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Boxing – 1985 – 15 Round Heavyweight Title Fight – Larry Holmes VS Michael Spinks – 1st Fight


It has always been this lil ole chiweenie Sportsphile’s opinion that the only way that a world champion boxer should lose his crown….is by being soundly defeated by the challenger for the title….either by KO, TKO  or a fight that went the distance where the Champ was either knocked down 2 or 3 time….or when the Champ had a badly swollen, bruised and cut face at the end of a fight that went the distance….while the challenger had no visible signs of a beating received….thus indicating that the challenger obviously won the fight.

On September 21, 1985…some 32 years ago….one of heavyweight boxing’s longest reigns as world champion came to a controversial end, as light-heavyweight ruler Michael Spinks moved up in weight and challenged then heavyweight king Larry Holmes….in a fight that took place at The Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas….as 35-year-old Larry “The Easton Assassin” Larry Holmes met 29-year-old Michael “The Jinx” Spinks….and put on a fight that was later called the 1985 upset of the year.‬

Most experts felt the much bigger and harder-hitting heavyweight champion…. who was making his twenty-first defense of his championship….would be able to handle Spinks….despite the light-heavyweight ruler being the younger, fresher and faster man….as no fighter in boxing history had been able to move up from being the light-heavyweight champion and grab the heavyweight championship ….and the odds going into the fight said Spinks would not change things.‬

Larry Holmes was never a guy who was overly fond of boxing judges throughout his illustrious career….especially Las Vegas judges in particular….as he felt he’d done enough to retain his title after the fifteen tiring rounds….in which the ageing Holmes simply couldn’t pin down the slippery and frustrating Spinks….and due to the miles on his clock….he had grown weary chasing his skittering target by the end of the fight….so, he was worried the three officials might side with the challenger….and his concern was proven to have been valid as Spinks was awarded with a close but unanimous decision.‬  The fact remains, especially after watching this fight on many occasions….that Spinks did not deserve to take the title….simply because there was never a moment where he showed that he defeated the Champ enough to deserve his title….and to my way of thinking….the powers that be at the time of this title fight did not want to see a black champion sit on the throne along side of the most popular white boxer to ever live in Rocky Marciano.

Holmes was devastated by the decision….and soon to turn angry….so, shortly after his first loss as a pro that Holmes came out with his infamous public statement that “Marciano couldn’t carry my jockstrap” comment….cuz he was annoyed that he’d been robbed of a very special place in boxing history. Holmes took his frustrations out on the wrong person….as the publically treasured Marciano was an immensely popular sports figure….thus winning himself no new fans despite the fact that many people agreed that he should have been given the win over the man who had been light-heavyweight champion since the summer of 1981, Holmes instead received a ton of bad press….which this Sportsphile believes affected the outcome of his rematch with Spinks….as the now 48-1 ex-champ vowed to get revenge over Spinks when they met a second time on April 19, 1986. But, as fight fans surely know, Holmes was to fall victim to an even more debatable split decision loss at The Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas some seven months later….in a fight carried on HBO….when Holmes answered HBO’s Larry Merchant’s question with a quote that ranks at the top of ladder for great sports quotes by athletes….when he said “Since this fight was carried by HBO, the judges and the powers that be in boxing can kiss my behind where the sun don’t shine.” 

Additionally, to this day in 2017….some 32 years later….is the fact that both Holmes-Spinks fights garner much debate amongst fight fans everywhere regarding who really won fights one and two between these two boxing legends of the golden age of boxing (1964 – 1995).

Any you cut the pie….every boxing fan will want to watch this fight over and over again….for it is truly MUST SEE TV for us all.  Oh, and one more interesting point of boxing history is the fact that this 1st fight between Larry Holmes vs. Michael Spinks took place on the same day that Rocky Marciano had reached his 49 – 0 record.

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