Originally Posted by Duodenum
Regardless, the law of averages dictated that Larry should have been upset at some time during his streak, yet it didn't happen for many years.
Holmes gets credit for his consistency, albeit against rather weak opposition.
The statement that he never unified the title is a meaningless red herring. Holmes put the IBF on the map.
That's a nice way to say it.
Another way to say it, would be: "Holmes dropped his WBC belt and was gifted the IBF belt".
Yet another way to say it would be "Holmes didn't want to fight his mandatory, Greg Page, and would rather be stripped and beltless in a time when the IBF belt meant just as much as the IBO belt does today - nothing".
Meanwhile, as Holmes was winning all his matches, the WBA championship was a hot potato being passed from mediocre contender to mediocre contender virtually every time it was put up for grabs. Between Ali's second title reign and Tyson's reunification of the HW Championship, Larry Holmes was the only steady constant the division had. There is an old saying that, "As goes the heavyweights, so goes boxing." During the glory days of the late 1970's to mid 1980's, Holmes was the heavyweight king, and it was a great time to be a titleholder in any weight division during that period in the sport's history.
No one denies that Holmes was more consistent than his other potential opponents, with the exception of Thomas and perhaps Dokes.
But him not fighting 4 very deserving challengers (Thomas, Page, Dokes, Coetzee), dropping the at time ONLY recognised belt to avoid one plus ducking the rematch every single close fight he had (Norton, Weaver, Witherspoon and Williams) is a bit too much.
Whether or not the challengers he ducked could remain consistent after they missed their title shot is completely irrelevant. You think Holmes was going around saying "well, Page is the most deserving challenger now, but i'm going to fight Marvis Frazier next... what? No, not Joe, Marvis. He's undefeated in all of his ten fights! ...I'm not going to Page because he's about to lose to Witherspoon.... yes, the guy who i'm not going to give a well-earnt rematch
At least that would be classier than "I aint fighting no coke addicts
" (referring to Thomas).
All champions had some cannon fodder, but Holmes was drowning in it.
You can go on lengths on how they were undefeated, but in reality, all that meant is that they didn't fight anyone with a pulse and were very inexperienced. Holmes was more consistent than anyone around, but how much does that mean if he's not fighting the toughest challengers around while they are fighting each other and as a result of that, losing some?
I think Holmes could've beaten most of them, but he never proved it in the ring and that bothers me.