Larry Holmes vs. James (Bonecrusher) Smith

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Larry Holmes 222 lbs beat James Smith 227 lbs by TKO at 2:10 in round 12 of 15


  • 1423Poster.jpg
  • According to the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated, Holmes earned $1 million and Smith $175,000.
  • This was Holmes' first fight as IBF champion. He relinquished the WBC title on December 11, 1983, and accepted the IBF title following a dispute with the WBC and promoter Don King over how much money he would make for a mandatory defense against WBC No. 1 contender Greg Page.
  • This was Holmes' first fight since defeating Marvis Frazier on November 25, 1983. Holmes had been scheduled to face John Tate on April 6, 1984, but the fight was canceled after Tate injured his shoulder in training. Holmes was then set to meet WBA champion Gerrie Coetzee on June 8, 1984, but the match was canceled because the promoter, JPD Sports, had trouble coming up with funding. There was then a legal dispute over who had the right to promote a Holmes-Coetzee bout.
  • In 2009, Holmes told the following to Michael Kay, host of the YES Network's "Centerstage":
"I was trying to make a lot of money real quick. And 'Bonecrusher' popped in the picture. They gave me $3.5 million to fight him. And I shouldn't have fought James 'Bonecrusher' Smith because three weeks before that I had got a hemorrhoid operation. But for $3.5 million to go out there and fight James 'Bonecrusher' Smith? So I went out there and I fought him. I was bleeding after the fight, but I got $3.5 million. I put a patch back there and come on down."

From Sports Illustrated:

After winning the first four rounds and landing several straight rights that had little effect on Smith, Holmes got caught with a big right in the fifth after missing with one of his own. Immediately, Holmes hung on and walked the inexperienced Smith around the ring until his head cleared. Then toward the end of the seventh, Smith came out of a crouch after ducking a right hand and hit his head against Holmes's brow, opening a deep wound. Despite the efforts of cut man Percy Richardson, the bleeding continued almost unabated.

In the eighth Holmes was caught with a wicked right, and again he had to hold on. After the round, trainer Eddie Futch told Holmes to stop loading up with the right hand and to box. "Larry sacrificed some of his skills going for the knockout," said Futch. "I told him to move and jab more, and to throw the right hand from a shorter distance so Bonecrusher's counter would go over his shoulder."

Holmes took control, hurting Smith with a Futch-designed short right in the 11th that tore open Smith's left eyelid. Holmes continued to work on the cut in the 12th until referee Davey Pearl asked Dr. Donald Romeo to look at it. When the doctor informed Smith that the cut was serious and asked Smith if he wanted to continue, Bonecrusher said, "Call it off." The cut required 20 stitches.