Larry Holmes is an American former professional boxer who competed from 1973 to 2002. He grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania, which led to his boxing nickname of the Easton Assassin.
Holmes, whose left jab is rated among the best in boxing history, held the WBC heavyweight title from 1978 to 1983, The Ring magazine and lineal heavyweight titles from 1980 to 1985, and the inaugural IBF heavyweight title from 1983 to 1985. During his only title reign, he defended his title against 19 fighters, the second most in history behind Joe Louis. He also holds the record for the longest individual heavyweight title streak in the modern boxing history. Holmes is one of only five boxers—along with Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Leon Spinks and Trevor Berbick—to defeat Muhammad Ali; he is the only one to have stopped Ali.
Holmes won his first 48 professional bouts, including victories over Norton, Ali, Earnie Shavers, Mike Weaver, Gerry Cooney, Tim Witherspoon, Carl Williams and Marvis Frazier. He fell one short of matching Rocky Marciano's career record of 49–0 when he lost to Michael Spinks in an upset in 1985. Holmes retired after losing a rematch to Spinks the following year, but made repeated comebacks. He was unsuccessful in three further attempts (against Mike Tyson in 1988, Evander Holyfield in 1992 and Oliver McCall in 1995) to regain the heavyweight title. Holmes fought for the final time in 2002, aged 52, against the 334lb Eric "Butterbean" Esch, and ended his career with a record of 69 wins and 6 losses. He is frequently ranked as one of the greatest heavyweights of all time and has been inducted into both the International Boxing Hall of Fame and World Boxing Hall of Fame.
When Holmes was nineteen, he started boxing. In his twenty-first bout, he boxed Nick Wells in the semifinals of the 1972 National Olympic Trials in Fort Worth, Texas. Wells, a southpaw known for unprecedently high knockout-to-win percentage for an amateur boxer, with a majority of knockouts coming in the first round, stopped Holmes in the first round. Nevertheless, Holmes was chosen by a selection committee of the National Olympic authorities to fight at the Olympic Box-offs in West Point, New York, where he had a match-up versus a fighting seaman Duane Bobick. Holmes was dropped in the first round with a right to the head. He got up and danced out of range, landing several stiff jabs in the process. Bobick mauled Holmes in the second round but could not corner him. The referee warned Holmes twice in the second for holding. In the third, Bobick landed several good rights and started to corner Holmes, who continued to hold. Eventually, Holmes was disqualified for excessive holding.
Holmes invested the money he earned from boxing and settled in his hometown of Easton. When he retired from boxing, Holmes employed more than 200 people through his various business holdings. In 2008, he owned two restaurants and a nightclub, a training facility, an office complex, a snack food bar and slot machines. Holmes currently co-hosts a talk show What The Heck Were They Thinking?