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Ring Magazine

Concannon's Corner

Personal Biography

Dream Match
Larry Holmes Vs Lennox Lewis

By Paul Concannon

Readers of BoxingHelp will need little introduction to the two participants of the latest dream match, so just a brief reminder of the achievements of these great heavyweights will suffice.   

Larry Holmes was the outstanding heavyweight of the eighties. He won the title with a 15 round split decision over veteran Ken Norton and would defend with success on 20 occasions. His title victims included several former and future champions and few of the outstanding contenders were ignored. A slippery boxer with a famous jab and underrated power, it took a pair of bitterly controversial decision defeats to Michael Spinks to finally deprive the outspoken legend of the title in 1985-86.

Lennox Lewis, of course, is the main man of the nineties and is currently seen as the true undisputed champion, despite the claims of IBF Heavyweight Champion Chris Byrd, & recently crowned WBA Heavyweight Champion Roy Jones, JR along with WBO champion Corrie Sanders. Lewis is a veteran of 17 World title bouts and a former British, Commonwealth and European champion. Need I say more?

Profiles

Larry Holmes
Country: USA (Easton, PA)
Status: Active
Record: 69-6-0 (44)

Style and strengths: Cunning, fast mover with a potent right hand. Durable and famous for his ability to shrug off knockdown blows and recuperate fast, Holmes was a true box-fighter that could slug his way out of trouble when the chips were down. Neat footwork and a tremendous and constant jab were the fundamentals of this great all rounder.

Weaknesses: Susceptibility to good jabbers, sometimes a little plodding.

Notable victories: Earnie Shavers (Twice, Holmes floored heavily in the second fight), Ken Norton, Mike Weaver, Muhammad Ali, Leon Spinks, Trevor Berbick, Leon Spinks, Renaldo Snipes (Holmes down in round 7), Gerry Cooney, Tim Witherspoon, and Bonecrusher Smith.    

Notable defeats: Twice to Michael Spinks and a crushing KO defeat to Mike Tyson at age 38.

Lennox Lewis
Country: England (London)
Status: Heavyweight Champion
Record: Won 40- 2- 1(31)

Style and strengths: Tall (6 feet 5 Inches), fast handed, huge puncher with a long reach and laid back, relaxed style of boxing. Can dominate from the outside behind the jab to set opponents up for huge hooks and uppercuts. He is a true one punch KO artist with tremendous physical advantages over many of his peers.

Weaknesses: Sometimes over confident and fragile; his two defeats were one-punch types to Oliver McCall and Hasim Rahman. Sometimes fights lazy and with too much caution.

Notable victories: Razor Ruddock, Tony Tucker, Frank Bruno, Tommy Morrison, Ray Mercer, Oliver McCall, Henry Akinwande, Andrew Golota, Evander Holyfield, Michael  Grant, David Tua, Hasim Rahman, and Mike Tyson.

Notable defeats: Aforementioned knockouts to McCall and Rahman, both avenged.

The Fight…

As the two square up, Lewis simply looks what he, the bigger man. Broader, heavier, more muscular and two inches the taller man, Lewis eyeballs the veteran during an intense stare-down. The crowd is visibly excited in anticipation of a cracking heavyweight match.

Lewis goes looking for Holmes early, as though he doesn’t want the smooth boxing veteran to find a rhythm, his jab lands first and he tags Holmes with a fast right hand that sends him peddling against the ropes. A right-uppercut, left-hook combination sees Holmes hurt early and Lewis piles in looking for a sensational finish. Larry bravely fires back with his own right; Lewis takes the punch and grins. Holmes fires a combination and breaks free from the ropes momentarily. Lewis applies heavy pressure and steps in behind his heavier jab. Another stinging right connects for Lewis as Holmes totters back in to a neutral corner, hurt yet again. In a show of bravado Larry beckons in the bigger man-it will be a futile gesture, a monstrous left-right combination connect to leave Holmes sprawled on the canvas. His eyes glassy, Holmes wobbles erect at the count of 9. Lewis is in explosive form and dishes out a further combination as Holmes ties him up with a minute gone in a wild first round.

Using all his savvy and experience, Holmes pokes and fiddles his way through the next minute, he has been in the position before with both Shavers and Snipes. Lewis has momentarily punched himself out and opts to jab from a distance before rocking Holmes again with a fast right late in the round. Lewis wins the first by a 10-7 margin on all the cards. 

Lewis steps in with the jab in the second, it his straight left that is prevalent in the early going. Larry attempts his jab, but seems genuinely surprised at the vigor of the bigger, stronger, Britain.

Finally Larry begins to find a groove, moving from side to side he lands the jab and a few right crosses hit the mark. A left hook gets through, but Lewis takes the punch well. A right hand sends sweat spraying from the dred-locked Englishman. It’s a good spell for Larry; his jab lands well and Lewis’ somewhat contemptuous guard is allowing for the odd sneak right and left uppercut to get through. Lewis, unconcerned, looks for his own left hands as he stalks the fast moving Easton man until the bell. Round two to Holmes.

Larry has found a new lease on life and is seemingly over the bad early spell. He connects with rights and lefts in the opening seconds of the third and even backs Lewis up. Lewis replies with an uppercut and jabs his way off the ropes. Lewis is now the man going backwards as he dances away from the smaller man.

Both men land with crosses a minute in, then Lewis lands a cracking hook high on the head of Holmes and Larry jabs his way out of trouble. Holmes goes at him again, as though testing his mettle. Fast jabs and combinations go in as Lewis ties his man up, leaning on him with all his extra weight. The crowd is behind the veteran, admiring his courage after that terrible start. A fast combination and Lewis is suddenly unsteady just 10 seconds before the bell. Two quick rights and a left hook go in as Holmes helps himself to another round.

Sensing an incredible turnaround, the crowd roars on Holmes as he stabs his jab at Lewis, coming through his opponent’s greater reach to score well. Lewis smiles and begins to push out his own jab, for the first time in a round and half he is the man coming forward.

Suddenly, it’s all over; just as Holmes times a fast right at Lewis, a gigantic slashing Lewis uppercut connects flush, snapping his head back on it’s shoulders, a following left hook and thunderbolt right hand connect, exploding through the defense and depositing the American flat on his back. It’s a highlight reel KO. Larry somehow gets to his feet just as the referee’s count reaches nine, but his glazed expression and wobbly legs convince the referee to call off the bout instantly.

Holmes is furious, and bitterly objects to the stoppage once his head has cleared. Lewis points out that as great a fighter as Larry was; he never did meet anyone with the combination of height, weight, speed, power and athleticism of himself. “I had the jab of Carl William’s, the size of Cooney and the power of Shavers-tonight Larry just met his match, for real,” says an enthused and remarkably relaxed Lewis afterwards.

Result. Lewis TKO 4

 

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