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Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes said he...

Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes said he wants to fight for the title again, even if someone other than Michael Spinks holds it.

“If they strip Spinks, I’ll fight another contender,” said Holmes, who lost the International Boxing Federation heavyweight championship on a close but unanimous 15-round decision to Spinks on Sept. 21.

Holmes’ reference to Spinks being stripped of the championship involves Gerry Cooney, who announced his retirement in July, but who now says he wants to challenge Spinks for the title. Cooney was knocked out by Holmes in the 13th round in 1982.

“A champion must fight a ranked fighter,” Bob Lee, president of the IBF, said by telephone from his office in Newark, N.J. “If a champion attempted to fight an unranked fighter, we’d be obliged to strip him.”

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Cooney, who is not ranked, has said he sees no reason to fight anyone before he fights Spinks.

Lee said Holmes was dropped from the rankings after the loss when it appeared he would retire, but was made No. 1 after “he sent us a letter, saying he wanted to fight again. He’s the No. 1 contender, and I think rightfully so.”


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