Larry Holmes vs. Leon Spinks

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1981-06-12 : Larry Holmes 212½ lbs beat Leon Spinks 200¼ lbs by TKO at 2:34 in round 3 of 15


  • Holmes was a 4 to 1 favorite.
  • Only about 12,000 of the 21,000 seats in Joe Louis Arena were filled.
  • The fight was billed as a tribute to Joe Louis, who died two months earlier.
  • The fight was televised live in prime time on ABC-TV.
  • Holmes got $1.9 million, and Spinks made $490,000.
  • In the third round, Holmes pinned Spinks to the ropes and pounded him with a barrage of right hands. Spinks went down but was able to regain his feet at the count of nine. Holmes then trapped Spinks in the challenger's corner and hit him with right after right until the referee stepped in and stopped the fight, just as Spinks' corner threw in the towel.
  • While Holmes was doing a post-fight interview with ABC's Howard Cosell, he spotted Gerry Cooney, the #1 contender, being steered in their direction by an ABC aide. Holmes' eyes flared. When Cosell mentioned Cooney, Holmes said, "Howard, I'm going to slap his face if you bring him over here." Holmes then stood up and went after Cooney. During the melee, Holmes accidentally elbowed Cosell in the mouth, slightly cutting his lower lip.