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Boxing – 1980 – Howard Cosell Hosts Post Fight Conversations With Larry Holmes And Muhammad Ali

Larry Holmes vs. Muhammad Ali was billed as The Last Hurrah….which was a professional boxing match contested on October 2, 1980 in Las Vegas for the WBC and Lineal Heavyweight Championships ….as the fight was estimated to have been watched by a record 2 billion viewers worldwide.   

Larry Holmes was Ali’s sparring partner for a long time. “He lived with Ali. They boxed hundreds of rounds. Look for Ali to decision Holmes,” said Rollie Schwartz, past national chairman of the AAU Boxing Commission prior to the fight.  After defeating Leon Spinks to regain the WBA heavyweight title on September 15, 1978…..that is when Ali announced his retirement in June 1979….but on February 14, 1980, Ali told the Associated Press that he was 75 percent sure that he would return to the ring…..and on March 5th he agreed to fight John Tate, the new WBA heavyweight champion, in a bout tentatively scheduled for June…..however, Tate lost the title to Mike Weaver by a 15th-round knockout on March 31…..so, at a press conference on April 16th, Ali said he would fight WBC Champion Larry Holmes. The announcement came as a surprise, as the press conference was billed as a contract-signing for a bout between Ali and Weaver. Ali said negotiations for a Weaver fight fell apart the previous night when Weaver’s promoter, Bob Arum, issued new demands that “were totally unacceptable.” 

On July 17, 1980, Ali and Holmes signed to fight on October 2 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas….as promoter Don King said Ali would be paid $8 million and Holmes $6 million. Caesars Palace constructed a temporary 24,790-seat outdoor arena for the fight…..when the live gate was $6 million, a record for that time. 

Ali weighed in at 217½ pounds, his lightest weight since he defeated George Foreman on October 30, 1974. There were no knockdowns, but Holmes dominated the fight….and was given every round by all three judges…..as Holmes won through a technical knockout after Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee stopped the fight after the 10th round.

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