Oliver McCall vs. Larry Holmes

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1995-04-08 : Oliver McCall 231 lbs beat Larry Holmes 236 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12

A serene Larry Holmes, having just lost a close but unanimous decision to Oliver McCall in a heavyweight title fight, bowed out in championship style Saturday night. He retired at age 45.

Holmes's parting words were directed at McCall, who retained his World Boxing Council title in his first defense of the crown. But the remarks could have been aimed at Tyson, boxing's suddenly overwhelming presence who elected to remain at his nearby home for the evening instead of being at ringside.

"Beating a fighter like myself don't make you a champion," Holmes said. "Winning a belt don't make you a champion. It's how you treat people. How you are inside. It's important to be nice. Keep your nose clean and don't end up nowhere bad."

Actually, Holmes came close to winning a belt again, 10 years after he lost the title to Michael Spinks.

For most of the 12 rounds Saturday night, Holmes was doing schtick and stand-up patter, often hanging on the ropes, allowing McCall to open a flurry, and then countering with quick rights.

The 29-year-old McCall tried to jab with Holmes, boxing's best at that forgotten art, and he was reluctant to bully his older opponent. Holmes would throw right leads and connect with McCall's chin.

In the ninth it began to change when a McCall left barreled Holmes backward into the ropes, which were the only thing that kept him from falling. From then on, it was McCall's fight. There were no knockdowns, but McCall gave Holmes a severe gash on his left cheekbone. McCall's record improved to 26-5 while Holmes takes a 61-5 record into retirement.

The New York Times - April 10, 1995