Originally Posted by McGrain
Larry Holmes SD Ken Norton
I had Holmes taking the first five rounds on the stiff jab and general class. He just looks the superior fighter across the board. What's interesting is that as a precision instrument, when he starts to tire - and both these guys are tired at the end of fifth based upon a medium-hot pace made all the more difficult by the persisting, stalking Norton style - he suffers more from fatigue than Norton. Larry is straight-backed in essence but graceful and supple with this. Norton is more lurching, untidy, a looping overhand right and a less concise jab happily defined by the shifting Norton stance/hand positioning. Because he's a much rougher tool, when he starts to flag it doesn't affect his style. Meanwhile Holmes, who never looked faster than in these first five rounds, starts to fall a fraction behind in pulling his head back and getting his hands up. Norton is physically just as affected by the pace and style of the fight but it stranslates differently because of his rougher style.
What this means in practice is that after banking the first five on my card, Norton goes on his own little run, taking 6-11 on my card. Lots of these rounds - 7,8,10 - were really really close in my opinion. The seventh for example would be scored even by many but I thought that Norton shaved it on aggression and general hustle.
In the ninth, when Norton found his right hand range in earnest, things look pretty bad for Holmes who does almost nothing in the 10th, giving the round away by default. The first really close round that went to Larry on my card rather than Ken was the 12th which I scored for Holmes. In the 13th the Easton Assassin spent his reserves on as destructive a round ever seen at HW that did not produce a KD and could arguably be scored 10-8 but it left Larry with almost nothing, and he gift-wrapped the 14th before rallying in that infamous 15th - a round I thought Norton also shaded despite the horrible destruction reigned down upon the champ in the last 20 seconds. This gave me:
So I have it to Norton. I don't say he won, however, for a few reasons, mostly that this is a very close fight and you can score it either way reasonably, not least because of all the close rounds - 3/4 of which went to Norton on my card. Reverse that ration (and you could do so) and Holmes is ahead on my card. Furthermore, whilst i'm very very conservative about it I do really think you could make 13 a 10-8 round which makes this a draw on my card.
Certainly no definitive winner in this scorcher.