On This Day – Larry Holmes overcomes struggle with Bonecrusher Smith to win first ever IBF heavyweight title fight

Bonecrusher Smith hands Larry Holmes all manner of problems before succumbing in the 12th round

November 9, 1983; Riviera Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

HOLMES, the world’s number one
heavyweight, gave the fledgling IBF a shot in the arm by parading as their
champion after he’d ditched the WBC title. Holmes was first supposed to take on
John Tate, then a proposed bout with WBA boss Gerrie Coetzee couldn’t be
finalised. So James “Bonecrusher” Smith, fresh off a last gasp win over Frank
Bruno, was ushered in. Holmes survived some very scary moments before ending
matters in the 12th.

DID YOU KNOW? Holmes would infamously trash the memory of Rocky Marciano after the loss to Michael Spinks in 1985 ended his hopes of equalling Marciano’s 49-0 record. Before the Smith fight, the seeds were sewn for that outburst when he lambasted Marciano’s credentials.

WATCH OUT FOR: You’ll be able to watch Mike Weaver’s fight with Tony Anthony from the undercard. After the bell sounds to end the first round, Anthony cracks Weaver with a right hand, chases after him (even though Weaver is minding his own business while walking back to his stool), wallops him again, drops him hard and gets disqualified.

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