ON Monday July 7, 1980, WBC heavyweight champion Larry Holmes defended his title against Scott LeDoux inside the Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. The arena, which had a 16,800 capacity, was strewn with empty seats as 6,491 fans handed over $253,000 in ticket money. Despite it being nowhere near a sell-out, the event boasted the biggest gate in the state’s history. Former champion Muhammad Ali was among those in attendance.
MOST fans were cheering on the challenger, who was born in nearby Crosby-Ironton. LeDoux barely deserved his shot, though, with just one win in four bouts heading in. However, he was certainly used to fighting at the top level; before challenging Holmes, LeDoux had defeated Marty Monroe over 10 rounds, lost on points to Mike Weaver and Ron Lyle, and held Ken Norton to a draw. He also had two losses to Duane Bobick on his record alongside a three-round savaging at the hands of George Foreman in 1976.
was on top form. Since defeating the aforementioned Norton for the title, the 30-year-old
had notched six successful defences, each one inside the distance. When he stopped
LeDoux in the seventh round of a one-sided contest, he became the first
heavyweight champion since Joe Louis to win seven consecutive title fights via
A HUGE right hand landed on LeDoux’s left eye in round six that dropped the 31-year-old challenger. LeDoux and his team screamed that he had been thumbed which, in turn, was vehemently denied by Holmes.
REFEREE Davey Pearl stopped the contest at 2-05 of the seventh with LeDoux unable to see. Holmes was landing his impressive jab at will. Before the finish, the ringside doctor was called to examine the challenger’s eye at the end of the sixth, and during the opening moments of the seventh, but allowed the action to continue on both occasions. It later emerged that LeDoux’s retina had been damaged.
IT was not the ending LeDoux – who had seen projected fights with Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fall through – had planned. His wife, Sandy, had undergone two operations for cancer and his four-year-old son was receiving medication for seizures. LeDoux, who was losing 60-53 on all three judges’ cards, wanted to win the championship to put an end to a bad spell for the family.
THE undercard featured a scheduled 15-rounder for the WBC super-lightweight title between Saoul Mamby and Esteban De Jesus. Mamby outboxed his esteemed opponent and was well ahead on the cards when he stopped De Jesus in the 13th round.
ALSO on the bill was an emerging Edwin Rosario, who went to 10-0 when he stopped Jose Luis Lara in two rounds. Making his debut on the bill was middleweight Mark Holmes, Larry’s younger brother. Mark would go on to build a 38-1 record against limited opposition.
LARRY, of course, would go on to become one of the greatest heavyweights in the division’s rich history. In his next bout he would stop a badly eroded Muhammad Ali. Holmes would remain unbeaten until 1985 but, through a series of comebacks, remain a legitimate force in the division until his retirement in 2002.
LEDOUX’S future was not quite so rosy. In his next meaningful contest he was halted in four rounds by Greg Page. He also suffered a knockout defeat against Gerrie Coetzee before retiring in 1983 after Frank Bruno pummelled LeDoux inside three rounds at Wembley Arena.