Norton Vs Holmes-Mar 23rd, 1979
This fight was for Ken Norton's WBC Title which he had won with a decision victory over Jimmy Young. Ken Norton had finally won his title when Leon Spinks would not fight Norton, so the WBC stripped him of his title. Ken Norton had fought for the title twice in his career and lost both times, once controversially, against Muhammad Ali and once brutally to George Foreman. Norton had a record of 40-4 with 32 knockouts. He had just beaten Young, Lorenzo Zanon and Duane Bobick. Larry Holmes was undefeated with a record of 27-0 with 19 KO's. He was an excellent boxer who had gained notoriety with a win over Earnie Shavers in an elimination bout to fight for the title. Before this Holmes had beaten Fred Houpe and Ibar Arrington. Let's see how this classic Title fight turned out.

Here's the fight as I saw it.-Green are the round scores as I scored it, red is important text like a cut, great punch or knockdown.

Round 1- Both fighters come out jabbing and measuring each others style. Holmes more busy at the beginning of the round but takes a nice left hook from Norton. The action speeds up at the end of the round with both fighters doing a little, Norton landing the harder punches. Norton's Round- 10-9

Round 2- Holmes backing slowly and missing jabs. Holmes then lands a couple nice jabs from long range. Larry lands an uppercut and is pooping the jab. Norton not able to get close enough to do any damage this round. Holmes Round- 10-9  (19-19) even

Round 3- Holmes is using that piston like jab incredibly well. Norton is trying to get his own jab going and lands a couple of his own. Norton is getting a little closer to Holmes, but is still taking many more shots then he is giving. Holmes Round- 10-9  (29-28) Holmes

Round 4- Norton with a good left to start the round. He's still having trouble getting in though. Holmes with a popping, quick jab that snaps back Norton's head. Holmes lands a good quick combination and is outworking Norton still. Holmes Round- 10-9  (39-37) Holmes

Round 5- Holmes with quick shots and Norton is still not getting off yet. Norton looks slow so far. Nice right from Norton, his best punch of the fight so far. They are trading in the center of the ring as Holmes dances on his toes the last 30 seconds. Holmes Round- 10-9  (49-46) Holmes

Round 6- Holmes and Norton exchanging jabs. Norton pours in and misses wildly, he's trying harder to get in now. Norton lands a nice right and Holmes dances away with jabs. Close round.
Even Round- 10-10  (59-56) Holmes

Round 7- Holmes moving back, taking some jabs, but giving good ones. Norton still having trouble getting inside on Larry. Norton lands a couple body punches, but is still being outworked form a long distance by the quick Holmes. Holmes Round- 10-9  (69-65) Holmes

Round 8- Holmes lands 3 nice rights to start the round. Norton is starting to get inside a little more. Norton lands a nice left hook and jabs then lands a nice right hand to Holmes jaw. The tide seems to be turning all of a sudden and Norton is moving in fast. Holmes his on his toes but being out jabbed now. Holmes a cut in his mouth and Norton has a swelling eye. Norton's Round- 10-9  (78-75) Holmes

Round 9- Norton is jabbing well, but Holmes is jabbing nicely too. Norton digs with a couple body shots, but Holmes is slipping punches well this round. Holmes lands two good rights and Norton lands a good right and then another. Even Round- 10-10  (88-85) Holmes

Round 10- They are exchanging jabs, with Norton now getting the better of it. Holmes is on his toes again but Norton is landing well and pushing the action. Nice right from Holmes followed by a crisp Norton body shot. Norton's Round- 10-9  (97-95) Holmes

Round 11- Norton coming forward and using the jab. Body shots from Ken as he is really pressing the pace now. Holmes backing up and jabbing. Norton lands a left hook, that punch is working better now. Norton finishes the round with a good left hook, straight right combination.
Norton's Round 10-9  (106-105) Holmes

Round 12- They use jabs in the center of the ring. Norton going to the body well and Holmes lands a right. Holmes lands two nice rights but takes some big body shots as Norton is really going to the body well now. Good round. Norton's Round- 10-9  (115-115) even

Round 13- Good left from Holmes he's doing better here early. Norton seems to be slowing a little and getting hit more. Holmes with a good right as Norton comes forward. Holmes landing big shots, Norton seems stunned and Norton is taking a lot of punishment as the bell rings.
Holmes Round- 10-9  (125-124) Holmes

Round 14- Norton jabbing, but he looks slower now. Norton still carrying the action here early in this round, as Holmes slows as well. Norton landing well here but eats a right from Larry. Norton lands some big shots and Holmes is in the corner and looks dazed, Norton having a real good round and finishes with big shots to Holmes head and body. Norton's Round- 10-9  (134-134) even

Round 15- They are exchanging jabs. Norton lands a big right and keeps jabbing. Holmes lands some quick shots but is buckled by a big Norton left hook. Big shots from both fighters, THEY ARE EXCHANGING HUGE SHOTS IN THE CENTER OF THE RING!!!! This is a classic round. Norton doing a little more damage and he knocks out Holmes mouthpiece. Big uppercut form Holmes in the last 20 seconds sends Norton reeling a bit, Norton working to the body to end the round. What a round. it was very close, but Norton had the action his way for 2:30 of the round.
Norton's Round- 10-9  (144-143) Norton is my decision.

Official Decision- 143-142 Holmes
                          143-142 Norton
                          143-142 Holmes   Larry Holmes wins the title by split decision
Holmes-S Dec 15

This fight was so close that I could see it going either way. So many rounds were close and tough to call. The decision going to Holmes was not how I scored it, but a case could be made easily for either man. The 15th round in this fight was one of the best rounds in history with both men taking and giving each others best shots. Larry Holmes would go on to make a lot of title defenses including battles with Earnie Shavers and Muhammad Ali. Ken Norton was near the end of his career. He would fight Earnie Shavers two fights later, and would not be in a title fight again. This was one of the best fights of any I watched. Norton and Holmes played out a lot like Norton and Ali, and those fights were great too. Styles make fights and these styles would make for a great one every time.