In a recent social media debate it was decided that Anthony Joshua would’ve beaten Larry Holmes if both men faced one another when they were in their prime.
When asked by proboxing-fans.com how he would fare against the champions of today, Holmes initially indicated he would be at a disadvantage, “Well, I’m 70 years old, so…” One of the greatest jabs in the sport may have deteriorated, but his sense of humour hasn’t.
“Yeah, well this isn’t my time, you wouldn’t hear of these guys.
“We’d beat these guys up, we’d beat them up. They don’t have the abilities that we have, but they would’ve given us a pretty good fight. But, when you got guys like Kenny Norton, Joe Frazier, Muhammad Ali, Ron Lyle, Larry Holmes, we got a lot of good fighters out there when I was fighting.”
Holmes went on further, outside of the Heavyweight division and indicated even today’s pound-for-pound stars Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Terence Crawford would also have stood “no chance” in his era.
“They couldn’t stand a chance when I was fighting. When I was fighting, Sugar Ray Leonard was out there, Marvin Hagler was out there, [it’s] no contest.”
Larry Holmes also revealed to proboxing-fans.com what it was like to firstly learn from, ’The Greatest’, Muhammad Ali and then how it felt to beat him too.
“Yeah, well you want to learn how to fight, you got to start with the best. So I asked Ali to give me a job as his sparring partner, and he said to me, ‘Can you take it?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I can take it.’
“So he gave me a job to test me out for a couple of weeks, and then I was okay for him.
“And that was it, and then next thing you know, I had a job and same thing with Joe Frazier. The word was out that I was a good boxer, and I worked with Ali and then Joe Frazier.
“My intention was not to be a good sparring partner. My intention was to make some money, and box with the best fighters, and learn from them as I can. And that’s what I did.”
The lessons learnt years before were to be taught once more. This time it was the student delivering the schooling.
Ali came out of retirement in the hope he would become the first-ever four-time Heavyweight champion on October 2, 1980.
It all went to plan… for Holmes. Dominating proceedings from the first bell, fans endured a painful viewing of ‘The Greatest of All Time,’ as he was dismantled before, finally, Angelo Dundee, trainer to Ali, put an end to the display.
“It felt good boxing Ali because I knew what he could do. I knew because I sparred with him, I knew what he could do.
“And his jab was like my jab, his jab was fast, my jab was a little bit faster.
“I didn’t take punches, that would be him that took the punches.
“And I was doing that while I was training with him, but when I got in the fight, I had to do the same thing.
“You learn how to jab, you learn how to duck punches, and learn just watching them. Ali used to do a rope-a-dope. I learned how not to do that, because I didn’t want to stay up on the ropes to get hit.
“But I just learned everything I can learn from Muhammad Ali, I stayed at his camp. I ate there, he took care of me and that was okay.”