Larry Holmes vs. Michael Spinks

Larry Holmes vs. Michael Spinks, billed as History: A September to Remember, was a professional boxing match contested on 21 September 1985, for the IBF and The Ring heavyweight championship.[1]

History: A September to Remember
Date21 September 1985
VenueRiviera Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada
Title(s) on the lineIBF and The Ring Heavyweight Championship
Tale of the tape
Boxer United States Larry Holmes United States Michael Spinks
Nickname "The Easton Assassin" "Jinx"
Hometown Easton, Pennsylvania St. Louis, Missouri
Purse $3,000,000 $900,000
Pre-fight record 48–0 (34 KO) 27–0 (19 KO)
Age 35 years, 10 months 29 years, 2 months
Height 6 ft 3 in (191 cm) 6 ft 2+12 in (189 cm)
Weight 221+12 lb (100 kg) 200 lb (91 kg)
Style Orthodox Orthodox
Recognition IBF and The Ring
Heavyweight Champion
WBA, WBC, IBF, and The Ring undisputed
Light Heavyweight Champion
Spinks defeated Holmes by Unanimous Decision

Background edit

By mid 1985, Larry Holmes had made 19th successful defenses of the Heavyweight championship he won against Ken Norton in June 1978, following Leon Spinks' vacating of WBC title in order to have a rematch against Muhammad Ali. He was also one win away from tying Rocky Marciano's record of 49–0. Meanwhile Michael Spinks had successfully unified the Light Heavyweight division and was looking to move up to Heavyweight. In June 1985 the two of them came to terms to meet in September.[2]

Holmes, who was 6 to 1 favourite entering the bout, had previously beaten Michael's brother Leon in June 1981. No current or former Light Heavyweight champion had ever won the Heavyweight title, despite 13 having attempted to over the years.[3] The last person to hold titles in both divisions was Bob Fitzsimmons who won the Light Heavyweight title nearly seven years after he lost the Heavyweight title to James J. Jeffries.

Veteran trainer Eddie Futch, who had trained both fighters since 1981, opted to sit out the bout rather be in the corner of one or the other of them. As a result Holmes brought back former trainer Richie Giachetti, while Spinks' assistant trainer Nelson Brison led his team.[4]

Despite many boxing experts expecting Spinks to face a near 50 pound weight disparity against the champion,[5] at the weigh-in he came in at 200 pounds, a meer 21½ Ib difference.[6]

The fight edit

During the first two rounds Holmes was able to control the pace using his jab. As the bout went on, Spinks was able to use unpredictable movement to throw flurries of punches from unexpected angles which scored points but never troubled the champion. By the last few rounds, pattern had formed, with Holmes coming forward, loading up, scoring with hard punches but never landing anything that looked like hurting Spinks. Spinks using movement to fight on the back foot, landing the odd flurry, before moving out of range. After 15 rounds, Lawrence Wallace scored it 145–142 while Harold Lederman and Dave Moretti had it 143–142, all three in favour of Spinks, giving him a unanimous decision victory. The Associated Press scored it 144–141 for Holmes while United Press International had it 146–141 for Holmes.[7]

The victory made Spinks the first ever Light Heavyweight champion to win the Heavyweight title, as well as one of the first pair of brothers to hold versions of the heavyweight title.[8]

Aftermath edit

Speaking in the post fight press conference when asked about missing the chance to tie Rocky Marciano's record Holmes said "I'm 35 fighting young men and Rocky was 25 fighting old men. To be technical, Rocky couldn't carry my jockstrap." The comment would cause some controversy and Holmes subsequently apologized.[9]

In his 1998 autobiography Against The Odds, Holmes would recount that after suffering a pinched nerve in training, a nerve specialist told him that he had a slipped disc in his fifth vertebra and that he might be paralyzed for life any time I threw a punch with a right hand. This would be contradicted by other doctors who said that chance that he would get paralyzed were "practically nil." Nevertheless, Holmes said that the specialist's comments affected his performance, "I found that not only was I flat and listless, I was reluctant to pull the trigger on the right hand."[10]

Undercard edit

Confirmed bouts:[11]

Broadcasting edit

Country Broadcaster
  United States HBO

References edit

  1. ^ "Larry Holmes vs. Michael Spinks (1st meeting)". BoxRec. Retrieved 26 March 2024.
  2. ^ "Holmes Agrees To Fight Spinks". The New York Times. 16 June 1985. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  3. ^ Bernard Fernandez (21 September 2021). "Larry Holmes-Michael Spinks 1: When The Jinx Shot Down The Easton Assassin". Ring Magazine. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  4. ^ Dave Raffo (18 September 1985). "Larry Holmes and Michael Spinks both will be without..." Las Vegas, Nevada: United Press International. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  5. ^ "Michael Spinks Faces Big Problem". Chicago Tribune. 24 June 1985. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  6. ^ Peter Alfano (21 September 1985). "Spinks at 200 for Title Fight". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  7. ^ Michael Carbert (21 September 2023). "Sept. 21, 1985: Holmes vs Spinks I". The Fight City. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  8. ^ Ed Schuyler Jr. (22 September 1985). "Spinks Gains Piece Of Boxing History By Beating Holmes". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  9. ^ Pat Putnam (30 September 1985). "Michael Played The Heavy". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  10. ^ Larry Holmes; Phil Berger (November 1998). Larry Holmes: Against the Odds (1st ed.). St Martin's Press. p. 235. ISBN 9781861052360. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  11. ^ "BoxRec - event".
Preceded by Larry Holmes's bouts
21 September 1985
Succeeded by
Preceded by
vs. Jim MacDonald
Michael Spinks's bouts
21 September 1985
Preceded by The Ring Upset of the Year
Succeeded by