Holmes among Hall of Fame inductees

Dec 11, 2007 - 7:35 PM CANASTOTA, New York (Ticker) -- Former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes headlined the International Boxing Hall of Fame's 2008 class of inductees, which was announced Tuesday.

The 19th annual Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony is scheduled for June 8.

"It's a tremendous honor, because so many great athletes are already in the Hall of Fame, and it's an honor to be among that group," Holmes said. "It's a pleasure for me to be among the greatest fighters of our world."

The 58-year-old Holmes (69-6, 44 KOs) won his first 48 professional fights, falling just one short of matching Rocky Marciano's all-time boxing record of 49 consecutive wins to start a boxing career.

An Easton, Pennsylvania native, Holmes fell shy of Marciano's mark when he lost a close and controversial unanimous decision to Michael Spinks on September 21, 1985 in an IBF heavyweight title bout.

Holmes won the WBC heavyweight title from Ken Norton with a split-decision victory on June 9, 1978, and made 17 successful title defenses, including wins over Muhammad Ali, Leon Spinks and Gerry Cooney.

Holmes vacated the WBC title for the newly-formed IBF crown and made three defenses before losing to Michael Spinks.

On April 19, 1986, Holmes lost a rematch with Michael Spinks by a disputed split decision and retired from the sport.

Holmes was lured out of retirement in 1988 by a $3 million purse to challenge reigning undisputed world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

Tyson knocked out the 38-year-old Holmes in the fourth round, the first and only time Holmes was knocked out in his lengthy career.

Holmes ended another retirement in 1990, then two years later upset undefeated 1988 Olympic heavyweight champion Ray Mercer. Later that year, Holmes got another shot at the undisputed title, losing a 12-round decision to Evander Holyfield.

Holmes' last title shot was in 1995. At the age of 45, Holmes came within one point on two cards of winning the WBC title from Oliver McCall.

Joining Holmes as living inductees were junior welterweight champion Eddie Perkins, Danish promoter Mogens Palle, British promoter Frank Warren, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dave Anderson and Japanese journalist Joe Koizumi.

"We're extremely excited about the Class of 2008 and very much looking forward to honoring the 19th class of inductees," Boxing Hall of Fame executive director Edward Brophy said. "All living inductees are anticipated to attend and participate in 2008 Hall of Fame Weekend festivities."

The Hall of Fame also released names of posthumous honorees, including middleweight Holman Williams in the modern category, light heavyweight Len Harvey, middleweight Frank Klaus and welterweight Harry Lewis in the old-timer category.

Also to be posthumously inducted is trainer Bill Gore in the non-participant category and Dan Donnelly in the pioneer category.

Inductees were voted in by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.

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