Heavyweight legend Larry Holmes has heaped a ton of praise on new heavyweight star Anthony Joshua while at the same time he has surely annoyed a whole lot of Mike Tyson fans. Speaking recently and quoted by The Express, Holmes came out with the claim that prime-for-prime Joshua would KO Tyson.
Holmes, who famously came out of retirement to challenge an unbeaten (and unbeatable-looking) Tyson in 1988, being brutally KO’d in the fourth round, says Joshua would have “just hit him with a straight right hand on the side of his damn chin and Mike wouldn’t get up.”
“If he fought a guy like Mike Tyson, he would win,” Holmes said of current WBA/IBF champ Joshua. “He would have knocked out a prime Mike Tyson. There’s no reckon about it. 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. He never fought anyone who was coming up and trying to make their way in the sport. He just went in there – bang, bang, bang and knocked everyone out. That’s how he got the reputation as a puncher.”
Holmes, who is certainly highly critical-sounding of Tyson, also came out with the familiar, “I’m not taking anything away from Mike Tyson” line. Holmes admits how the one-time “Baddest Man on The Planet,” “kicked my ass, but I was out for two years.” But in any case, Tyson’s fans don’t point to their hero’s KO of Holmes as proof of his greatness, they point to his devastating wins over the likes of Michael Spinks, Trevor Berbick, Pinklon Thomas and Tyrell Biggs.
Tyson’s place in history is assured, even if, in more recent years, historians and other experts have lowered his position amongst the heavyweight greats a notch or two. Tyson was once looked at as an all-time great, now he is absent in a number of top-10 best ever lists. But Joshua is still to prove his worth in the opinion of most, being as he is a work in progress. What makes Holmes claim Joshua would have knocked out the peak Tyson; the blurringly fast, bobbing and weaving, hard to hit target that was also throwing lethal combos with bad intentions?
Would Joshua have even been able to tag Tyson with a clean shot, much less knock him cold the way Holmes suggests? Of course we will never know, but one thing we do know is this: Larry Holmes has stirred up a hornet’s nest of Mike Tyson fans!