In the eighth Holmes was caught with a wicked right, and again he had to hold on. After the round, trainer Eddie Futch told Holmes to stop loading up with the right hand and to box. "Larry sacrificed some of his skills going for the knockout," said Futch. "I told him to move and jab more, and to throw the right hand from a shorter distance so Bonecrusher's counter would go over his shoulder."
Holmes took control, hurting Smith with a Futch-designed short right in the 11th that tore open Smith's left eyelid. Holmes continued to work on the cut in the 12th until referee Davey Pearl asked Dr. Donald Romeo to look at it. When the doctor informed Smith that the cut was serious and asked Smith if he wanted to continue, Bonecrusher said, "Call it off." The cut required 20 stitches.
Later, at Desert Springs Hospital, Holmes was examined by Dr. Richard Adams, who said Holmes fought with a significant fracture of the distal phalanx that had worsened, based on X rays of the original break. Said Adams, "It's not an injury I would box with."
Why, then, didn't Holmes take the time to let the thumb heal?
"Well, because I'm 35 years old, and I got to do it while I feel like it," he said outside the emergency room. "You have to take a chance. That's what boxing's all about."