Subj: The BAWLI Papers No. 94
Date: 99-06-19 14:40:00 EDT
From: email@example.com (J Michael Kenyon)
The BAWLI Papers
(Boxing As We Liked It)
Edited by J Michael Kenyon
Issue Number 94
Friday, June 18, 1999
New York City, New York, US of A
IN THIS ISSUE: OLD AGE BOXING PRESENTS A FEW INTRIGUING FACTORS, DONCHA
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(ED. NOTE -- The BAWLI Papers, somewhat uncharacteristically, devotes full
coverage to this week's Larry Holmes-Bonecrusher Smith "Over the Hill in
Fayetteville" confrontation. The BAWLI editors like the idea of old men
fighting, for a couple of reasons. One, most old pros have some idea of what
they are doing in the ring, separating them from 99 per cent of the people
who make up the professional boxing population. Two, the fights tend to be
evenly matched affairs, especially when involving old names from the past.
Our suggestions to the format would be to make the fights only six rounds in
duration (which we happen to believe should be the norm for all fights,
short of title matches) and, somewhat controversially, make them
bare-knuckle fights, perhaps even stripping the warriors to some sort of
gladitorial garb, such as bare-assed and only their genitals covered by a
cup-belt. Of course, lots of glistening oil should be applied to their
bodies, the fights should be held in secret locations and booze should flow
freely among the well-heeled spectators, who will have a wonderful,
wonderful time. Sorry, just dreaming . . . This issue and the next couple
will tell you what really happened.)
HOLMES, SMITH PREP FOR FIGHT
(Fayetteville Observer-Times, June 14, 1999)
By T. Nolan Hayes
Larry Holmes’ voice thundered across Lee Physical Fitness Center at Fort
Holmes was calling out to James “Bonecrusher” Smith, his opponent in this
week’s “Legends” heavyweight title bout at Crown Coliseum. The challenge was
blunt and direct.
Was Holmes proposing a preview of Friday’s main event for the approximately
200 spectators in attendance?
Nope. He just wanted Smith to help him buy ice cream for all the children
who were watching the boxers work out in the sweltering gymnasium.
Smith answered the challenge, flashing a greenback that sent youngsters
scurrying to the concession stand for their cold treats.
Holmes and Smith had managed to please the crowd. The two fighters hope to
turn the same trick Friday in front of a crowd that fight promoter Cozell
McQueen said he expects to be about 10,000.
“This is the kind of fight that fighters need to have -- with two people who
respect each other,” said Holmes, who has a 66-6 career record. “I think
Bone has a lot of respect for me, and I certainly have a lot of respect for
Mutual admiration aside, both fighters are confident about their chances of
emerging from Friday’s main event with a victory. Each man predicted a win
for himself, though neither would specify how long he thought the fight
“Whatever Bone wants to do, I’m ready to do,” the 49-year-old Holmes said.
“If he wants to go out early, he can go out early. I’m prepared to fight,
and I’m prepared to win the fight.
“I’ve got other things that I plan on doing, and I will not allow
Bonecrusher to stand in the way.”
By “other things,” Holmes means George Foreman. Should the fight between
Holmes and Smith succeed financially, the winner is in line for a possible
bout with Foreman.
A fight against Foreman, one of boxing’s most popular characters, would mean
a seven-figure paycheck for either Holmes or Smith, and Smith said he’s
ready to go for it.
“I’m in the best shape I’ve been in in a long time,” said Smith, a former
WBA heavyweight champ. “I’m staying in the house, praising God, seeking
wisdom and understanding, and I think I’ve got the formula to knock out
Holmes, of course, thinks otherwise. Never one to get too caught up in
championships and titles, he said he wants to fight Foreman because he still
enjoys fighting and still enjoys the money that comes from it.
“It’s about the money,” said Holmes, who wants at least $4 million if he
fights Foreman. “What do I want prestige for? I want money. I can’t spend
prestige. I can’t buy myself a new car on prestige, and my son can’t go to
college on prestige.”
Holmes has earned millions during his illustrious career, which began in
1973. He held the heavyweight championship from 1978-85, regis tering a
victory against a young Smith during that span.
Holmes recorded a technical knockout of Smith on Nov. 9, 1984, in Las Vegas
to improve his career record to 46-0. The fight was just the 15th of Smith’s
Smith, who has amassed a career record of 43-15-1, said the result will be
different this time. He’s the hometown hero, living at Keith Hills Country
Club in Buies Creek, and expects to command most of the crowd support.
“The main thing is that I’m at home,” Smith said. “We’re not in Las Vegas
this time, and I think that’s going to make a major difference.”
A BATTLE FOR THE AGED
(Charlotte Observer, Thursday, June 17, 1999)
By Tom Sorensen
There are five words you never expect to hear a boxer say.
"I'm not stopping at Hooters!''
But Larry Holmes says them, and he says them with feeling, in the lobby of
the Holiday Inn on Woodlawn Road. Already this morning Mr. Holmes has joined
John Boy & Billy for an interview on WRFX and has sat on a soft lobby sofa
to talk to me. Now he is being asked to make a publicity stop at Hooters.
Mr. Holmes implies that the toughest part of his Friday night fight with
Bonecrusher Smith is not the fight with Bonecrusher Smith. It's talking
about the fight with Bonecrusher Smith. Mr. Holmes has talked about it in
New York and Washington, on the radio and in the lobby and . . .
"I don't want to stop at Hooters,'' Mr. Holmes says. "I'm tired of stopping
And you thought being an aging fighter was easy.
Mr. Holmes, 49, will fight Mr. Bonecrusher, 46, at the Crown Coliseum in
Fayetteville. I call Holmes Mr. because that's how my parents taught me to
address my elders. I call Bonecrusher Mr. because he looks as if he's my
The fight has no name. I've been calling it Over the Hill in Fayetteville,
but nobody has picked the name up, which means it is not a very good name
and I should stop using it. Being an aging sportswriter is not easy, either.
But sportswriters are allowed to grow old. Boxers are not. Because of the
punishment they take and the quickness they lose, boxers tend to be outcasts
by the time they're 35. Even if they hang on, they offer little but a
Mr. Bonecrusher, who lives in Dunn, near Fayetteville, decided these
reputations could be parlayed into money. But he adds that the idea for
senior boxing is not his.
"God kind of laid it on my heart,'' Mr. Bonecrusher says before leaving for
Mr. Bonecrusher talked to Cozell McQueen, whom you might remember as a
player on the 1983 NCAA champion basketball team at N.C. State. With McQueen
attracting financing, and serving as promoter, Legends of Boxing was
concocted, and on Friday will make its debut.
Expect golf's Seniors tour without the carts or fans.
Mr. Holmes was the world champion for 7 1/2 years, and Mr. Bonecrusher, who
grew up in Magnolia and has a business degree from Shaw, was the champion in
"He was champion for a minute,'' says Mr. Holmes.
Mr. Holmes has yet to retire, but Mr. Bonecrusher did. He has served as
chairman of the N.C. Boxing Commission, become a minister and developed
Bonecrusher's Power Punch. He threw carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers into a
juicer and out came magic.
"We're going to reverse aging!'' Mr. Bonecrusher says.
Mr. Bonecrusher has trained 90 days and is down from 300 pounds to -- he's
not sure, but says he has never felt as good.
"This should be easy work,'' says Mr. Bonecrusher.
Mr. Holmes, whose success is such that his headquarters are in Easton, Pa.,
in L&D Holmes Plaza on Larry Holmes Drive, disagrees, saying he will knock
Mr. Bonecrusher out.
"He won't win if his best friend is the referee and his wife is one of the
judges,'' says Mr. Holmes.
The winner wants George Foreman. Mike Tyson supposedly does, too, but
neither Mr. Holmes nor Mr. Bonecrusher expects a Foreman-Tyson fight to come
When Mr. Holmes and Mr. Bonecrusher fought 15 years ago, Mr. Holmes knocked
Mr. Bonecrusher out. But that was before Mr. Bonecrusher bought the juicer.
Also, Mr. Bonecrusher and Mr. Holmes were young then. Well, not young.
A PERSONAL WAR OF WORDS
(Fayetteville Observer-Times, June 18, 1999)
By Thomas Pope
If the punches in the ring are as crisp as the verbal haymakers fired at
Thursday’s weigh-in, Larry Holmes and James “Bonecrusher” Smith ought to
have quite a second go-round tonight at the Crown Coliseum.
Holmes and Smith headline a Legends of Boxing card that includes six former
world champions: themselves, ex-heavyweight titlists Greg Page and Tim
Witherspoon, along with Juan Laporte and Billy Costello. The first fight is
scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. with a pay-per-view TV audience set to tune
in at 9. The main event -- a 10-rounder between Holmes and Smith -- is
expected to begin about 11 p.m.
Nearly 15 years have elapsed since Smith and Holmes collided in Las Vegas, a
bout that saw Holmes retain his heavyweight crown by TKO and run his
professional record to 46 fights without a defeat. Holmes was a heavyweight
champion from 1978-85.
In 1986, Smith took the World Boxing Association title away from Witherspoon
with a first-round knockout, then lost the crown to Mike Tyson in his first
Now pushing 50 -- Holmes is 49, Smith 46 -- the fighters acted like grumpy
old men at the weigh-in, which was held at Fort Bragg’s Main NCO Club. They
disagreed over who would mount the scales first, then over who will be the
first to enter the ring tonight.
After the weigh-in, with Holmes hitting 250 and Smith weighing 275 pounds in
his Fruit of the Loom briefs, their argument reached a more personal level.
Holmes said he never let money or success go to his head, but charged that
Smith had gotten too big for his britches.
“People say ‘Bone’ won’t even speak to them when they’re walking down the
street,” Holmes said, “and I don’t think that’s right for people who are
making a few dollars not to speak to somebody else just because they’re less
fortunate than you. I think everybody’s created equal in God’s eyes, Mr.
Holmes then charged that Smith wasn’t the ordained minister he says he is.
“There’s a lot of pretenders down in North Carolina, a lot of preachers who
pretend to be preachers but really are Satans in disguise,” he said. “I don’
t want to talk about that, but you know what I’m talking about. If the shoe
don’t fit, don’t put it on. But if it fits, put your big ol’ feet inside
Smith then took his turn at the microphone to respond to Holmes’ comments,
describing his opponent as an adulterer and a drunkard.
“I told a few people yesterday I was going to say some things” about Holmes,
Smith said. “Then I decided I wasn’t even going to say those things, but
Larry kind of provoked me, but I’m not going to say those things. I’m an
ordained minister,” to which Holmes shouted, “Act like one!”
“See, Larry thought I was going to say those things,” Smith said. “I was
trying to provoke him, trying to get inside his head and it worked.”
Eventually, Holmes moved from the main room into one on the side to tape an
interview for the broadcast, and Smith began reading from the Bible’s book
of Proverbs. Smith’s bellowing and editorial comments on the passages
brought Holmes back in the room with shouts of, “Hey, shut up! I’m trying to
do an interview in here!” Their verbal exchange continued with Holmes
calling Smith a hypocrite and a heathen.
Afterward, when the fighters had picked boxing gloves that suited them, they
talked about tonight’s 10-round duel.
“Bone hasn’t seen nothing yet,” Holmes said when asked how this fight might
be different from their first. “I’ve seen everything he’s got. Matter of
fact, I don’t think he’s got anything. He’s gained too much weight. I don’t
think his legs are gonna carry him.”
Smith called the card a unique opportunity for area fight fans and curiosity
seekers to see major league boxing.
“They’ve got six former world champions, there’s women fighting,” he said.
“The main thing is, this is a chance to see Las Vegas-caliber fights right
here. They can drive to it, they don’t have to get on a plane and fly to Las
Page, of Louisville, Ky., weighed in at 255 for his 10-rounder with
Witherspoon, a 2373/4-pounder from Philadelphia. Both are former world
“His jab and that’s about it,” Witherspoon said when asked about Page’s
strengths. “He’s got long arms. But I’ll get in close and let him have it
and I’ll be all right.”
That’s not the way Page sees the fight shaping up.
“What he’s got to look out for, I’ve got the Lord on my side,” Page said.
Laporte weighed 154 for his 10-round middleweight skirmish with Costello.
Costello didn’t make weight and was to weigh in again later Thursday.
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