THOUGH HE is 55 and has not stepped into a ring professionally for three years, Larry Holmes is picking a fight. On the About Larry Holmes page on LarryHolmes.com, the ex-heavyweight champ lists both his most recent bout--a 10-round decision over Eric (Butterbean) Esch on July 27, 2002--and his hoped-for next one: " George Foreman ???????????????????"
Holmes has been baiting the 56-year-old grill magnate for years. "Foreman keeps saying he wants to fight again," Holmes says. "I keep saying, 'George, fight me.' Deep down he's afraid of me."
At one time Holmes, the owner of perhaps the sweetest jab in heavyweight history, was indeed a fighter to fear. He won the championship in 1978, defeating Ken Norton, and made 20 successful title defenses. In 1980 he defended his belt four times, culminating in an 11th-round TKO of Muhammad Ali in October. Holmes was 48-0, one short of Rocky Marciano's record for consecutive victories, when he lost to Michael Spinks in 1985.
These days Holmes's business cards read LARRY HOLMES, LARRY HOLMES ENTERPRISES, INC., L&D HOLMES PLAZA, 91 LARRY HOLMES DRIVE, EASTON, PA--the town where he lives with his wife, Diane. (He has five children.) Talk about being a pillar of the community: The federal courthouse is located inside one of Holmes's office buildings, not far from his gym and his bar/restaurant.
When he's not tending to his properties or training for comebacks (he's had 24 fights since turning 40), Holmes enjoys fishing and also singing. For a while he fronted a soul band called Marmalade and even performed on Late Night with David Letterman. "I'm not that good of a singer, and I can only play keyboard with one hand," says Holmes, who once did a show after one of his own fights. "But it was fun."
So, he seems to sincerely believe, would be a battle between him and Foreman. "We're the same age. People would like to see that," Holmes told The Ottawa Sun. "I'll kick his ass." -- Jaime Lowe