Boxer Larry Holmes Shares Thoughts on Muhammad Ali
Larry Holmes, an Easton native and multi-time boxing world heavyweight champion, came to the PPL Public Media Center at PBS39 on Monday morning to share his thoughts regarding the passing of his dear friend, the legendary Muhammad Ali.
Holmes, who defeated Ali during a 1980 heavyweight championship bout at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, spoke with Fox News, MSNBC and ESPN via PBS39’s satellite uplink service. The service enables public figures to conveniently complete live interviews, which are uploaded and broadcast to nationwide audiences.
“I was leaving my office, and they said he wasn’t doing too well,” Holmes said. “I didn’t hear any more about it until my wife woke me up at five in the morning and said, ‘Larry, Ali died.’ It shocked me. I haven’t slept in three days. He was my buddy. He was a friend.”
Holmes spent the morning sharing personal memories of Ali, an intense competitor who is widely recognized as the greatest boxer of all time. Holmes touched on Ali’s famous verbal abilities, which were often used as a self-motivational tool toward success.
“We’d be on the bus, and he’d just be sitting there, saying, ‘I’m the greatest. I’m this. I’m that. I can beat him.’” Holmes remembered. “He was talking to himself, but we were listening.”
Ali was also known for his controversial views on political and social issues. Most notably, Ali refused to enter the United States military during the Vietnam War. He was charged with draft evasion and banned from professional boxing from ages 25 to almost 29 – the prime of his career.
“You have to believe in something. If you have no respect for yourself, who are you going to respect?” Holmes said. “He had a right to speak up for himself, his friends, and family.”
Even through his fiery, competitive nature, and controversial views, Ali is remembered most of all by Holmes as a man who loved humanity equally, and who treated all people with respect.
“He was a good guy,” Holmes said. “He loved young people, and would always give hugs and kisses. When my daughter was two years old, he’d pick her up and give her a hug and a kiss.”