Michael Spinks vs. Larry Holmes II

Michael Spinks vs. Larry Holmes II, billed as Vindication in Vegas, was a professional boxing match contested on 19 April 1986, for the IBF and The Ring heavyweight championship.[1]

Vindication in Vegas
Date19 April 1986
VenueLas Vegas Hilton, Las Vegas, Nevada
Title(s) on the lineIBF and The Ring heavyweight titles
Tale of the tape
Boxer United States Michael Spinks United States Larry Holmes
Nickname "Jinx" "The Easton Assassin"
Hometown St. Louis, Missouri Easton, Pennsylvania
Purse $2,000,000 $1,125,000
Pre-fight record 28–0 (19 KO) 48–1 (34 KO)
Age 29 years, 9 months 36 years, 5 months
Height 6 ft 2+12 in (189 cm) 6 ft 3 in (191 cm)
Weight 205 lb (93 kg) 223 lb (101 kg)
Style Orthodox Orthodox
Recognition IBF and The Ring
Heavyweight Champion
Former Heavyweight Champion
Spinks defeated Holmes by Split Decision



In October 1985, shortly after Michael Spinks defeated Larry Holmes to win the heavyweight title, promotor Don King pitched to HBO Sports president Seth Abraham a World Series style competition to unify the heavyweight division which had been without an undisputed champion since Leon Spinks in 1978. By mid January 1986 negotiations between King and the other promoters (including Spinks' promoter Butch Lewis) were completed and the Heavyweight unification series was set to began in March with Pinklon Thomas vs. Trevor Berbick.[2] Spinks' first bout in this series would be a rematch with Holmes a month late.[3][4]

In the build up the bout, Holmes sent a letter to IBF president Bob Lee listing the Judges he didn't want to officiate the rematch, Lee however declined to take Holmes' advice.[2] Holmes would later claim that the judges from the first fight "must have been drunk" when they scored Spinks the winner.

Holmes was a 7½ to 5 betting favourite.

The fight


Holmes would start the fight strong, throwing many hard shots and left jabs while Spinks was focused on dodging punches and keeping out of range. As the rounds went on, Spinks would start using his jab and left hook to wear down Holmes.

The 14th round would start with Spinks scoring with a series of jabs and head punches, however with about a minute left in the round, Holmes suddenly badly hurt Spinks with a right high to the head. Spinks bent at the knee and almost went down. Holmes would land a couple more punches but he couldn't finish off Spinks, who as the round drew to a close threw a series of head shots that backed Holmes across the ring. Holmes would again hurt Spinks in the final round, with a right that had the champion backing into the ropes.

Judge Joe Cortez scored the contest 144–141 in favour of Holmes, but the other two judges Frank Brunette and Jerry Roth scored it for Spinks 144–141 and 144–142 respectively, giving the champion a split decision victory.[5][6][7]

HBO's unofficial scorer Harold Lederman (who had been one of the three judges for the first bout) had it 144–141 for Holmes. The Associated Press also scored the bout for Holmes, 143–142.



Speaking in the ring afterwards Spinks said "I had to stay cool and calm, then break his morale, Larry proved to be one hell of a champion. He was a die-hard out there tonight." In a post-fight interview with HBO, Holmes said, "the judges, the referees and promoters can kiss me where the sun don't shine—and because we're on HBO, that's my big black behind.[8]

Holmes was taken to Valley Hospital, after breaking his right thumb in the third round. He would announce his retirement in November 1986.[9]



Confirmed bouts:[10]


Country Broadcaster
  Philippines PTV 4
  United Kingdom ITV
  United States HBO


  1. ^ "Larry Holmes vs. Michael Spinks (2nd meeting)". boxrec.com. BoxRec. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  2. ^ a b John Florio; Ouisie Shapiro (2013). One Punch from the Promised Land: Leon Spinks, Michael Spinks, and the Myth of the Heavyweight Title. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 172–173.
  3. ^ Richard Hoffer (March 22, 1986). "It's tournament time—in boxing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  4. ^ Matt Bennett (March 22, 1986). "Unification bouts begin". Columbus Dispatch – via NewsBank.
  5. ^ Ed Schuyler Jr. (April 20, 1986). "Spinks beats Holmes again to keep title". Lexington Herald-Leader. AP – via NewsBank.
  6. ^ Dave Raffo (19 April 1986). "Michael Spinks, fighting the way Larry Holmes did when..." upi.com. United Press International. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  7. ^ Ed Schuyler Jr. (19 April 1986). "Spinks beats Holmes again with a split decision". Gainesville Sun. Associated Press. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  8. ^ Pat Putnam (28 April 1986). "Battle Of The Ballot". si.com/. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  9. ^ "SPORTS PEOPLE – Holmes Retires". The New York Times. November 7, 1986. Retrieved February 26, 2015.
  10. ^ "BoxRec - event".
Preceded by Michael Spinks's bouts
19 April 1986
Succeeded by
Larry Holmes's bouts
19 April 1986
Succeeded by