Larry Holmes vs. Michael Spinks (2nd meeting)

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Larry Holmes 223 lbs lost to Michael Spinks 205 lbs by SD in round 15 of 15


  • The fight was billed as "Vindication in Vegas."
  • Holmes was a 7½ to 5 betting favorite.
  • Spinks' purse was $2 million and Holmes' was $1.125 million.
  • Tickets were priced at $500, $300, $200, $100 and $50.
  • There was a crowd of 8,328.
  • The fight was televised live on HBO.
  • "The last time, I worked on becoming a heavyweight," Spinks before the fight. "For this fight, I started as a heavyweight and just worked on improving what beat Larry the last time."
  • Shortly before the fight, Holmes said the judges "must have been drunk" when they scored his first fight with Spinks.
  • As ring announcer Chuck Hull read off the scorecards after the fight, Holmes turned to his trainer, Richie Giachetti, and moaned, "Oh, no, I've got a big mouth."
  • After the fight, Holmes said: "The judges, referees and promoters can kiss me where the sun don't shine—and because we're on HBO, that's my big black behind."
  • Spinks landed 296 of 680 punches (43%) while Holmes connected on 293 of 724 (40%).

Spinks Earns Split-Decision By Wearing Down Holmes

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (AP) — Michael Spinks figured Larry Holmes would come out desperate for an early knockout, so he was ready. To run, that is.

Spinks threw only seven punches in the first round and ran from Holmes the first four rounds before coming on strong Saturday night to take a split-decision win and keep his portion of the heavyweight crown.

It was a fight Spinks won as much with his head as with his fists.

"I had to stay cool and calm, then break his morale," said Spinks. "Larry proved to be one hell of a champion. He was a die-hard out there tonight."

The fight was the second loss to Spinks in a row for Holmes, who had won 48 straight fights while dominating the heavyweight ranks for 7½ years. It also marked the end of an era, as a tearful Holmes said he would fight no more.

"It's over, this is it," the former champion said. "I don't need it, I don't need the aggravation."

The sold-out crowd of nearly 9,000 at the Las Vegas Hilton watched as Holmes built up a big early lead, but seemingly wore down as Spinks mounted his own attack from the fifth round on.

Holmes still had enough left to stagger Spinks in the 14th round with a right hand that caused the champion's knees to buckle. But it was a mark of his loss of skills that Holmes was unable to finish Spinks off.

It was that vaunted right hand that Spinks worked so hard to stay away from in the early rounds, and it almost cost him the fight. Spinks lost the first four rounds on all ringside scorecards to dig a hole he almost couldn't crawl out from.

But beginning with round five, it was a different story. The gangly Spinks started getting his unorthodox jab in and began connecting with his left hook. Holmes, who had seemed to be able to do what he wanted early, suddenly had trouble pulling the trigger.

Spinks dominated the middle rounds, changing the flow of the fight by backing Holmes up with left hooks that landed often. By the end of the 11th round, Spinks had pulled ahead on one scorecard and even on another. The fight was essentially a draw with four rounds to go.

"I looked up and saw the ring card for the 12th round and I said to myself, 'If you're going to win it, you've got to win it now,'" said Spinks.

That meant going in and trading punches with Holmes, still dangerous and throwing right hands despite a right thumb he said he fractured in the third round. Spinks said he knew the risks of the strategy.

He came out throwing punches in the 15th round and seemed in control of the possibly deciding round until a Holmes right with only a minute left stunned him again. But it was too late as Spinks not only lasted the round, but won it on two of the three scorecards. The fighters embraced with Spinks telling Holmes, "In my mind, you'll always be a champion."

One judge favored Holmes by three points, but the two other judges liked Spinks, by two and three points, respectively. It was a decision Holmes found tough to swallow, just like the first fight between the two.

"I think I won the fight more convincingly this time," Holmes told reporters gathered in his suite several hours after the fight. "How many times do I continue to have to prove myself?"