Subj: The BAWLI Papers No. 95
Date: 99-06-19 14:40:48 EDT
From: (J Michael Kenyon)

The BAWLI Papers
(Boxing As We Liked It)
Edited by J Michael Kenyon

Issue Number 95
Saturday, June 19, 1999
New York City, New York, US of A


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(Fayetteville Observer-Times, June 18, 1999)

By T. Nolan Hayes

James “Bonecrusher” Smith has been fighting for a long time.

But the 46-year-old Buies Creek resident, who has compiled a 43-16-1 career
record with 31 knockouts in 18 years, says he’s just now getting the hang of

“All through my career, I’ve been hitting guys with glancing shots, but I’ve
been so strong that I knocked them off their feet anyway,” Smith said
Thursday at a weigh-in for tonight’s Legends of Boxing heavyweight
championship bout with Larry Holmes. “Now I’m relaxed and hitting square for
the first time.”

That could be bad news for Holmes, “the Easton Assassin,” who, at age 49,
brings his 66-6 career record into Crown Coliseum for the main event of a
seven-fight card.

But if Holmes is worried about Bonecrusher’s newfound punching precision, he
has yet to show it. Holmes has already announced he’s willing to give up his
advantage in mobility to trade punches with Smith, who outweighs him 275 to

Though the strategy hardly seems preferable for a bout with Smith, consider
the following gems from Holmes at his workout at Lee Physical Fitness Center
in Fort Bragg last Sunday:

“I think I’m more of a settled fighter now. I don’t have to run around the
ring. I just stay there in front of you because I know how to block, and I’m
not afraid of getting hit.”

“I’m going to be aggressive, and I’m going to be there. I’m not going to
run; I’m not going to dance. I’m too old to run. I’ll go out there and stick
the hammer in front of him and just see what he’s going to do.”

“Back then I moved around a lot and kept from getting hit. Today I don’t
worry about getting hit. I just do what I’ve got to do. I figure if he’s
close enough to hit me, I’m certainly close enough to hit him.”

Though Smith said he hopes Holmes will remain stationary, he’ll believe
Holmes is willing to trade power punches only when the exchanges begin
occurring in the ring.

“Why do you think he ordered them to get a 22-foot ring?” Smith asked
rhetorically. “If he was just going to stand there, he would have gotten a
10-foot ring.”

More meaningful than the size of the ring tonight is the size of the crowd
surrounding it. Don Shea, who is working with promoter Cozell McQueen to put
on the fight, estimated Thursday that about 3,000 tickets had been sold.

Crown Coliseum seats more than 11,000 people, and McQueen predicted at the
fight’s first press conference that all the seats would be filled.

The spectators who have paid the $20, $35, $50 or $150 required to get in
the gates no doubt expect their money’s worth. And Holmes and Smith say they
can deliver the goods.

Both men claim to be fit and ready to fight, and both have said that they
will have no problem going the full 10 rounds should the fight last that

In the only previous meeting between Holmes and Smith, Nov. 9, 1984, in Las
Vegas, Holmes recorded a technical knockout in the 12th round for the win.
Smith says Holmes “escaped” defeat by moving around and is determined not to
let his prey get away this time.

Though Smith might have gained a few more pounds than he would like from
eating coconuts -- he loves them fresh from Food Lion -- he says he has
stayed in shape and taken care of himself by consuming a special drink
filled with trace minerals and liquefied vegetables.

“I’ve been training in the mountains of North Carolina for 12 weeks, and
that’s no joke,” Smith said. “I’ve been hitting the bag since I’ve been home
for 12 or 15 rounds, so I’m ready.”

Holmes, never shy with his opinion, isn’t so sure about Smith’s fitness

“If I take Bone three or four rounds, he’s going to get tired,” Holmes said.
“Bone’s going to get tired, and Bone knows he’s going to get tired.”

Whether Holmes is correct or not will be apparent to all those in
attendance, and those watching on pay-per-view television, sometime after 11
p.m. The main event won’t start until then, Shea said.

Until that time, all the talk will be just that.
“For the last 29 years I’ve had the chance to learn a lot of things about
boxing and about people,” Holmes said. “I’ve learned that you can say a lot
of things, but actions still speak louder than words.

“I can say a lot of things, and (Smith) can say a lot of things, but talk is


(Fayetteville Observer-Times, June 18, 1999)

By Herman Wendorff

I’m looking forward to seeing ol’ T.W. in action today.

I speak of that notable golfer Tiger Woods, right? Dead wrong. That’s former
heavyweight champion of the wooorrld “Terrible” Tim Witherspoon, thank you
very much.

If you think any self-respecting sportswriter would be caught dead at the
Donald Ross Scramble over in Pinehurst when there’s world-class boxing afoot
at the Crown Coliseum, then send us an application. There’s always a
position open for a self-respecting sportswriter, if only so we can strip
him of his delusions.

In the meantime, yours truly will be one of the anointed -- dare I say the
chosen one? -- who will be at the U.S. Open and the “Legends of Boxing.”

No one has dreamed of such a noteworthy double dip since Baskin was
introduced to Robbins, Jupiter aligned with Saturn, and the World Series and
the Super Bowl fell on the same date.

Pardon my provincialism, but this should serve notice to visitors that the
Cape Fear region is a sports haven to be reckoned with. I refer specifically
to a certain Los Angeles Times reporter who wrote that North Carolina is
“barely” in the United States. The last time I checked, Mr. Thomas Bonk, my
zip code wasn’t in danger of sliding into the Pacific Ocean.

But enough of this bitterness. There’s no place for such unsavory squabbling
on this occasion.

Compassion dictates that I advise the unfortunate wretches who may thumb
their noses at history and attend only one of these events.

Go to the fight.

Where are you going to see heavyweights on a golf course? Well, I guess
there’s the surly, burly Colin Montgomerie, whose nickname was going to be
“The Full Monty” until it was discovered he had never been full in his life.
Bad example.

Maybe I should leave it to fight promoter Cozell McQueen, a South Carolina
native, who once said about choosing to attend N.C. State: “I wanted to go
to school up north.” His wisdom extends to other sports as well and was on
full display when someone suggested that maybe it was a bad idea to schedule
the “Legends of Boxing” against the U.S. Open.

“They don’t play golf at night,” he said.
True. But if they did, here are the top 10 reasons why you would rather be
at the fight.

No. 10: No chance of getting locked in a Port-a-Potty.

No. 9: Tickets are considerably easier to come by.

No. 8: Who needs Jack Nicklaus’ autograph when you can get blood and sweat
samples from Larry Holmes, a much younger, more vibrant athlete?

No. 7: You don’t have to fight paunchy, middle-aged men in the gallery for a
good view. In fact, you can watch them fight each other.

No. 6: Who would a true sports fan rather see if he’s feeling a little under
the weather -- a grandmotherly volunteer in the first-aid tent, or a corner
cut man who’s wielding a scalpel and some petroleum jelly? “Cut me, Vito!”

No. 5: Nobody will ask you to keep quiet while Bonecrusher is in the middle
of his backswing.

No. 4: Beverage-cart girls or ring-card girls? Maybe that’s a push.

No. 3: No caviar, brie and chardonnay in a corporate tent, courtesy of your
biggest client. Just nachos, french fries and beer in your lap, courtesy of
the guy sitting next to you.

No. 2: Five words: “Let’s get ready to rummmm-ble.”

No. 1: Air conditioning.

Wish me luck. Not that I haven’t been blessed already.


(USA Today, Friday, June 18, 1999)

By Jon Saraceno

Like the rest of our sometimes tawdry sports world, the fight game is
replete with, well, how do I say this gently?


The struts vary, the heels come in all sizes and colors. But in the end,
they all give you the eye.

Look, over there, standing on the corner. It's Larry Holmes. He's all
yours -- for the right price. No matter that he's a few months shy of 50. He
still knows how to wink at promoters, even after surgery for a detached

Friday night, for the first time in two years, one of the most accomplished
heavyweights in boxing history returns to the ring. Not under the neon of
Las Vegas, but in Fayetteville, N.C.

"I'm a boxing executive -- I'm boxing because there's a paycheck," says the
former champion, a four-time grandpa. "I ain't fightin' for nothin' else.
Let's be real: No one wants to get punched in the face at 100 mph for free.
Not Larry Holmes, anyway."

His come-hither look remains irresistible, at least for some fight peddlers
with pay-per-view dollars dancing in their eyes. Holmes sees them as ATM

Sometimes, he gets paid just for flirting. When planned bouts against George
Foreman and James Toney unraveled during the last six months, Holmes ended
up $650,000 richer. Something about nonrefundable deposits and lawsuit
settlements. Before he gets into the ring Friday night against 46-year-old
James "Bonecrusher" Smith, Holmes already has $200,000 in "good-faith"
money. They will fight for something called the Legends of Boxing
Heavyweight Crown.

The good news: No one will get hurt, unless they strain their backs reaching
for the Muselix. Smith wryly notes, "You've got two guys who move in slow

Smith, a former cup-of-coffee champ, has a business degree from Shaw
University. He's an ordained minister, the one who sold the legends concept
to North Carolina businessmen. They are fronted by promoter Cozell McQueen,
the 7-foot center from North Carolina State's 1983 national championship
basketball team.

"I signed for a corned beef on rye to fight some Joe Blow," Holmes says.
"Then, they called me back and said, 'We want you to fight Bone.' I told
them I couldn't fight Bone for $7. They said, 'OK, $7.50.' I said, 'Give me
$8.' And here I am."

Mercenary Larry can buy his own deli for his real purse: $1.2 million.
That's a lot of pickles. "I'm the only black man in America who owns his own
jailhouse," he says of his Easton, Pa., property that houses a federal
holding cell. "When you get hungry, I've got a restaurant to feed you
(Flossie's, named after his late mother). And, if you want to get drunk,
I've got two bars -- one of them gay."

Holmes used to describe how he made opponents "drunk" with the jab, then
"mugged" them with the right hand. When it's all over, let's hope he's not
staggering around. In any event, grown men are entitled to make foolish

About his legacy, he scoffs. "Who cares about history? The history of Larry
Holmes will be this: He is dead."

He's a pragmatist, far more leery than his health vs. wealth bets would
indicate. He pays cash for nearly everything. He doesn't own a single share
of stock, preferring AAA-rated munis.

And it turns out he and Rocky Marciano have more in common than you might
think: Holmes hoards cash in secret places.

Marciano's generation has almost irrational financial fears because of the
Depression. Holmes has haunting reminders of his meager beginnings, first in
Georgia, as the child of sharecroppers, then in Pennsylvania, one of 12
children raised on welfare by a single mom. "My deepest fear," Holmes wrote
in his autobiography, "has always been that I'd be thrown back into poverty

Now you know why he stands on that corner.


(Associated Press, Friday, June 18, 1999)

Larry Holmes and James ``Bonecrusher'' Smith argued over who should weigh in
first Thursday in preparation for their Legends of Boxing bout tonight.
Small wonder: Holmes, a 49-year-old grandfather, tipped the scales at 250
pounds; Smith, 46, weighed 275.
Their 12-round bout will be a rematch of their heavyweight championship
fight Nov. 9, 1984, when Holmes stopped Smith in the 12th round to
successfully defend his International Boxing Federaiton title. Smith won the
World Boxing Association title in 1986 by stopping Tim Witherspoon, then
lost it to Mike Tyson the following year.

Witherspoon, now 41, appears on the inaugural Legends of Boxing card tonight
at Crown Coliseum, facing former champion Greg Page, 40.

Holmes said in an interview this week that he really has his sights set on
George Foreman.

"I've got to win this fight,'' Holmes said. "That's what would make a fight
with Foreman interesting.''

Holmes hasn't fought in almost two years, but had planned to fight Foreman
in January. The fight was canceled because the promoter couldn't meet
financing commitments.

"I need money, and a fight with George would bring big money,'' said Holmes,
who estimates his worth at $20 million.

Despite hopes for a Foreman bout, Holmes said he is taking tonight's fight
seriously and "not looking ahead.''

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