Category Archives: Larry Holmes Eastern Assassin

Widely known as the Eastern assassin, I’m calling Larry Holmes the human cobra. But whatever you choose to call him, Larry Holmes was one of the top 5 or 10 heavyweight champions of all time.

Larry Holmes Human Cobra of the boxing ring.

Calling him the Eastern Assassin doesn’t go far enough so I’m calling the former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes human cobra.

This picture has Larry Holmes human cobra of the boxing ring just right
Larry Holmes human cobra of the boxing ring comes off just right in this picture.

Notice his erect stance, and confident ever watchful eyes. This is the Larry Holmes during the first half of his career that made me think of him as Larry Holmes human tiger of the ring. Later as he became much older that look in his eyes disappeared. They called Larry Holmes the Eastern assassin. Which does not go far enough to capture just how formidable Larry Holmes was.

Larry Holmes human cobra fighting Ermie Shavers
Larry Holmes won real recognition as a great fighter when he defeated Ernie Shavers who is generally considered the hardest hitter in Heavyweight boxing History.

To watch Larry Holmes defeat Ernie Shavers Click here.

Larry Holmes had all the ingredients to make him one of the greatest heavyweight champions ever. Which more boxing experts agree on who often place him in the top 5 or 10 greatest heavyweight champions ever.

I’m elevating Larry Holmes to being the second-best heavyweight champions who ever lived. He’s got the eyes of the cobra snake, ever watchful, always watching his opponent’s every move. And every gesture. His eyes are confident showing his opponent that he cannot and will not lose.

But Holmes is a lot more than being just a very confident boxer. The Larry Holmes in his prime had the skills and ring intelligence to defeat any opponent with the exception of Muhammad Ali.

click on the picture above to watch Larry Holmes outpoint Ken Norton on Jone 9, 1978

HIs erect stance and ever watchful eyes made him appear like a cobra sizing up the right moment to strike. He was very fast, with one of the best jabs in heavyweight History. And he hit hard. He was six foot three and weighed 212 in his prime.

Let’s compare him for a moment to Joe Louis who is oftentimes rated the second-best heavyweight champion of all time. Louis’s was 1. and a half inch shorter than Holmes while weighing 197 pounds in his prime. Both men had formidable jabs. And while Louis could hit harder, Holmes footwork was better. I personally loved Joe Louis’s fighting style. He had great technique and ring intelligence. He would stalk his opponent, waiting for the right moment and then he would put him away.

I never liked Larry Holmes much because he was no Muhammad Ali until now, after watching a few of his fights on Dailey Motion or YouTube.

I did not see him make many mistakes whereas I’ve seen Joe Louis make a few such as his first fight against Max Schmeling when Schmeling knocked him out. Or his first bout with Billy Conn who probably would have won the fight on points had Conn not unwisely tried to out punch Louis in the final rounds. But Conn was a ramped-up Middleweight, and as we all know a good big man nearly always beats an equally good small man.

But as Mike Tyson said, “No One beats Ali,” Larry Holmes had been Ali’s sparring partner for years, had learned Ali’s boxing style and had become very successful at using Ali’s boxing techniques.

Years later father time got the better of Larry Holmes just as it does with all boxers who stay in the ring past their prime.

Larry Holmes vs Mic hael Spinks 1. On September 21, 1985 Larry Holmes was 48-0. Undefeated he was trying to best Rocky Marciano’s perfect record of 49-0. Instead, he lost the fight to the undefeated light heavyweight champion, Michael Spinks what was 24-0. Who became the first light heavyweight to ever defeat the reigning heavyweight champion. Spinks would win the rematch by a split decision.

Why did Larry Holmes lose to Michael Spinks?

In 1985 Holmes was 35, which was past his prime but not in my opinion why he lost. When I was just 26 getting my MBA in a statistics class, I wrote a paper on the statistical probability a reigning heavyweight champion faced when he gained weight over his optimum fighting weight in 5-pound increments. I also produced a statistical analysis of the probability a heavyweight champion had of retaining his heavyweight crown in five-year increments.

My premise was that a fighter seeking the heavyweight crown was at this peak and hungriest for his title on the day he won the title. He would be at his physical peak and at his optimum fighting weight.

Holmes weighed 212 pounds when he captured the heavyweight crown. But when he fought Michael Spinks, his weight had ballooned up to 225 pounds. He’s 13 pounds overweight and he looks it. Being much thicker around his midsection than he appeared in his earlier fights. I don’t recall the exact statistics I had compiled in my paper I did for the Saint Louis University statistics class. But I recall that if a champion heavyweight champion is 15 pounds over his optimum fighting weight, he has far less than a 50 % chance of keeping his title.

Although I only got a B in my statistics class, my professor who was Korean was totally enthralled with the paper I had submitted to him. He called me up to have me meet him in his office. Then he asked me, “Is this all your original work?”

I replied yes. Because who other than me would be so stupid as to write a paper about boxing in an MBA business school program. The professor then replied: “Let’s go to Las Vegas together. We will talk to Jimmy the Greek.”

“I had an appointment to see the professor again, but it snowed a lot that day and the professor could not come. I never asked to get my paper back, so it’s now lost forever.

LAS VEGAS, NV – JUNE 19: Evander Holyfield and Larry Holmes fight of the WBC, WBA, IBF heavyweight tittles on June 19, 1992 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada. Holyfield on the fight with a 12 round unanimous decision. When Larry Holmes faces Evander Holyfield on June 19, 1992. His weight has gone up from 212 pounds to 233 pounds. He’s 43 years old when he gets outpointed by Holyfield and is just a shadow of his younger years. To watch the video, click on the picture above.
On 1-22-1998 Mike Tyson knocks Larry Holmes out. By this time he is no longer Larry Holmes human Cobra. Long gone that look in his eyes announcing boldly to his opponents, “I am going to dominate you because I know I cannot lose.

So as great a heavyweight champion Joe Louis was, Larry Holmes was the bigger man, was just as fast, could dance around the ring and his opponents almost as well as Ali and in my opinion made fewer mistakes than the great Joe Louis. ironically, although I’m calling him Larry Holmes human cobra, I find this description to be almost equally appropriate for Joe Louis.