Foreman?
Former heavyweight champion of the world Larry Holmes has never had any complications when it comes to speaking his mind about something or somebody. Right or wrong, if he feels it he’s going to say it. So it shouldn’t be any different when his thoughts are about George Foreman. The soon to be 55-year-old isn’t even going to let Father Time stop him from calling out Foreman. Yes, that’s what I said. Larry Holmes is calling out George Foreman. With a career record of 69-6 (44), the former champ wants just one more fight to add to his portfolio, and that one more can only be George Foreman.
In a phone interview Doghouse Boxing conducted with Holmes, he talked about his time in the ring, his greatest moments, his fans, and the reasons why he wants Big George. Here’s how it went…
Benny Henderson Jr.: Hey Mr. Holmes, thanks for taking the time out to answer some questions for the site and fans. It is an honor to talk with you sir.
Larry Holmes: Thanks Benny, not a problem. Where you calling from?
Benny: I’m calling from Texas, about sixty miles west from --
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Holmes: -- From George Foreman?
BH: No sir, sixty miles from Shreveport, La.
LH: Oh okay, I know where you are now.
BH: George’s hometown of Marshall is about thirty miles from here, but I don’t think he wants to talk about Foreman too much.
LH: I don’t even like him, and George doesn’t like me. And guess what, I’ve never done anything to him.
BH: So what is the bad blood between you two?
LH: I’m a better fighter. I was a better fighter and George made more money than I did because everybody thought that George was a nice guy, but he’s not a nice guy. He’s a devil in disguise. He’s like Don King but a little worse. He is a very difficult man to understand. George feels that he has to have it his way, and if not he is like a little baby and cries. People gave George his way probably every since he was a little boy. And now he’s spoiled, and if he doesn’t get his way all hell breaks lose.
BH: Is that the main reason you want to step in the ring with him now?
LH: Yeah, the main reason I want to fight him is so that I can teach him a lesson. Even when he fought Michael Moorer, Moorer was beating him up. George lucked out and knocked him out. When he fought Shannon Briggs, Shannon beat him and George said no they robbed him. But Shannon Briggs beat him. He never could stand defeat. Every since the day Ali stepped in the ring and beat him he’s had a problem. After that Jimmy Young stepped in the ring and beat him, and then he had a problem. I thought we were friends at the time, but he always had that devious mind working for some reason or other. I never really did anything to him. So now I just talk bad about him everywhere I go. [He laughs]
BH: The reason why you talk bad about him? Is it your true feelings of him or are you just doing your damnedest to call him out?
LH: No, I am doing my damnedest to let the people know how he really is. He’s not the nice guy that comes across. He’s a bad guy. And I tell you what: if anybody named their kids George, George, George and George something has to be wrong with him. And the reason why he did that is because they’re all by different women all over. They are not from the same woman; they’re by different women. And one of the things that happen is that you guys, the reporters and stuff do not announce that. You continue to help him fool people.
BH: To tell you the truth Mr. Holmes I didn’t know that, and I’ll be sure to put your exact quote in this interview for everybody to know. I’m not here to lie, and I’m not here to kiss ass. I’m here to tell the truth and to entertain and inform the fans.
LH: [Laughing] Thank you very much.
BH: Well, we can get off this subject for now. What was your most defining moment in the ring?
LH: When I first won the heavyweight championship in the world. That was my defining moment because nobody thought that I would win and the odds were against me. They used to say that I couldn’t punch, and I was just a copy of Ali. I didn’t have anything going for myself. But I won and that was my moment.
BH: What inspired you to box?
LH: Well, growing up I always have been athletic. I always wanted to be tough and do something with it. Whether it was football, basketball, and baseball, whatever it was I liked to do it. But you know dropping out of school early kept me from those opportunities. Because you have to go to school and college for anybody to even look at you. But in boxing you didn’t need that. All you had to do was get in there and fight. [Laughing] And that’s what I did.
BH: You fought a lot of big punchers in your career. What three would you say hit the hardest?
LH: Earnie Shavers is #1. Twenty-five years later and I still feel that punch. In my mind he was one of the hardest hitters in boxing. Jerry Cooney was #2. He was like 6’7” and he had one of the hardest left hooks out there. And people didn’t give him the credit for his power and boxing ability, which he had both of those.
Ken Norton is #3. He looked like Hercules, you know what I’m saying? He was built even better that Hercules. He was a heck of a puncher and he liked putting pressure on a fighter.
BH: Do you feel that you should get more respect than you have gotten in the past?
LH: Yeah, I think I should be respected a little more. But it’s starting to come around. People are now starting to look at my record. You know I had 75 fights and I won 69 of them and 44 by Kayo. The 6 that I did lose was questionable fights except of course the fight with Mike Tyson back in 1988 when I retired and then came back to fight him. But everything else that happened to me was not legit; it wasn’t on the up and up. So people are now looking at my career and are starting to give me respect. Because hey, if you can fight for 36 years and come out the way I did, that just says a hell of a lot you know. That’s what people are starting to look at.
BH: You beat Ali; you held the belt for 7 ½ years --
LH: -- Not only did I beat Ali, I stopped him. I don’t think he had been stopped before. I think I’m the only one to stop him.
BH: Well, what was your most favorite moment in the ring?
LH: I got to go back to when I first won the heavyweight championship title. I mean cause so many people doubted me and out me down. And I got in there and won. I was happy as I ever could be. A lot of people thought me beating Ali was my favorite moment. Which it was a great moment, but it was a sad moment to when I beat him up. But hey, it was either him or me, right?
BH: The movie about Don King. It showed that you told King that he wore his hair as he did to hide his horns. Is that accurate?
LH: Oh yeah, I always told Don that, you know because he spikes his hair and he’s a devil in disguise. He’s good at conning and getting people to do certain things for him and he takes advantage of them. And that’s what Don King does.
BH: Do you see any fighter now being the next great heavyweight champ?
LH: Well, there are a lot of guys out there making some noise. But you know what, you put them all in a basket and you pull one out. You got yourself a champion. Because neither one of these fighters today that I see is going to hold the title long.
BH: What advice would you give to a young fighter?
LH: What I’ve been telling these guys here all today in California. You got to have determination, they got to sacrifice, and dedicate themselves if they want to fight. Boxing is not easy. Just because you box doesn’t mean that you will be champion. But have faith and confidence in yourself and go for whatever you want.
BH: Anything you would like to say to the fans?
LH: Thanks for being by me, thanks for giving me the support. And don’t give up on me because it isn’t over yet. [Laughing] The fat lady hasn’t sung yet. So I appreciate all the support they have giving me.
BH: Well, one last thing. Would you like to say anything to George Foreman incase he ever reads this?
LH: I think George Foreman should put the food in his mouth and keep getting fat. Because he doesn’t need boxing, and he defiantly don’t need Larry Holmes. So if he wants to talk about fighting he should only come my way or no other way.
BH: Well, thanks again for taking out the time for Doghouse Boxing and the fans.
LH: You’re welcome, bye.
BH: Okay, later.
I would like to thank Jay Newman for setting up this interview, his time is appreciated. I would personally like to thank Larry Holmes for taking out the time for the fans and the site. I had a heck of a time. For more information on Larry Holmes go to his website: http://www.larryholmes.com
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