In boxing sometimes no matter what you do or how much you accomplish, you never get the credit you fully deserve. No boxer knows this better than Heavyweight boxing legend Larry Holmes. “The Easton Assassin” Larry Holmes had a career that spanned 4 decades, during which he reigned as Heavyweight champion for 7 years. Even with all his accomplishments in the sport, Larry never was able to escape the shadow of the man who was champion before him, Muhammad Ali.
During the 188th edition of "On The Ropes" I had a chance to speak with Larry Holmes about where he is at in life today. Besides discussing his current ventures, I got Larry's view on some of the Heavyweights of this era and how he would see himself doing if he was boxing today. Holmes also talked about boxing’s two biggest stars, giving his views on Manny Pacquiao's future and also his thoughts on the legacy of Floyd Mayweather Jr. Here is what Larry had to say
Jenna J: "People have seen you of late on TV doing commentaries for fights. How did you get back into that. Can you tell us a little about that."
Larry Holmes: "Yeah I do a lot of commentating for fights, I work with Wealth TV, and when they put on an amazing fight they call me and my co-partner Mike Mitman, and we go wherever the fight might be and we do the commentating for the fights. I'm there annalist and I fought so I know a little bit about the game of boxing and we've been doing that pretty much."
Jenna J: "Doing the commentary seeing these young fighters, knowing the crew you have, what do you see that other commentators miss in the ring".
Larry Holmes: "Well a lot of commentators shouldn't be commentators, you can get a good narrator and somebody to think they know what they are talking about, but until they experience fights, until they've had a fight, until they know what a right hand feels like or a left hook feels like, they cant really tell you what one feels like. Let me tell you that's my expertise, I know what it is feels like, ive been there, ive fought the fights ive been heavyweight champion of the world for seven and a half years, so I know how to fight. These guys here, with all due respect they don't know how to call the shots, they don't know what its like and they act like they do and that's just giving the public false information."
Jenna J: "Watching some of these fights of late the ones that you've been calling, you've got to see a few younger heavyweights, the new generation of heavyweights, guys like Tyson Fury, guys like David Price. What are your thoughts on the heavyweights that your seeing now".
Larry Holmes: "Well, I know if they was fighting when I was still fighting I'd still be heavyweight champ of the world, I'd of never lost. I mean these guys are still learning, these guys are strong, they fighting good for the guys for the competition that's out there they fight real good. You know its just that as heavyweights they just done get the publicity that they probably should get like we got when we were coming up, remember we had ABC, CBS, NBC, HBO, Showtime, we had all the networks backing us, following us, and here you know you've just got only a couple. HBO, they'll put you on every now and then, you've got to be a top player, and ESPN they put shows on and what not and they're doing a hell of a job trying to keep boxing alive, but a lot of them don't do that, so your losing a lot of interest in the heavier weights."
Jenna J: "A lot of people say that Tyson Fury is the best up and coming heavyweight, do you think he is."
Larry Homes: Ive seen him fight a lot of times. he's strong, he's powerful, he takes a lot of punches. You know he could be because there's nobody out there who I see who can give him some competition that he needs. I would say he might be one of the best fighters that we have out there in the heavyweight division."
Jenna J: "What is the problem with the heavyweight division these days, as you said yourself if you were still around now you would be heavyweight champion. What is the problem with today's heavyweights."
Larry Homes: "No discipline, no dedication, they just go out there and fight and try to get the dollars and then when they get the dollars, that's it. That's why there's no real competition out there in the heavyweight division, they've got to want to be the champion and these guys are not wanting to be, and maybe Tyson Fury wants to be, and he probably has a good chance to be it. Boxing, I don't know, seems like to me MMA is taking over boxing and they only fight three rounds or five rounds and they're in there five minutes a round and there's more people interested in that. I went to one the other night and they had a crowd of people in there. Then I watched boxing the night before and they didn't have a crowd of people."
Jenna J: "You were in a decade when you were champion and you didn't really have anyone to fight, and people were saying that was a weak heavyweight division, they say now its a weak heavyweight division. What can you bring in terms of comparison with The Klitschko's, they're so far above everyone else, and when you were champion you were so far above everyone else too."
Larry Homes: "Well the Klitschko's are big guys you know, they can throw a good punch, they can fight a little bit, but the problem with those guys is they aint coming over here, they're not really giving us the opportunity. I f you fight one of them you have to go over there and I can almost not blame them because that's home and they want to fight home and they want to show that they are the heavyweight champion, that's one of the things they are doing showing that they are the champion. They don't have to come over here they don't need us, and like I said that's what they're showing."
Jenna J: "You said they're big they have a big punch, you having the great jab that you had, how would you have dealt with the style of a Klitschko if you were in the ring with them them in your prime."
Larry Homes: "Well, I fought a lot of puncher Kenny Norton, Ernie Shavers, a lot of punchers and they couldn't do it, and one of the things I had going for myself was I had a left jab, I had a good jab, I'd jab them I'd move, I wouldn't stay there to get hit. One of the things these fighters are doing today is they're getting hit a lot, you cant take punches forever, if you do a lot of things might happen to you in the long run so, I suggest not to take the shots, to be a boxer and to stay on the outside. The game of boxing is to hit and don't be hit. That's one of the things I would do with the Klitschko brothers, I wouldn't let them hit me, they would be quite lucky to be able to get a shot in on me cos I'd be moving."
Jenna J: "When people talk about boxing now, you have the stars, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and you mentioned too that fighters can only take shots for so long, Manny Pacquiao in his last fight got flattened by Juan Manuel Marquez. They wonder if he's ever going to be the same. I'm curious to see what your views are on that fight that Pacquiao had."
Larry Homes: "Well I'll tell you one thing, I think Pacquiao fights too much, he takes on too much and he's not really in condition to do these fights like he's been doing and keep up with them, because he's got a job, he's in the government or whatever he does over there and he fights quite often, and he don't really give his body a chance to settle down and relax, and then come back and do it again. He don't recuperate from a fight, and that's very dangerous, you gotta recuperate you gotta get your stamina back together and then you go out and fight. These guys here, Pacquiao, one of the great fighters, but he's not giving his body the chance to adjust and settle down so he can come back and do it right."
Jenna J: "Well twenty five years ago in January, it was an anniversary of sorts, not particularly a great one for yourself, was the Mike Tyson fight. You managed to come back from that type of KO defeat. How are you able to come back from that type of defeat, was it the time off or was it just mentally getting yourself prepared."
Larry Homes: "Well, you just said it, the time off and getting myself ready and not having the time to get ready to fight Mike Tyson. That was one of the downfalls that I had, but once I got out of that fight, once Mike Tyson beat me and what not, I had time to come home and to relax, think about it and then get myself in good top condition before I went out and did it again. That's what I didn't have when I fought Mike Tyson. But you know what, its OK, I think a did a real good job and I think that whatever was supposed to happen, happened."
Jenna J: "As far as Pacquiao goes, do you think he should take more time off, and do you think them trying to put him right back in with Marquez is a bad idea."
Larry Homes: "I do I agree with you and what you are saying yeah, In agree that he should take a little bit more time off and rest a little bit, get his thoughts together. I don't think he should just go fight so these guys can make some money or he can make some money. I think he should be well situated, he made a lot of money, every fight he made money. I don't think he should just go back in and fight. He should take some time off think about it, about what you did and what your gonna do and then you go into it. You don't just jump out there after a couple of months after you've been knocked out try and go out there and prove to someone that you've still got it, cos your gonna get knocked out again. I just don't think that's right."
Jenna J: "Undoubtedly right now the fighter they call pound for pound is Floyd Mayweather Jr, he calls the shots, he makes the big fight contracts. What do you think about his position in boxing today."
Larry Homes: "I think its a good position in boxing, he's got that, he's loud, people like him, there's a lot of people who don't like him, and they end up betting on him to get beat. When he gets beat everything will change for him everything wont be all rosey no more, he's gonna be put down as an ordinary fighter. People like to take the legs off from under you, they like to do that, you ride so high on that horse, and you think you wont fall, believe me, you will fall. He's got to be careful and think about what he's doing and what he says."
Jenna J: "How much do you think his legacy will be affected if he does lose. If he retires as an undefeated fighter people will have him out there as one of the greatest fighters ever. If he loses, where will he be."
Larry Homes: "That doesn't really matter, he's still going to be known as one of the greatest fighters ever. A lot of the time people put emphasis on that and he's done what he's done and you cant take that away. He is a great fighter, his record speaks for itself, but your always going to have doubters that will doubt what he did and who he fought, just like myself. They say who, Larry Holmes, they don't mention me, they don't even want to mention my name because they know I backs it up, and I did back it up, and they cant say anything negative about me because I did it. The best thing for them is to not say anything at all and that's what they are doing."
Jenna J: "You've seen so many great fighters come and go in the sport, you've seen the era that had Haggler, Duran and Leonard, I must ask you where do you think Floyd Mayweather Jr ranks in that mix-up of all those great fighters."
Larry Homes: "Well all of them were good you know, Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard, you cant say anything negative about those guys, them guys carry themselves with respect, those guys did good things for boxing, that kept boxing in the light. Today it's lacking in boxing, they need more Duran's, Sugar Ray Leonard's the Larry Homes, they need that out there and they're not getting it. You got one guy out there that people would like to see and his name is Mayweather, and a lot of times he turns people away for the things he's said. He's still young and he will say those things because he still thinks he's the greatest. Sugar Ray Leonard, good guy, great fighter, personality wise, Duran, all the guys. I can't about the fighter's today except they just can't fight as good as Mayweather. He outshines them."
Jenna J: "Well Larry, there's a good anniversary coming up for yourself, it will be happening in June. It will be the thirty fifth anniversary of your fight with Ken Norton.
I'm just curios, how did that fight come about, and can you believe its been thirtys five years."
Larry Homes: "I cant believe it will be thirty five years gone June since I won that title, those years have went by so fast. That fight was a blessing, Leon Spinks did not want to fight Muhammad Ali to defend, and the WBC had a box off and Ken Norton won it, and then he had to fight the mandatory, which was me and that gave me the opportunity to become champion. I think they did the right thing, followed their own rules and that they made and I became a champion and I defended that title for seven and a half years. I don't think anybody can knock it, but there is always somebody who will knock it."
Jenna J: "Going into that fight with Ken Norton, did you think of him as the champion. I know they awarded him the championship belt. Did you think of him as the champion, because most people think he beat Muhammad Ali in their fight."
Larry Homes: "I thought he was the champion, I recognised him as the champion, and I was fighting for the championship, no matter what people said. It took me a while to prove it, to convince people that I was the champion, and the only way I could do that was by fighting and giving everybody an opportunity which I done."
Jenna J: "What are your fondest memories of the fight with Ken Norton."
Larry Homes: "I became heavyweight champ of the world, that's my fondest memory. That's what made me what I am today, being heavyweight champion winning that fight with Kenny Norton."
Jenna J: "Larry, recently there has been some news regarding a fighter, and he's a fighter a lot like yourself, he fought late into his career and had some success, that would be Bernard Hopkins. He won the title again at the age of forty eight. What do you think about Bernard doing all this at that age."
Larry Homes: "I think a man should be able to do what he wants to do as long as he wants to do it. It just proves that there is a lack of competition out there in the division that he's fighting in. I think he's doing good, I think he's a good champion at times, you know we all have our bad days and our good days and sometimes we say the things that we shouldn't say. Bernard is no different to anybody else, he's a great fighter, he's a good champion, he says that he wants to be champion, he wants everyone to recognize this and know it. But there is something with him where he's not going to be really accepted as a champion, he's not going to be noticed when he walks down the street like Jo Blow like a Larry Holmes or George Foreman or a Muhammad Ali. People will recognize him when they hear his name so more power to him keep on going, don't stop until your ready to stop."
Jenna J: "Interesting that you should bring that up I spoke to George Foreman recently and his view was that Hopkins should hang them up and put them away. Why do you think Foreman thinks like that."
Larry Holmes: "He didn't stop so why is he going to tell somebody else to stop, he was fifty years old when he got the title so, so be it. That's the way it is. George Foreman can say a lot of things you know, but you should practice what you preach. George Foreman should let this boy go and let him do what he's got to do."
Jenna J: "I hear your going to be doing something with Evander Holyfield. Can you tell us a little about that."
Larry Holmes: "That's a stage show that were going to be putting together, its a meet and greet to see some slides of us and fights. We do some talking, we answer questions, take pictures, we sit and talk with people and we do it around the country, whoever wants us.
Were just waiting for they guy who is setting it up to book the first date."
Jenna J: "What's it like for yourself when you approach young fans, how do you explain the time that was in boxing."
Larry Holmes: "I tell them that boxing was great and that I didn't take no short cuts. A lot of the time people want to do boxing and they take short cuts, you cant take short cuts. Ive fought, I worked hard at what I did and what I was doing I worked hard and it paid off. If they put the time in like I did then it will pay off for them too. Those are the things that I say to young people."
Jenna J: "Larry, you had a little bit of a health scare not too long ago, can you tell the fans how your doing and getting yourself back in the gym and getting a little fitter."
Larry Holmes: "I got a lot of people helping me out, making sure I'm doing the right things, eating the right foods and what not, get myself together. Its no joke low sugar, diabetes, you think its a joke, its no joke it will knock you out. That will hit you harder than George Foreman or Ernie Shavers. You gotta take care of yourself. More people have it than I ever thought. I think that everybody should get checked once in a while. Make it a habit of getting yourself checked because you never know if you've got it or not."
Jenna J: "I its want to ask you about one more fighter Larry. His name is Adrien Broner. People say he's going to be a future star, but with stars sometimes you act out a little bit. He was recently filmed ripping up money and flushing it down the toilet. What's the biggest pitfall for an up and coming fighter like Adrien Broner."
Larry Holmes: "Doing what he just did, what he said he was doing, ripping up money throwing it down the toilet, that's bad. You don't do that, especially when so many people need it, they fight for it and your doing a bad example, but hey he's gonna do what he's gonna do. Nobody can tell him what not to do I guess or try to tell him not to do it, but he keeps doing it."
Jenna J: "What's the best advice you can give to a young up and coming fighter."
Larry Holmes: "Keep your hands up and keep your ass out of trouble and do what you need to do to be heavyweight champion or lightweight or middleweight champion of the world. Don't ever think your better than somebody else because there's always somebody better than you."
Jenna J: "Larry your doing your show still that you've been doing for eight years. Can you tell us a little about that."
Larry Holmes: "Yeah, we've been doing Larry Holmes: 'What The Heck Were They Think' and we talk about different people and different things. People do something out of the ordinary, we talk about it and give people something interesting in what I'm doing."
Jenna J: "Final question for you Larry. You have a lot of fans that still support you, still follow you that were inspired by your boxing career. Anything you want to say to them."
Larry Holmes: "I want to thank them for doing that, I want to thank them for following me. I hope I set the example they they would think that I would set. I appreciate that support, don't give up on me and keep me tuned in. Thank you for having me on the show."
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