Originally Posted by Duodenum
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).