Larry Holmes Is a Whiner and a Loser
“I’m sorry I can’t be Muhammad Ali,” Larry Holmes said on the night he defeated Gerry Cooney. “I can’t be Joe Louis. I can’t be Leon Spinks. I wasn’t born to be anybody but myself. If you don’t like it, the hell with you.”
Well, the hell with me.
Good night, sour prince. Good luck. Good riddance. Have a good time in Easton, Pa., counting your money and rubbing Tarn-X on your trophies.
I won’t miss you.
You were a boor, a bully and a beefy jerk. The only grace you ever had as heavyweight champion was the kind you said before every meal.
The last thing you said when Michael Spinks took your title and kept you from breaking Rocky Marciano’s record of 49 straight wins was: “Rocky Marciano couldn’t carry my jockstrap.”
The last thing you said before the rematch with Spinks was that the judges in Las Vegas were drunk when they watched the fights.
And the last thing you said after losing the rematch Saturday night was: “The referees, judges and promoters can kiss me where the sun don’t shine.”
They do not call you Mr. Class for nothing.
For one thing, my dear Holmes, I would not know how to kiss you where the sun doesn’t shine, because I would not have the slightest idea where to start.
For another thing, I doubt if the Las Vegas judges got drunk before your fights, because most people need a drink after spending an evening with you, not before.
As for Rocky Marciano, he could have carried your jockstrap with you still in it.
So much for you, champ. You could’ve had class. You could’ve been somebody.
All you have instead is a one-way ticket to Palookaville.
Whine, whine, whine. Somebody should have taken that championship belt and given you a good spanking with it. When it comes to showing poise under fire, accepting defeat gracefully, you have the sportsmanship of an infant.
And to think that you used to handle victory so well.
That hot June night in 1982 when you fought Cooney, “the great white dope,” in the Caesars Palace parking lot, you survived an evening of being punched beneath the Everlast insignia. In the 13th round, Cooney’s trainer literally threw in the towel, making you winner and still champeen.
But when the judges’ scorecards were examined, two of them had Holmes leading by a measly two points. This, even though referee Mills Lane had ordered them to lop three points off of Cooney’s total for all those low blows.
Did you moan? Did you groan?
No. You said: “I don’t care if they had me losing 12 rounds. I won the 13th.”
Did you keep on calling the challenger the “stupid white boy,” the “great white dope” and “Looney Cooney?”
No. You apologized for that. You called him “a very fine fighter.” You finally listened to 82-year-old handler Ray Arcel, who said: “We want Larry to beat his opponent, not degrade him.”
All was forgiven, all forgotten. But you kept on pouting and spouting about not getting respect. You kept on saying you had never gotten the respect you so richly deserved.
I still cannot figure out what respect you were lacking. You got tens of millions of dollars to fight. You got guest shots with Bob Hope and endorsements for trucks and fried chicken. There you were, representing Ford and Col. Sanders, when the biggest commercial Ali ever got was for cockroach spray.
You beat up Marvis Frazier, a mere kid, and Tex Cobb, who could not win a round, and then knocked Marciano for all the stiffs he supposedly fought.
You showed up out-of-shape to fight Spinks, then lost a decision that anyone, sober or drunk, could have made. But, of course, the judges were the ones at fault, not you.
So, you showed up one more time, hurled insults like left hooks, lost a split decision, then told the referees and judges where to smooch you.
For 15 rounds you punched the younger Spinks, and for 15 rounds he punched back. But you forgot to win the 15th.
If you had, the worst you would have gotten was a draw. Judge Jerry Roth’s point total would have shown a standoff, rather than a victory for Spinks, had you won the 15th round.
So, you lost. That is what happens when you lead with your mouth.
You were going to be a loser either way. Had the decision gone against Spinks, he could have said that you had intimidated the judges with your “drunk” remarks, that they were afraid to show favoritism in any way.
You were impertinent before the fight, and petulant after.
Next time you want to say something, do what referees sometimes do. Count to 10.
That is all I have to say in this neutral corner today. This is the end.
Kiss it if you like.