Larry Holmes: Anthony Joshua would have KO'd a prime Mike TysonWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Tomorrow night, WBA/IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua faces the durable and rugged Carlos Takam. The fight will serve as Joshua's first since he defeated previous long-reigning champion and fight legend Wladimir Klitschko in April.
So how good is young Joshua?
"Joshua would have knocked out a prime Mike Tyson there’s no doubt about it," the legendary Larry Holmes (69-6, 44 KO) told the Independent recently.
"Mike Tyson went down low and then came up and tried to throw roundhouses. But Joshua would just hit him with a straight right hand on the side of his damn chin and Mike wouldn’t get up."
"I’m not taking anything away from Mike Tyson – he kicked my ass. But if Mike fought anybody who boxes behind a jab, moves out and throws punches, they would whoop his ass just like Lennox Lewis did, just like Evander Holyfield did ..."
High praise from a heavyweight legend who is known for being a straight-shooter, inside and outside the ring. But Holmes has always been high on Joshua. In 2013, when AJ was just 6-0, Holmes stated:
"He [Anthony Joshua] punches good. There are things that he does wrong but he's just a kid."
"His quickness makes up for the things that he does wrong but with the right training, I think you have got a champion here."
Joshua certainly has the size and athleticism to be a dominant champion, and he has a lot of natural 'boxing' talent and good punching power to boot.
Perhaps Holmes is on point? Of course, Holmes insists he could have beaten a prime Tyson too...
Tyson vs Holmes
In late 1987, promoter Don King lured Holmes out of retirement to the fight Mike Tyson, then a popular, surging, undisputed champ. But there was a catch. The near 40 year old Holmes, after a two-year layoff, wouldn't be given the necessary time to get in shape for a fight of that magnitude. When Larry wanted to push the date back, King threatened to walk away and give the title shot to another fighter.
In 2016, Holmes told Salfordstar.com, "They come to me [after being retired for nearly two years], offer me a lot of money to fight Mike Tyson and I said `Three and a half million dollars? Where's Mike? Let's go get him!'"
"He beat me but I think if I had more time to get ready and train for the fight then it would be no problem."
Larry Holmes facts
- Held the WBC heavyweight title from 1978 to 1983 and the IBF heavyweight title from 1983 to 1985.
- His reign of seven years is the third longest ever in the heavyweight division. Only Joe Louis (1937-1949) and Wladimir Klitschko (2006-2015) have had longer title reigns.
- Successfully defended the WBC title 16 times and the IBF title three times. Holmes' 19 consecutive title defenses is second only to Joe Louis' 25.
- Won eight straight title defenses by knockout, breaking Joe Louis' record of seven.
- Won the lineal World Heavyweight Championship when he defeated Muhammad Ali by a 10th-round RTD on October 2, 1980. Holmes defended it 12 times.
- Had a record of 20-5 (14 KOs) in world title fights.
- Defeated Ken Norton, Gerrie Cooney, Ossie Ocasio, Mike Weaver (twice), Muhammad Ali, Trevor Berbick, Leon Spinks, Tim Witherspoon, James "Bonecrusher" Smith (twice) and Ray Mercer.
- Lost against Michael Spinks (twice), Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Oliver McCall