Who Wins: Larry Holmes or George Foreman?

By Ken Hissner - 12/30/2023 - Comments

Years ago, Larry “The Easton Assassin” Holmes and “Big” George Foreman came close to fighting one another. Though it never happened, the promoter paid both expenses when it didn’t. Holmes tried pushing it, but it didn’t happen.

Comparing the two of them, let’s start with the amateurs when Foreman won the 1968 Olympic Gold Medal. In the 1972 Olympic trials, Holmes was stopped for the second time by Nick Wells and then lost by DQ to Duane Bobick in the box-offs.

Foreman won his first thirty-seven fights with thirty-five by stoppage. Included were wins over the durable George Chuvalo, 59-15-2, who only ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier had previously stopped.

Also, he stopped Boone Kirkman, 22-1, and his first minor title won the vacant Pan Am title by stopping Argentina’s Gregorio Peralta, 82-6-8.

Foreman then upset champion “Smokin” Joe Frazier, 29-0, having him down six times before stopping him in the second round in January of 1973 to become world champion.

After stopping Puerto Rico’s Joe Roman, 44-7-1, and Ken Norton, 30-2, he lost to former champion Muhammad Ali, 44-2. In his next fight in one of the most brutal heavyweight fights I’ve ever seen when, he stopped Ron Lyle, 31-3-1, in five rounds for the vacant NABF title for Ring Magazine’s “Fight of the Year!”.

Then in a rematch with Frazier, Foreman again scored a stoppage. After five straight wins by stoppage, he lost to Jimmy Young, 20-5-2. His whole life was changed from mean George to “born again” George and retired.

Foreman came back ten years later, winning twenty-four straight before getting a title fight, losing to former Olympic Gold Medalist and world champion Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, 25-0.

After coming back with three wins, he lost to Tommy “The Duke” Morrison, 36-1, but still got another title shot at world champion Michael Moorer, 35-0, scoring a stoppage at the age of forty-five. Winning the world title.

After a disputed decision over Axel Schulz, 21-1-1, he gave up the IBF and WBA titles. He won twice before losing a disputed majority decision to Shannon Briggs, 29-1, and retired for good. His final record was 76-5 with 68 stoppages.

Now let’s talk about the pro career of Holmes, who won twenty-six straight, then in a title eliminator, he defeated Earnie Shavers, 54-6-1.

Then, he defeated world champion Ken Norton, 40-4, by a split decision in June of 1978 for the world title. Norton’s trainer, Eddie Futch years later told me, “Neither wanted a rematch due to the toughness of the fight.”

Holmes, in his third defense, stopped future champion Mike “Hercules” Weaver, 19-8, and in a rematch, he came off the canvas stopping Shavers.

In his eighth defense, Holmes stopped former champion Ali, 56-3, for the only time in Ali’s career he was stopped. In his fifteenth defense, he won a disputed split decision over “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon, 15-0.

Two fights later, in a non-title fight with a 44-0 record, he stopped “Smokin” Joe Frazier’s son Marvis Frazier, 10-0, in the first round and said, “That’s for the whippings your daddy gave me in the gym!” What was Joe and Holmes thinking?

That’s comparing Foreman with Holmes, so what do you think, who wins?


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