Re: Prime Holmes - Impossible to knock out?
At his peak, Holmes was virtually as impervious as any heavyweight champion in history. A rusty, badly mis-timed and out of shape version of Holmes showed just enough against peak Tyson to prove that Mike would not have been able to compete with the premium vintage Easton Assassin. With Mike's speed, he might have been able to pull off a flash knockdown, but if so, that would be his only moment of the match. Peak versus peak, Holmes/Tyson is a man against a boy, even moreso because of Tyson's overhyped reputation.
If Tyson is facing the version of Larry who shutout Shavers over 12, Berbick and Cobb over 15, and carried Cooney 11 rounds beyond a second round knockdown (to try selling Gerry to the public as a viable challenger for an easy and lucrative rematch), instead of the mothballed and eyesight compromised variety, there would quickly be little doubt of the outcome. Having the "puncher's chance" believed going for him would keep Tyson's spectators in their seats until the end. But peak Tyson would have had far less of a chance at taking out peak Holmes than he did the vastly inferior Mitch Green, Quick Tillis, Bonecrusher Smith and Tony Tucker. Tall, tough, mobile and physically strong opposition who could take a punch gave him all kinds of problems. At his very best, Larry was better than Smith, Tucker, Green and Tillis put together.
With Larry's jab not misfiring but on-target, he'd easily outmanuever and hold Mike at bay from outside, and utterly smother him like a wet blanket over a conflagration in close. Going into the championship rounds, Larry would already have an insurmontable lead (especially with Futch in his corner). I don't see Mike getting beyond 13 rounds with Holmes (especially since Tyson barely made it to the end of 12 with Smith).
Peak Tyson needed over 45 seconds to finally put Holmes away after the second knockdown, far more than enough time for a battle ready and fully conditioned youthful Holmes to recover fully. (He was lucky to finish the job with five seconds to spare in the fourth, although I'm sure Mike would have gotten him in a following round.) Larry simply wasn't prepared to compete on that date, yet he still got through nearly four complete rounds against one of the fastest starting heavyweights in history, while only collecting a paycheck.