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The Time Larry Holmes was KO’d by his Trainer Ernie Butler!

Image: The Time Larry Holmes was KO’d by his Trainer Ernie Butler!

By Ken Hissner: In talking with one of the old time trainers from Pottstown, PA, recently he told me a story about how Larry Holmes came down from Easton wanting Ernie Butler to train him.

Holmes knocked on Butler’s door and said “I’m the baddest dude in Easton.” Then Butler told him “show up at the St. Anthony’s Gym in Easton and I’ll have somebody for you to spar with.” He showed up but there were no heavyweights

“I heard from somebody on the streets he was beating guys up,” said Butler. The second time Holmes showed up he still didn’t have a heavyweight to spar with him. Holmes complained and Butler told him “I have a heavyweight.” Holmes asked where is he and Butler said “me!” Holmes told him he was an old man. They got in the ring and for a round Butler held his own not opening up. After the round Holmes bad mouthed him. In the second round BUTLER KNOCKED HIM OUT! When Holmes came to he said “you will always be my trainer!”

When Butler told him to come up to Ali’s Deer Lake camp Holmes hesitated but finally went up there. Ali told Holmes his rib hurt so don’t hit me there just to get Holmes in the ring. Next thing you know Don King took a liking to Holmes and took him away from Butler.

One of the most underrated heavyweights was also at the gym in Deer Lake, Jeff “Candy Slim” Merritt who said he wasn’t impressed with Holmes. He was in prison with “Sonny” Liston who helped get him hooked up with a manager to get him out. This writer was there when Merritt defeated the previous unbeaten Roy “Tiger” Williams from Philly in Philly. When Ali was coming back after over three years he said “if I can hold my own with Merritt I know I still have it.” They sparred and Ali came back.

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