Holmes calls it quits again after defeat of Esch

Monday, July 29, 2002

NORFOLK, Va. -- When Larry Holmes entered the ring, "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" blared from the speakers and the crowd roared its approval. It was just like old times for Holmes.

But it didn't take long for the 52-year-old to show his age against Eric "Butterbean" Esch on Saturday night.

When Holmes danced in his corner during introductions, his flabby midsection jiggled. When he fired off his once-lethal left jab, his opponent shook it off as if his nose itched.

And when he sat on the stool in his corner between rounds, he panted like a dog in afternoon heat, his stomach jutting out, the sweat pouring off his brow.

There was no stopping the former champion.

He won a unanimous decision over Esch in a 10-round sideshow that pitted a graying grandfather against a blubbery, baldheaded brawler who had never fought more than four rounds.

If boxing had a senior tour, Holmes would be a champion again.

But it doesn't, so the proud, paunchy former heavyweight is hanging up his gloves -- for now. Again.

After the victory, he said it would be his last fight. But he's said that before -- seven times, by his count. He says that, for the right money, he'd be happy to climb back into the ring again.

"As far as I'm concerned, this is it," he said. "I don't think anyone's going to offer me a lot of money."

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: