Larry Holmes vs. Michael Spinks (1st meeting)

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1985-09-21 : Larry Holmes 221½ lbs lost to Michael Spinks 199¾ lbs by UD in round 15 of 15


  • Holmes received $3 million plus $500,000 in training expenses.
  • Spinks received $900,000 plus $100,000 in training expenses.
  • Holmes was a 6 to 1 favorite.
  • To bulk up for Holmes, Spinks brought in New Orleans nutritionist Mackie Shilstone, who put him on a 4,500-calorie diet sliced into 65% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 15% fat. It was mostly made up of vegetables and grains. The challenger also ran sprints instead of doing traditional nonstop roadwork—800s with a minute between, then 400s, 200s, 100s—as if he were training for the decathlon instead of 15 rounds with Holmes. He even went on a weightlifting program, which raised the scarred eyebrows of more than one boxing purist. Shilstone said, "He put on 25 pounds but he's actually 1½ pounds leaner overall in fat content. His body fat dropped from 9.1 percent to 7.2 percent. That extra weight is all muscle."
  • While training to fight Spinks, Holmes would feel pain shoot through his shoulder whenever he threw a right hand. He was diagnosed with a pinched nerve in his neck. Holmes treated it with heat, massage, and pain pills. When the pain persisted, he saw a specialist. The specialist told him that he had a slipped disc in his fifth vertebra and if he went ahead and fought Spinks, it would be like playing Russian roulette. Throwing a right hand, the specialist said, could cause the disc to rupture his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed for life. Holmes went to other doctors and was told that he could fight with a pinched nerve. They said the chance that he would be paralyzed was practically nil. However, come fight night, Holmes said he was reluctant to throw his right hand. His trainer, Richie Giachetti, said Holmes "fought scared."
  • The fight was televised live on HBO.
  • A full house of 11,192 watched the fight in the Riviera's outdoor arena.
  • Spinks became the first reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
  • Holmes entered the fight with a 48-0 record, needing just one win to tie Rocky Marciano's all-time undefeated heavyweight record of 49-0. After the fight, Holmes said, "I'm 35 fighting young men and Rocky was 25 fighting old men. To be technical, Rocky couldn't carry my jockstrap." Holmes was heavily criticized for the remark, and he later apologized.
  • Spinks' victory over Holmes was named Upset of the Year by The Ring Magazine.