Larry Holmes’ Crazy Side: Recalling The Berbick Brawl And The ‘Limousine Leap’

By James Slater - 04/12/2023 - Comments

Larry Holmes didn’t like Trevor Berbick, Not one bit. Not before his 15 round title defence against Berbick in 1981, not during the fight, and for sure not after it. In fact, not ever. Holmes, a truly great fighter, had his wild side, and Berbick brought it out.

Rewind to April of 1991, and 41 year old Holmes was launching a comeback. Returning to the ring for the first time since his four round hammering at the hands of Mike Tyson, Holmes fought journeyman Tim “Doc” Anderson. The fight, held at The Diplomat in Hollywood, Florida, wasn’t much of a fight, with Holmes getting the stoppage win in the opening round.

But there was plenty of drama to come. Drama on a surreal scale.

Watching the comeback fight at the back of the arena was 36 year old Berbick, who was coming off a stoppage win over Bobby Crabtree the previous December (also held at The Diplomat). Berbick was angling for a rematch with Holmes, the bad blood still there from the 1981 fight. Holmes, though, hated Berbick too much to grant him another payday.

Berbick, who had been accused of raping his babysitter and had been arrested for kidnapping his own daughter, was in dire need of cash. The former WBC heavyweight champ, who is best remembered for being knocked dizzy by a young Mike Tyson, saw a Holmes rematch as his ticket. But Homes said no way.

“He’s not getting a fight – I beat him once, won every round and I don’t like his attitude.” a bitter Holmes said at the post-fight presser after beating Anderson.

Berbick was silent, until Larry left for his room. Then Trevor started in on Holmes, accusing him of some crazy stuff that he claimed broke up his marriage.

“The hate for me is all about Jenny from Jacksonville,” Berbick bellowed. “She broke up my marriage and that is because of him [Holmes]. She is his sweetheart and I can prove it. I got proof and tapes. All the problems I have are through him.”

This tale of a complicated love story from Berbick reached Holmes as he sat in his hotel room, and back came Larry, storming and in an absolute rage. Holmes confronted Berbick in the hotel lobby and punches were exchanged, the brawl spilling outside. Police officers separated the two ageing warriors. But then the real fun began.

With Berbick escorted outside and now standing at the back of a limousine, the press following up on the juicy story, Holmes suddenly reappeared from out of nowhere. Holmes jumped onto the roof of the limo and then, with all his might, the former heavyweight champion of the world launched himself at his target, feet first! Holmes’ size 12’s crashed smack, bang into the middle of Berbick’s chest and down he went, the cameras rolling.

Holmes, wanting very much to inflict further damage on Berbick, had to be subdued by the cops and, quite amazingly, no arrests were made that wild and crazy night. Holmes and Berbick never did fight again, although with the publicity their brawl, or brawls, drew (and there is no such thing as bad pub, right!) a rematch would likely have sold quite a few tickets. But the dislike never left Holmes, not even after Berbick was dead.

Berbick was murdered in October of 2006, this in the grounds of his church in Jamaica, by his own nephew and an accomplice; Berbick killed by crowbar and pipe blows to the head. When speaking about this, Holmes was unmoved, telling VLADTV how he never liked Berbick.

“I did not like him,” Holmes said of Berbick. He had no respect for me or for my wife. I beat him up (in 1981). He didn’t win one round. I slapped him to death! I don’t feel bad for him [being killed]. God don’t like ugly. You do ugly to people, it’ll come back to you. God don’t like ugly and he was ugly. He’d beat anybody, he’d beat his daughter. Let me forget about that guy, he’s a sore subject. His soul is resting – I don’t know if it’s in peace or not – but it’s resting.”