SI Vault
Edited by Franz Lidz
June 03, 1985
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June 03, 1985


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He has one now. He's eking out at bats mostly while pinch-hitting for pitchers leading off innings against righthanders—how's that for a specialty? So far, he has a walk, a weak infield single, a sacrifice bunt and a groundout back to the box in four plate appearances. That's two official at bats. He needs six more. But he'd still rather have a homer than a share of baseball immortality.

"If Kipe hits one out," deadpans Giants coach Rocky Bridges, "there'd have to be an investigation."


Carl Williams may have lost a unanimous decision to Larry Holmes, but he did jab some truth into the 35-year-old heavyweight champ's head. Going into the May 20 fight, the 47-0 Holmes was bent on pursuing Rocky Marciano's record of 49 wins without a loss. "I'm this close," Holmes told SI's Pal Putnam before the bout, "I might as well go ahead and break the record."

Now Holmes isn't so sure. Williams, who had only 16 previous pro fights, took him 15 rounds, slammed shut one eye and scuffed up the other. Holmes could barely lift his right arm. The rest of his 222-pound body just hurt. He skipped a postfight press conference and went straight to his hotel suite to submerge his pain in a hot bath.

"I've never missed a press conference before," Holmes said, "except the night I won the title from Kenny Norton. Then I just ran out and jumped into the pool at Caesars Palace. If I had jumped into a pool after this fight, I'd have drowned." Holmes shook his battered head. "The guys I have to fight, they're too young, too strong," he went on. "It's getting harder and harder. Right now I don't feel Marciano's record is that important. I've paid my dues."

Holmes has been the champ for seven years and 20 title defenses. Only Joe Louis wore the crown longer (12 years) or successfully defended it more often (25 times). And Louis lost three fights. Marciano held the title only three years and defended it just six times: against 39-year-old Jersey Joe Walcott; twice against an ancient Ezzard Charles; and in his final bout, an antediluvian Archie Moore. In between there were a couple of guys named Roland LaStarza and Don Cockell.

And then there was Muhammad Ali, who stayed too long and lost to Holmes at 38, just as Louis hung on and was knocked out by Marciano at 37. The real accomplishment in Marciano's record wasn't the 49; it was that he retired while he still had the zero to put after it. Holmes might be wise to retire while he still has his zero.


Some pitchers sprout mean and menacing mustaches. Others rumble onto the mound as if they're crazies, eyes flipping in their sockets like plums in a slot machine. But nobody's arsenal of discombobulation is quite as disarming as Lisa Ishikawa's. Ish, as the Northwestern ace is known, bamboozles batters with her giggle.

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