History | Sep 21 2017

On This Day: Michael Spinks upsets Larry Holmes

James Slater recalls Larry Holmes first defeat on its 32nd anniversary
Larry Holmes
Larry Holmes 1  |  MPS/USA Today Sports

32 years ago today one of heavyweight boxing’s longest reigns as world champion came to a controversial end, as light-heavyweight ruler Michael Spinks moved up in weight and challenged heavyweight king Larry Holmes. Meeting at The Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, 35-year-old Holmes and 29-year-old Spinks put on a fight that was later called the 1985 upset of the year.‬

Most experts felt the much bigger and harder-hitting heavyweight champion, who was making the twenty-first defence of his championship (alphabet-wise only the IBF belt was on the line, Holmes having fought for the new organisation since late 1984, but no-one doubted Homes status as the true heavyweight champion), would be able to see off Spinks, despite the light-heavyweight ruler being the younger, fresher and faster man. No fighter in history had been able to move up from being the light-heavyweight champion and grab the heavyweight championship, and the odds said Spinks would not change things.‬

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