ON this day in 1984, long-reigning heavyweight king Larry Holmes met an up-and-coming future heavyweight belt holder in the colourfully nicknamed James “Bonecrusher” Smith. The fight took place at The Riviera in Las Vegas and Holmes proved to have far too much for his still somewhat inexperienced challenger.
Holmes was sporting a 45-0 record and Smith, who had lost his pro debut, being stopped by James Broad, was 14-1 as a professional. Holmes was the older man by four years at age 35.
Holmes was making the first defence of the newly created IBF title. Holmes, the linear heavyweight king, had relinquished the WBC belt the previous December and accepted the IBF strap. Money issues were Larry’s main reasons for ditching the green belt. The Smith fight was Holmes’ first fight in almost a year, since his easy win over Marvis Frazier in November of 1983.