Judges' decision: Holmes in Hall

Boxing

December 12, 2007

CANASTOTA, N.Y. -- He has a resume that could stand beside the greatest in his sport. Yet, Larry Holmes always seemed to have to justify himself as a champion.

There was no need for explanations yesterday.

Holmes received the ultimate validation when he was selected to be in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Joining him in the 2008 class were 11 other boxers and ring personalities chosen by members of the Boxing Writers Association and a panel of international boxing historians.

He will be enshrined as the longest reigning world heavyweight champion in history, holding the title for nearly seven years (1978-1985). His 20 successful title defenses were surpassed by only Joe Louis with 25. He was on the verge of matching Rocky Marciano's perfect 49-0 mark when he was upset by Michael Spinks.

"I think there were some people who shortchanged me ... not the fans," Holmes, who is 58 but just five years removed from his last fight, said by telephone from his business office in Easton, Pa. "Sometimes the critics try to make you think you are less than what you are.

"I feel good about myself. I'm not going to let people put me down. I worked hard. I worked hard."

Holmes, who has a record of 69-6 with 44 knockouts, will be inducted June 8 along with junior welterweight champion Eddie Perkins. Middleweight Holman Williams will be inducted posthumously. All three are in the Hall's modern-era category. Middleweights Len Harvey and Frank Klaus, and welterweight Harry Lewis were honored in the old-timer category, and 19th-century Irish heavyweight Dan Donnelly was in the pioneer class.

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