View Full Version : Ken Norton.Why no Holmes rematch?

04-27-2006, 01:27 PM
Their fight could have gone either way on the scorecards so why didn't Ken Norton get a rematch with Larry Holmes?Refresh my memory.Did Norton lose soon after the Holmes loss thereby losing the spot to fight Holmes in a rematch?That's what I'm thinking.

04-27-2006, 01:30 PM
I'm a Norton fan and was pulling for him but Holmes clearly won on the scorecards.

There would have been a rematch if Norton had beaten Shavers (in a title eliminator) but Shavers knocked Kenny out in 1 and then himself rematched Holmes, knocking down the champ with a picture-perfect right hand but himself getting stopped late.

Norton after losing the Holmes decision lost his heart for boxing in my opinion, and has stated as such. He should've retired after the Shavers fight but instead got whacked by Cooney several years later in a horrific KO.

04-27-2006, 01:37 PM
Thanks for the clarification.
I was a Norton fan as well.Too bad he would fall apart against the big punchers.

04-27-2006, 01:46 PM
Unless I'm mistaken, Ken retired almost immediately after the Holmes fight, losing his spot in the ratings. A few months later he decided to give it one more shot and that lead him to the Shavers fight.

04-27-2006, 01:51 PM
That could be right. I do remember Norton taking time 'off' after the Holmes fight, not sure if it was an official retirement or not.

If he had stayed retired, I believe his legacy would be much stronger without the Shavers and Cooney KOs, and people saying he 'always' fell apart vs big punchers, which is not true.

04-27-2006, 02:36 PM
But I beleive, that Norton's retirement came after the Shavers fight. His bout with Shavers was a Title elimination bout, whihc Kenny was favored in.

After the Holmes bout he took on Randy Stephens and Ko'd him in a very humanitarian way and was actually on the undercard of Larry's first defense.

Norton Shavers was on the undercard of Holmes Ocasio. I beleive King was setting up the rematch right after Larry beat Kenny and was wheting our appetites when Kenny got cuaght by Shavers (please don't say Norton was scared. HE cam after Shavers that bout. Norton simply got caught.

After that bout, I beleive he retired and he LeDon't showing was his "comeback" bout.


04-27-2006, 03:21 PM
Actually Hawk, I think he retired after the Holmes fight AND after the Shavers fight. Just from my addled memory of reading his book, he decided to quit after he lost the "title", but it didn't take much time or convincing to get him to come back. He retired again after the Shavers fight only to decide he could give it one more shot.

I haven't read that in a while, but for some reason that's what I think happened. And that when I read that he retired so frequently at the end of his career, it was surprising to me.

Then again, I could be way off. Especially considering I often call my wife by both my daughters names, and call them by hers......

04-27-2006, 03:54 PM
I read an interview a few years back where Norton said he was never into boxing, didn't like it but it was what he was good at. He said he never really committed himself to the sport & basically got by on his natural physical abilities.

I wonder how much better he would have been if he had dedicated himself to the sport. Still, he did pretty damn well for a guy that wasn't into it.

He also said that he was really done after the 3rd Ali fight. He said he should have retired then but when the WBC named him champ when Ali rematched with Spinks he had to continue because there was so much money to be made.

After the Holmes fight he knew it was really over & it was only the money that kept bringing him back.


04-27-2006, 05:07 PM
A Johnny Ruiz retirement eh T?

I'll see if I can find it in Kenny's book as well.


HE Grant
04-27-2006, 07:44 PM
It was the KO loss to Shavers, a terrible match up for Norton to take on with a Holmes rematch on the line. Everyone knew Kenny froze against huge punchers...Earnie knocked him out without breaking a sweat...Norton was some strange fighter...he should have beaten Earnie easy...there was no reason for Shavers to even be able to hit him...Norton simply froze against certain punchers and that was that...no one wanted a rematch after he was flattened in one round.

04-27-2006, 09:36 PM
I'm pretty sure that the Shavers-Norton bout was one of those WBC-mandated "Title Eliminators." Norton was the number one contender, Shavers number two. Holmes had signed a contract to fight the winner. Personally, I've always thought the whole thing was a bit questionable. In 1978 Shavers fought Holmes and lost virtually every round in a lopsided decision. Norton loses to Holmes in a close decision. After losing to Holmes, Shavers scores three quick KOs over tomato cans and he becomes the number two contender and Norton has to defeat him to "earn" a rematch with Holmes. Obviously the whole thing was the work of Don King.

04-27-2006, 09:41 PM
You gotta remember the WBC's "President For Life", Jose Sulemain has always had his nose buried so deep in King's bunghole they mouth breath together.


04-28-2006, 02:19 AM
Their fight could have gone either way on the scorecards so why didn't Ken Norton get a rematch with Larry Holmes?Refresh my memory.Did Norton lose soon after the Holmes loss thereby losing the spot to fight Holmes in a rematch?That's what I'm thinking.

Yes, in early '79, about eight months after losing his title to Larry Holmes, Norton was kayoed in one round by Earnie Shavers.

The Norton-Shavers bout was an official title eliminator to establish Holmes's mandatory challenger.

HE Grant
04-28-2006, 07:08 AM
Norton should have protested the fight...he just lost the title in a razor thin decision...no doubt it was King's bullshit but he could have made a big stink about it...regardless, he could have outboxed Shavers. Instead he froze and got nailed.

Norton got a few bum deals in his carer. He completely got robbed in the third Ali fight. He won at least ten rounds, likely more. He lost a decision to Holmes that easily could have gone his way or at least been a draw. Then he gets forced to fight Shavers. Whatever.

04-28-2006, 07:56 AM
He got caught.

Norton was very confident going into that bout and took the fight to Earnie.

Granted Norton's chin wasn't the best out there and Earnie's power may indeed have been the best. But this was NOT a case of Kenny being scared and freezing up.

He simply took some thrunderous punches that he could not survive.

NOTE: T, I checked out Norton's book and he mentions being deflated after the Holmes bout and never being the same AND he says he contemplated retireing While looking into movie roles, but as he said after the bitterness wore off, the competitive juices started flowing agiain. Pages 156-159 Going the Distance.


04-29-2006, 04:42 AM
Norton was never the house fighter and those guys have to travel a different path. And they just don't get the breaks during the bout or opponent selection or anything.

I kind of like that norton bout when he just fell apart at the end against Scott Ledoux. After dominating the guy early. I'm sure Eddie Futch thought Bobick was going to wear him out just like ledoux did. Man, did Norton deteriorate fast against the journeyman ledoux and was definately saved by the bell at the end. He didn't have 3 seconds in him at the final bell.

The Cobb bout was interesting as well and kenny hit the guy with the kitchen sink and couldn't hurt the guy or back him up.

But Norton was just one of those guys that never seemed to get in the ring with the guys I wanted to see him fight; Lyle. Mac Foster. Frazier. Bonavena. chuvalo. Bugner. Shavers in 75 or so. And later on when he got older, coetzee and knoetze/Tate/Dokes/Dino Dennis/etc.

Then again, they sure had one helluva rebuilding project on their hands when kenny got destroyed by Foreman. They did a good job bringing him back to the top and they weren't going to put him in with a tough guy or puncher.

Walker Smith
04-29-2006, 11:34 AM
People often list Frazier-Norton as a dream fight that never happened, yet I always believed that had they fought, Frazier would've undoubtedly won, probably by 1st or 2nd round KO. Norton was at his best against boxer-jabber types who weren't going for the KO, but were looking to win on the cards or by cuts. Whenever confronted with a puncher, Norton seemed to meet his end. In a war of attrition with Frazier, I believed Frazier would overmatch Norton with his sheer power. As far as I've ever seen of Norton, he fought better when his opponent was moving away from him. Of course, I think a prime Quarry would've also given him trouble, but, when they fought, it came after the beating Quarry took from Frazier where Joe Louis almost cost Quarry his life.

Norton wasn't a great fighter. He did well against one kind of opponent. To this day, I am surprised that Holmes didn't knock Norton out. He had the tools. My only explanation was that jabbers didn't bother Norton as much as punchers and that Norton was always ready to go 15 rounds.

04-30-2006, 06:48 AM

I thought back then that holmes would jab norton to death and use his superior footwork to just pick and peck norton to a lopsided win. But holmes really didn't take advantage of his youth and got hit an awful lot more than I suspected he would & ended up w/ a much tougher and closer bout than lots of people expected.

The same thing happened to holmes later on when he was the old guy facing youth & he lost some bouts, although he didn't face any jabbers with legs.

But Norton was a 1 trick pony and his style works against certain opponents. I'm still surprised to this day how the holmes from the shavers 1 timeframe didn't look as good against an old norton. I think Kenny was a .500 fightewr against the top 10 at that time with Larry Holmes being about the worst guy he should fight.

04-30-2006, 10:06 AM
Norton, As I think he was a hell of a fighter. Great? No. But I think he deserves a bit more respect than in afforded to him.

That said, I beleive Holmes beat him a bit more convincingly then the scorecards indicated. I had Holmes up by 3 points going into the 15th round. ANd I thought Holmes LOST the 15th round (I'm the biggest Holmes-er in the world, but winning the last 30 seconds of an unbeleivably brutal round does not give you the round. Kenny won the round.)

But let's also remember that Larry went into the fight with a torn bicep. He had no choice but to go through with the bout or King would have kicked him to the curb. Holmes had no leverage or negotiating power prior to winning the title (and many would agree that he had very little negotiating power when he WAS the champ) and Had to take the bout, injured or no.

That said, I don't think Holmes would have stopped Kenny at 100 %. But then agian, look at the 13th round (folks, that's a two point round) and the sh*t kicking Larry gave Norton and one could point to that as evidence that a full strength Holmes WOULD have stopped Kenny.


04-30-2006, 02:37 PM
Norton was better than some of ya'll have said. Quarry was old but the last thing you lose is your punch and Kenny had some vicious toe-to-toe exchanges with Jerry in their fight and he simply outpunched him. Kenny also beat Kirkman and Stander in his post-Foreman comeback who, while not world class in the skill department, were both tough punchers. If Kenny had such a glass jaw he would've lost all of those fights.
I have tons of respect for Eddie Futch, but his comment that Norton "freezed before facing a puncher" just isn't true. Maybe he freezed vs Garcia for any reason, but vs Foreman he actually was boxing him fairly successfully. Vs Shavers and Foreman I do not see a guy fighting scared at all. And we saw what happened when he fought Futch fighter Bobick, also a puncher but Norton ran through him like a freight train.

04-30-2006, 10:19 PM
I think that Norton did appear tight v Foreman (he admitted as much after the fight). Even so, Norton moved and boxed quite well until Foreman landed his first really soid punch (a long right as Kenny was moving away). Had he not been so tight, Norton's movement and resilience may've been that much better. Norton also stated that his being tight prevented him from properly capitalising on the openings he saw. In predicting the outcome of Foreman v Ali, Norton felt that Ali, not being similarly afflicted by nerves, would take full advantage of those openings and win by decision easily. One of the few picks for an Ali victory.

V Shavers I agree that Norton did not appear to be impaired by nerves. He stayed right in front of Earnie while trying to outbox him. Shaver's aggression eventually forced Norton to the ropes. Still, Norton tried to bang along with Earnie whilst covering up between punches thrown. At that point, commentator Cossell noted that Norton had previously suggested a possible strategy of allowing Shavers to punch himself and that he might be employing a rope a dope tactic. At any rate, Kenny's cross armed defense didn't properly protect the right side of his jaw against a short, powerful Shaver's left hook that started him going (again, one very good punch starting the rot), opening him right up for Shaver's brutal two handed follow up. It's true that Norton lost that fight simply because of a less than granite chin v hellacious shots from a HUGE puncher.

Mr E
05-01-2006, 05:24 PM
Unless I'm mistaken, Ken retired almost immediately after the Holmes fight, losing his spot in the ratings. A few months later he decided to give it one more shot and that lead him to the Shavers fight.

I didn't read the whole thread, so forgive me if I'm repeating things. Here's my memory.

Norton defended against Holmes and, on the same card, Jimmy Young took a "tune-up" against Ossie Ocassio, the deal being that whoever won the Norton-Holmes fight would shortly defend against Young (whose earlier loss to Norton had been controversial).

In any case, Holmes beat Norton but Young was upset, which meant he lost his "mandatory challenger" status.

Next, Holmes and Norton each took a tune-up (I believe on the same card), heading toward an anticipated rematch. Holmes dispatched Alfredo "The Tomato" Evangilista and Norton dispatched Randy Stephens, famously omitting to hit Stephens at one point when Stephans was about to fall over.

In the meantime, Ocassio beat Young again, thereby removing Young from the title picture and earning a shot of his own.

Around the same time, Norton took the fight against Shavers, which surprised a lot of people, as Shavers was a dangerous opponent and was not really in the title mix at the time. In any case, Shavers crushed Norton and got a rematch w/ Holmes (who had crushed Ocassio, as anticipated). Holmes was off and running and Norton was at the end of the line.

In his next fight, Norton started quickly but faded badly to barely escape w/ an undeserved draw against ham-and-egger, Scott LeDoux. Then he retired.

Norton came back a year later to score an impressive decision over Randy Tex Cobb to set up the Cooney fight....