LARRY Holmes is a name synonymous with heavyweight boxing’s golden age and the man known as the ‘Easton Assassin’ was one of the greatest fighters of his generation.
Having beaten such greats as Muhammad Ali and Ken Norton in a career which saw him win 69 of 75 professional bouts Holmes is second only to Joe Louis (25) in the most number of successful consecutive defences of his heavyweight crown with 20 between 1978 and 1985.
Now 64, Holmes is still fighting fit and in an exclusive interview for the Wigan Evening Post during a stay at Holland Hall Hotel in Up Holland, he revealed why he chose to stay in the borough.
Sat in the peaceful surroundings of Holland Hall in Up Holland, Holmes still has a glint in his eye and still looks fit enough to be able to get in a ring tomorrow and cause havoc.
Holmes was in the UK with his family and was working for Sky TV - which saw him meet up with British Olympic champion Anthony ‘Josh’ Joshua - and attending various sportsmen’s dinners but said he likes the quiet life afforded to him at Holland Hall.
He said: “It’s nice here, nice and peaceful. If I’m in the city it’s all too busy whereas here I can relax with my family. They look after me.”
Holmes recalls his career with fondness and remembers every detail of his 75 professional fights, which resulted in 44 of his opponents left sprawled on the canvas.
Despite being humble and reserved throughout his career, he was the most feared fighter on the planet.
Speaking at Holland Hall he said: “Norton was the toughest fighter I ever fought. He was real tough.
“Of course Ali was the best technical boxer I fought but that fight should never have gone ahead. Ali was not the fighter he once was and it made me sad to beat him. He is a good friend of mine.”
READ THE FULL INTERVIEW IN THIS WEEK’S WIGAN OBSERVER (OUT TUESDAY) ...