Originally Posted by AnthonyJ74
I have to disagree a little with what you said regarding Page, Thomas, e.t.c. While it's true that those guys were very inconsistent and unpredictable, they were also good fighters, especially when they were motivated and well-trained(which wasn't often, I'll admit). However, Holmes chose to fight other fighters who weren't well respected or who were not thought of highly - Frank, Jones, Rodriguez -when he just as readily could have fought Dokes, Page, Thomas, e.t.c. Greg Page was Holmes' mandatory; Holmes was obligated to fight Page and chose not to. Do you think if Marvis Frazier or Scott Frank or Lucien Rodriguez had ever been Holmes' mandatory that Larry would have avoided fighting them? Probably not. He more than likely would have fought them willingly. However, no matter what the skeptics or Holmes apologists say, Greg Page was a good fighter that had more skill than the above-mentioned fighters I just named. The same goes for Pinklon Thomas. Sure they were flawed and inconsistent, but they had natural talent that those other guys didn't. That's why Holmes found excuses not to fight them. Holmes was to get $3.1 million to fight Page; that was alot of money in 1983(Holmes got the same for Tyson in '8
. But Holmes gave up his belt instead of fulfilling his mandatory. And it's strange how Holmes never gave Witherspoon a rematch after such a close fight; the same for Williams.
Disagreement is the fuel which powers this forum and keeps it going, so I welcome yours. In the case of Carl Williams, Larry of course never would have had an opportunity to defend against him in a rematch (not that he would have anyways).
My big beef with Holmes as champion has to do with the fact that he had nearly all his title fights in Las Vegas. Although I well understand the principle of going where the money is, this didn't compare well with the globetrotting Ali's various exotic venues in Africa, Europe and Asia, or Foreman's wanderings to Jamaica, Venuzuela and Japan. To a certain extent though, he compensated for that by putting up the title against a number of EBU champions (Evangelista, Zanon, Rodgriguez), as well as Puerto Rican Ocasio and Jamaican/Canadian Berbick. So at least in that context he was still a genuine world champion. Holmes and Dokes were good friends, and didn't seem much inclined to compete against each other.
Other champions get criticized for defending the title against over-the-hill opposition, and in rematches against challengers who they had already knocked out in a previous defense. (Louis/Simon, Louis/Buddy Baer, Louis/Conn.) In 22 consecutive matches during Larry's title run, he boxed 22 different opponents. Five of them were future world champions (Ocasio, Weaver, Berbick, Witherspoon, Smith). He defended that title against two former undisputed HW champions (Ali and Leon Spinks), and relinquished it to the undisputed LHW champion. How interesting that he gets criticized for defending against ten undefeated up and coming challengers!
Most champions fail to defend against all the worthy contenders, and by my reckoning, Pinklon Thomas is the most glaring omission from his record. Even there though, Needles and Coetzee didn't exactly set the world on fire with their ten round draw. The WBC had Greg Page as their top contender despite his three dismal performances against Chaplin and Berbick. He did get his shot at the WBC title with it's pussified 12 round limit after Larry abandoned it to stick with 15 rounders, and promptly lost that shot to Holmes conquest Witherspoon.
Now that I've mention it, I'd need to look this up to be sure, but Larry may have held the record for the most different title challengers of any defending champion in history (certainly in a single division).