On Jan. 22, 1988, Mike Tyson, smack in his prime, defended the undisputed heavyweight championship against aging former champ Larry Holmes and blasted him out in the fourth round of a one-sided fight.
Twenty-six years later, the former champions were reunited at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York, last week, where Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions was putting on the ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” card.
Tyson and Holmes spent time answering questions from fans during one of the fight-related activities, and they, of course, were asked about their fight with each other.
"What I remember was [promoter] Don King knocking at my door around 9 at night,” Holmes said. “I was retired two years. Don said he wanted me to fight somebody he said he knew I could beat. I asked him who and he said, ‘Mike Tyson.’ I said, ‘I can't beat Mike Tyson.’ Don said, ‘What if I give you 3½ million dollars?’ And I said, ‘Where's Mike at?'
“I'm just glad he didn't kill me. He knocked me down a few times, but I didn't feel it because the first time he hit me I was numb. After the fight, Mike said he loved me and I said, 'Why'd you knock out my ass?' Mike's a great guy."
Said Tyson: “It was a great opportunity to be in the ring with one of the great fighters of all time. It was a milestone in my career. He didn't have time to prepare. I never fought the great Larry Holmes. I had no delusions. By all means, I didn't fight the [prime] Holmes who fought [Muhammad] Ali.
"I was very objective in the ring, nothing personal, but I'd have hit my mother. If I had mercy on him, he may have knocked my ass out. He didn't have enough time to prepare when he fought me. Don didn't give him the opportunity."