EXCLUSIVE Larry Holmes: Earnie Shavers hit harder than Mike Tyson

Cooney believes Holmes deserved more respect
Larry Holmes, talking to James Slater, picks out some key moments from his Hall of Fame career

Who of your opponents had the best jab?
Larry Holmes: “Muhammad Ali jabbed real well. He didn’t have as much authority with it [as I did with mine] but his was pretty good. But everyone I fought, THEY had trouble with my jab. No-one could get away from it.”

Of all your achievements, which means the most to you?
“The night of June 9th 1978 when I beat Kenny Norton and became heavyweight champion. They all said I wouldn’t do anything, even after I won the title they still said that. [becoming angry] Dick Young said again and again and again that I couldn’t do anything. And [Howard] Cosell, he told me [after I beat Norton] that he never knew I could fight like that. But they were all critics. My next best night was when I beat [Alfredo] Envagelista, because I made $1.2 million that night. That was great, a dream come true. When I fought Norton I got a little over $100,000, no money.

Another guy you wanted to fight was George Foreman, and it nearly happened in the late 1990s.
I wanted to fight him because I would have made around $10 million. I think I would have worn him down because he would have had to have fought me every single round. He would intimidate you with his size, but I wasn’t intimidated by any of that. I knew that my jab was sharp and as long as I was in shape I’d have won. But George is a good guy. I don’t want to take anything from anyone who works had with their talent. George’s talent could knock you out. Everybody has at least some talent. All I cared about was making money with my talent so I could feed my family.

Who hit hardest: Mike Tyson, Earnie Shavers, Gerry Cooney?
“Earnie Shavers, no doubt about it. He could knock the hell out of you!”


And finally, you are working on a new autobiography?
“Yeah, I’m writing it now. It’ll be out next year. I’m coming over to the UK in September, on a meet and greet tour. I’m coming over to say hi to all my fans in England.”

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