Join Date: Jan 2007
Re: Greater Resume: Lewis or Holmes?
Originally Posted by ChrisPontius
the champion dropping his title to avoid a challenger and being given an (at that time) meaningless belt instead, etc.
I know your talking about the Page thing. I will type what is in Larry's book, and what is the truth. (Against the Odds by Larry Holmes, copyright 1998 by Larry Holmes with Phil Berger------------Page 222-224)
(Starting at the end of the 1st full paragraph on pg 222)
I began thinking of retirement.
But that changed abruptly when a pair of promoters, Murad Muhammmad and Bob Andreoli, offered me $5 million for a two fight deal --Scott Frank and Marvis Frazier. That was, I thought, practically like a white collar crime. Easy money. Found money. I couldn't imagine either Frank, a White kid from New Jersey, or Frazier, the son of Smokin' Joe, lasting more than a few rounds with me.
The hitch here was convincing King to butt out so I could sock away these easy paydays without his getting a taste. What's more, I had promised King that I would fight another heavyweight of his, Greg Page.(its not really bolded or anything) Both Page and King were concerned that at my age, who knows--maybe the worst would happen and either Frank or Frazier would knock me off.
I was able to convince Page that the wait was worth it...and don't worry, neither Frank or Frazier would lay a glove on me. Besides, I told him, he wasn;t going to make better money fighting any other heavyweight. Page went along with it.
But King...well, he was his usual greedhead self, reluctant to cut a fighter of his--even one who, like me, had made him millions of dollars--a little slack. That really angered me. And when I get angry, I either laugh or cry. I couldn't hold the tears back when King and I began arguing and cursing one another. Finally, I looked him in the eye and told him that if he tried to stop these fights, that I would retire--and that he would have a cut of a fight that would never happen. He looked at me and saw I meant what I said...and backed off.
Scott Frank was a wild swinger who had no style whatsoever. I stopped him in 5 roundsin September 83' in Atlantic City.
A week before the Frazier fight, the WBC held its annual convention in Vegas, where Holmes-Frazier was to take place. Earlier, Sig Rogich, the WBC's VP, told me his championship commitee would strip me of my title if I fought Frazier instead of taking my mandatory bout against Page. Rogich had once been the chairman of the Neveda boxing commision and was used to reamrodding his decisions through. Seemed to me he was still bugged about not being able to stop from fighting the Frenchman, Rodriguez. And who knows? Maybe he was acting on the urging of Donald King. King and the WBC--hell, they were tighter than canned sardines.
Anyway, I had hardly set my bags down in Vegas when here comes the little snor, Sulaiman, to give me a lecture on ingratitude. All that the WBC had done for me...why wasn't I greatful?
I told him "Jose, what about all I did for the WBC? What about my staying in it and being its champion all these years? And what about the damn kickbacks I paid?"
He said, real deadpan--as only Jose could--"Kickbacks? Whats a kickback?"
It was an oscarwinning performance.
At the convention, the WBC boys were still threatening to strip my title if I went ahead and fought Frazier. I had brought a young Vegas attorney, Mark Risman, with me to speak on my behalf. The WBC boys treated him like dirt. Next day, I showed up with Oscar Goodman, one o fthe most important lawyers in Vegas, a man who defended some of the biggest moneyme out there. The tone was completely different. It was, "Yes Nr. Goodman. Of course Mr. Goodman."
Toward the end of the convention, Rogich was still making noise about the mandatory defense against Page, and eventually proposing that the matter be put to arbitration. Maybe I didn't go to school that much, but I'm not stupid. I wasn't going to let them do that. There was no arbitrationg Larry Holmes's independence. On the last day of the convention, I stepped to the microphone and told them how disapointed I was with the orginization, how after all my years of loyalty, they weren't giving me any consideration. I guess they thought I wasn't. I called their bluff. I said, "You don't have to strip me of my title. I don't want to be your champion anymore. I resign."
Well, that shook them big. You could hear gasps in the room, and some of the WBC members shouting no, no, I wasn't allowd to resign. Not allowd? Hell, didn't they hear? I just did it. Rogich said his comittee "would take it underadvisement." Fine, you do that, Sig, but I'm out of hear. (ended on the 3rd-last paragraph on page 224)