Mike Tyson vs. Larry Holmes, billed as “Heavyweight History”, was a professional boxing match contested on January 22, 1988, for the WBA, WBC and IBF Heavyweight Championships.
After winning all four of his championship bouts in 1987, Tyson’s promoter Don King organized a “dream match” with former WBC and IBF Heavyweight champion Larry Holmes. The 38-year-old Holmes had been out of boxing for nearly two years, having retired after two consecutive losses to Michael Spinks. Holmes had difficulty working out a deal with King. However, with an estimated $3 million being offered to him, as well as the intrigue of once again becoming the Heavyweight champion, Holmes ultimately agreed to face Tyson stating, “They stole my title, and I had to come back.
Despite his brazen claims, Holmes had difficulty keeping up with the younger, faster and stronger Tyson. Like many of the fighters who challenged Tyson in the past, Holmes often held Tyson in an effort to slow the aggressive Tyson down. In round 4, Holmes started off well, hitting Tyson several times with his left jab. As the round went on, however, Tyson would continue to attack Holmes, getting him up against the ropes and landing a right hand to the side of Holmes’ head a minute into the round. After the exchange, Tyson would continue to be aggressive, causing Holmes to hold Tyson twice more. After referee Joe Cortez broke the second hold, Tyson hit Holmes with a left jab–right hand combination that sent Holmes to canvas. Holmes was able to get back up but was immediately met with a furious combination from Tyson, who knocked Holmes down for the second time with a right hook to the head. Holmes stumbled back to his feet and was able to answer the referee’s count at 8. Tyson would continue to hammer Holmes powerful combinations until finally delivering the final blow with seven seconds left in the round, a right hook that dropped Holmes for the third time in the round, after which Cortez stopped the fight and awarded Tyson the victory by technical knockout.