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LARRY HOLMES AT THE MAY 11 SHOW AT THE TROPICANA

Boxing Insider Promotions brings the former heavyweight champ back to the Boardwalk

View our livestream here >>> videos.BoxingInsider.com 

Very few champions in the history of boxing could take control of a fight with his jab quite like Larry Holmes. And it carried him to fame, fortune and a spot among the all-time heavyweight greats.

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Boxing Insider Promotions is very mindful of the sport’s history, and he’s bringing pro boxing to the Tropicana Hotel & Casino for the first time in seven years. He’s bringing Holmes back as well, as the “Easton Assassin” makes a special appearance at the Trop’s showroom on Saturday night (MAY 11).

The champ will be watching some of the best talent on the east coast, which includes someone who is bound to be part of the heavyweight division’s future as well, as undefeated (3-0) Pryce Taylor competes in a four-round bout as he faces Rochester’s Lawrence King Jr. (2-1) in one of the more anticipated bouts.

The Holmes story is a classic take of a competitor rising from the ground up.

A native of Cuthbert, GA, Holmes grew up in Easton, PA. He spent part of his early years working to help support his family, and part of it in the amateur boxing ranks.

Holmes was a good amateur, but he suffered an embarrassing fate at the 1972 Olympic Trials, first getting stopped by Nick Wells in the first round and then being disqualified for excessive holding against Duane Bobick. Clearly he had to redeem himself in the pro ranks. And clearly he did.

Holmes turned professional out of the spotlight, and fought quite a bit on the undercards of Don King’s shows. He also served as a sparring partner for many of the well-known heavyweights, most notably Muhammad Ali. He kept plugging away, and kept winning. Larry took a 26-0 record into a March 1978 fight against Earnie Shavers, which was to be his biggest test to date by far. He dominated Shavers, announcing himself as a prime contender for heavyweight honors.

It was during 1978 that change was taking place in the heavyweight division. Leon Spinks upset Ali to win the title, and a rematch for September had been set (which Ali won). In the process of all this, Spinks defied the WBC, which had demanded that he fight top contender Ken Norton.

So the WBC stripped Spinks and awarded the title retroactively to Norton, who had previously beaten Jimmy Young in a title eliminator. Norton was matched with Holmes in a title defense, and it turned out to be a thriller. The 15th round will go down in history as one of the great heavyweight rounds ever. Norton won by a single point on one scorecard, while Holmes won by a point on the other two cards and took the title with him. It was a long way from that DQ against Bobick.

Holmes won twenty consecutive fights after that, making defenses for both the WBC and (after a dispute with that sanctioning organization) the IBF. In two of those fights – against Shavers and Renaldo Snipes – he had to get off the floor to win.

Then, of course, there was the much-ballyhooed mega-fight with Gerry Cooney, which looked like it might end early when Cooney went down in the second round, then turned more dramatic as Cooney landed more than his share of blows. By the 13th, Cooney, who was tired and had been pelted by Holmes’ sharper punches, went down and was rescued by cornerman Victor Valle, ending it.

Another one of those fights was painful in a different way, as Holmes pummeled his former sparring mate Ali for ten rounds before it was stopped. In post-fight interviews, Holmes expressed how difficult it was to go through that process.

With a 48-0 record, Holmes was closing in on breaking Rocky Marciano’s mark of 49 wins without a defeat for a heavyweight champ. But Michael Spinks, who had bulked up from the light heavyweight class, shocked him and the boxing world with a 15-round upset decision. In the rematch, Holmes beat Spinks in the minds of many, but came away on the short end of a 15-round split verdict.

There were other title opportunities after that – against Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Oliver McCall. Holmes fought well into his forties, and defeated Mike Weaver and Eric “Butterbean” Esch past the age of 50.

Most people don’t remember all that. What they remember is the great jab – one of the greatest the heavyweight division has ever seen – and the willingness to fight any of the challengers put in front of him.

Fans at Saturday’s fight card at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino can meet up with history as Holmes will be in attendance to meet and greet customers. And they can see local favorite Justin Figueroa (8-0, 6 KO’s) make his return to Atlantic City as he takes on Antonio Armas (13-7, 8 KO’s) in a scheduled-six round junior middleweight fight.

This is the current lineup for the May 11 Boxing Insider Promotions show:

8 Rounds — Featherweights
JOHN LEONARDO (10-1-1, 4 KO’s), Manalapan Township, NJ vs. FRANK GONZALEZ (12-5, 6 KO’s), Tampa, FL

8 Rounds — Welterweights
AVIOUS GRIFFIN (13-0, 12 KO’s), Chattanooga, TN vs. LESTHER ESPINO (8-5, 6 KO’s), Nicaragua

6 Rounds — Junior Middleweights
JUSTIN FIGUEROA (8-0, 6 KO’s), Atlantic City, NJ vs. ANTONIO ARMAS (13-7, 8 KO’s), Venezuela

6 Rounds — Jr. Middleweights
DWYKE FLEMMINGS (6-0, 6 KO’s), Paterson, NJ vs. JONATHAN HAMPTON (3-4, 1 KO), Gary, IN

4 Rounds — Heavyweights
PRYCE TAYLOR (3-0, 2 KO’s), Brooklyn, NY vs. LAWRENCE KING JR. (2-1,1 KO), Rochester, NY

4 Rounds — Middleweights
JACOB SOLIS (3-0, 3 KO’s), New York, NY vs. BRANDON MARTINEZ (1-3, 1 KO), Tucson, AZ

4 Rounds — Lightweights
KOBY WILLIAMS (pro debut), Brooklyn, NY vs. KEVIN HICKS  (1-2, 1 KO), Taswell, WV

Tickets are priced at $60, $100, $150 and $200, and are available through TicketMaster (https://www.ticketmaster.com/boxing-insider-live-professional-boxing-atlantic-city-new-jersey-05-11-2024/event/02006076BA7B700C).
 
This event will also stream live and free of charge at BoxingInsider.com

videos.BoxingInsider.com 

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