Re: Ken Norton's potential Title Reign
And just how high of regard did anyone hold Garcia or Kirkman at the time? And Quarry's form was not good going into their bout & everyone was picking Norton big time in that 75 bout. Maybe a matchup in 71 or 72 with Quarry has different results & Jerry wanted to fight the guy back then.
Norton did not look good in a few bouts back then going into that Holmes bout. He looked very very vulnerable against Middleton and Zanon. He looked good against Bobick allright, but Bobick hardly looked like a world beater against Houpe in his preceeding bout.
If Norton would've got the nod over Holmes, there would've been a rematch & Larry wins. I was surprised how tough a time Holmes had with the guy in the first place. I thought Larry was going to circle him and pick and peck all night & Norton would never catch him. In a rematch, I'm sure that Holmes fights on his toes and gets the decision over a fading Norton.
If the Holmes rematch doesn't take place, the ideal opponent would probably have been Leon Spinks. Then again, you also could've seen Foreman come out of retirement, who was only 26 back then. Everyone was waiting for it until about 1980 when it became clear he really was going to stay out of the sport. And how many people would pick Kenny to win a rematch with that guy? Top 10 guys back then were Shavers/Young/old Ali/old Lyle/and the up and comers like Holmes/Tate/Coetzee/Knoetze.
I don't think a 35 year old Norton handles the youthful punchers in that 78 timeframe. And I think Tate outboxes him as well. Young had started his downward spiral but was capable of rising to the occasion one final time. But the public wouldn't have bought that rematch fight.
That Holmes bout was the last good effort for Kenny and that was his final rise to the occasion. He sure didn't look good against Earnie in there & Shavers had been wanting to get the guy in the ring for years. The Ledoux and Cobb bouts showed just how far Norton had deteriorated. Any sort of title run was going to be brief and there would've been a ton of managers trying to get their guy in with an old fading fighter like Norton.