The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - March 2, 1992 - Page 3
Former heavyweight champ
returns for another title shot
Larry Holmes left an indelible
mark on boxing during his years as
heavyweight champion of the world
with a remarkable lifetime record of
53-3. He has led a. somewhat ob-
scure life in recent years, though,
successfully managing his private
business. Now he has joined the
ranks of Jim Palmer, Guy LaFleur,
Mark Spitz and George Foreman as
supposedly over-the-hill athletic
greats trying to regain what time
and society's constraints have taken
away from him. The catch is, Holmes
can back up the talk which sur-
rounds his implausible comeback.
His second career already includes
a victory over 1988 Olympic gold
medalist and WBO heavyweight
champion Ray Mercer. The next step
for Holmes is a date with undisputed
champ Evander Holyfield. Brett
Forrest spoke with Holmes recently
about his remarkable comeback.
Daily: You have already had a
brilliant boxing career, enough ac-
tion for three men. You were
heavyweight champion of the world,
one of the all-time greats. You re-
tired, and now is the time for you to
be revered. Why are you making a
Holmes: There were some stones
* D: Such as ...
H: Such as me losing my title on
a fluke, so I wanted to come back
and regain it.
D: George Foreman has faced
many fighters during his comeback
whom most people would consider
"stiffs." He made a lot of money
prior to his title shot with Evander
Holyfield. I have heard you say that
you are in this for the money; why
not take the same road as Foreman,
instead of going for the title so soon?
H: Well, I think I'm a more seri-
ous person than George. I'm not
doing it just to be doing it. I think I
can become champion. I didn't want
to take that long route. I wanted to
just go right to it, to prove that I am
worthy and able to do it. And that's
why I took on the best heavyweight
D: How long have you been
training since you decided to make
H: Thirteen months.
D: How many fights have you
had during your comeback?
D: Do you find yourself training
more now, or when you were
H: No, I don't find myself train-
out punch more now than when you
were in your prime, because your
stamina isn't what it used to be?
H: I was looking for the knock-
out punch then. But if it doesn't
come, it doesn't come. I prepare
myself for whatever I have to do.
And if it goes the distance, it goes
the distance. I just want to win.
D: I know you have not sched-
general, and professional boxers in
particular, does the Mike Tyson
H: It doesn't have anything to do
with boxers. It doesn't have anything
to do with athletes. The only person
it has anything to do with is Mike
Tyson. He happened to be an athlete.
He happened to be a boxer. I don't
think it affects anyone else; it just
affects Mike Tyson. Because when
Mike Tyson goes to jail, I'm not
going with him.
D: Do you feel that Don King's
conflict of interest, in terms of his
being essentially a promoter trying
to manage a boxer, did any harm to
H:-Don King is a promoter. He's
going to try to promote anybody
who has promise, anybody he can
make a dollar on. That's his busi-
ness. By him being a promoter, a
businessman, he wants to promote
the best fighters out there he can, be-
cause that's how he makes his
D: What have you been doing
outside of boxing?
H: I've just been trying to run my
businesses, trying to get rid of the
ones that aren't doing well, trying to
make money with the ones that are
D: But now all your sights are set
on regaining the belt?
D: What happens if you beat
Holyfield? Where do you go from
H: Maybe take another fight and
retire. Maybe just retire. I don't
know yet. I'd just like to take it one
day at a time, play it by ear. I don't
know what I'm going to do. I could
say a lot of things, but things can
change. It all depends on the situa-
D: If you are not able to get a ti-
tle shot anytime soon, will you con-
tinue your comeback until you get
H: I'm not into that. I think I've
proven myself, and I don't have to
do that. If I don't get that shot by the
end of the year, I'm going to pack it
Larry Holmes (left) says his loss in this 1985 fight to Michael Spinks (right),
which cost him his heavyweight title, was a "fluke."
ing more now. I find myself just
staying in shape, because I don't feel
like I have to do it like I used to do
it. I'm older, I'm smarter. And I
don't burn the candle like I used to.
So I don't feel like I have to train
that way anymore.
D: I know you went the distance
with Ray Mercer. However, do you
find yourself looking for the knock-
uled a date with Holyfield yet. When
would you like to fight him?
H: Anytime. As soon as I can.
Editor's note: Since this inter-
view, Holmes and Holyfield have
agreed to fight June 19. Holyfield is
guaranteed $18 million, while
Holmes should take home $7 million.
D: In your opinion, what signifi-
cance for professional athletes in
Bob from Brooklyn
doesn't know Big Ten
There is a new debate in the world of sports journalism. It involves
New York Rangers beat writers and the Madison Square Garden cable
network, which broadcasts Rangers and Knicks games.
Recently, MSG began televising Ranger coach Roger Nielson's
postgame press conferences live. Now the writers are upset, arguing that
if fans can see Nielson speak after the game, they won't buy a newspaper
the next day to read his postgame comments.
That hockey writers think most New Yorkers buy newspapers to ac-
cess the reservoir of wisdom which Nielson imparts at these press confer-
ences is inane.
But this is New York, so it's not the most inane thing about this issue.
The night after the writers boycotted Nielson's press conference, a
talk-show host from WFAN radio, New York's 24-hour sports station, in-
vited listeners to speak their minds.
Seconds later, a caller came on the air. It was Bob from Brooklyn, a
devout Rangers fan who said he was happy to see the Rangers win the
Sensing Bob to be a valuable resource for sports commentary, the host
asked him if, after watching Nielson make his postgame remarks, he
would buy a newspaper.
Bob, foaming over his chance to speak, answered in an old-boy, bom-
"Well Howie, I'll tell ya," Bob said. "I'd love the opportunity to see
Roger (they were on a first-name basis) in his postgame press confer-
ences. But I would also want to buy a newspaper the next day to make
sure the reporters were quoting him accurately."
You always suspect that some people are imbeciles. You can live with
this suspicion, because you don't really know.
But when they confirm your suspicions, it's disheartening. My sympa-
thies go out to the hockey writer at Bob from Brooklyn's newspaper of
And with or without Bob from Brooklyn's morning verification ritual,
you've got to wonder about people who want to watch these press confer-
Only a handful of coaches in all of sports provide good entertainment
after a game. If you carry that percentage over to Big Ten basketball, it's
Of course, Indiana's Bob Knight is a perennial entertainer. He's ob-
noxious and contemptuous, but fun. And he preys on pesky writers who
ask questions that often aren't even questions.
For instance, after a game in Bloomington two years ago, Knight was
asked: "That 10-0 run in the second half really had to help you."
"Yeah," Knight replied sardonically. He paused amid laughter.
"Brilliant f---ing deduction."
He doesn't always use profanity, but it seems like he always wants to.
After Indiana beat Michigan at Crisler Arena last season, one writer asked
what keyed the victory.
"You guys, you always think there are keys to everything," Knight re-
torted. "There wasn't any key. We just scored more points than they did."
With Knight, fans would both tune in after the game and read the
newspapers the next day, but not to check the quotes for accuracy. They'd
want to see which papers printed the expletives.
But Knight is the only Big Ten coach who warrants a television audi-
ence at his press conferences.
Michigan State's Jud Heathcote is charismatic and good-humored; he
laughs at himself and encourages the laughter of others. Gene Keady
speaks matter-of-factly and is often more interesting to watch than a
Purdue basketball game. Win or lose, Clem Haskins thinks his Golden
Gophers are the greatest thing on hardwood since John Travolta. And
Randy Ayers speaks with a perfect balance of humility and confidence,
like he knows Ohio State is a great team, but doesn't want to offend the
older coaches in the conference.
But they rarely say anything that demands viewing instead of reading.
And televising one means televising them all, which includes Wisconsin
coach Steve Yoder.
Bill Foster is equally painful. After each Northwestern loss, Foster ex-
plains why his team lost. Injuries. Bad calls. Playing on the road. But
these excuses lose credence when they come from a man whose career
Big Ten coaching record is 9-95.
Then there is Steve Fisher. I remember Fisher's press conference after
Michigan beat Minnesota last season in a torturously boring game. Fisher
sat down, made a one-minute statement, and customarily asked, "Any
The room was silent. Maybe everyone was asleep. Maybe they didn't
want to have to listen to a reply. Either way, it was unbelievable that no
writer wanted a single quote from Fisher.
I wonder what Bob from Brooklyn would have done the next morning.
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Depleted spIk.ers complete successful trip
by Dan Linna
Daily Sports Writer
Injuries were the only low point in what was a
very successful road trip for the Michigan men's
volleyball team last week.
The Wolverines began the trip Saturday at the
Big G Collegiate Classic, hosted by undefeated
Graceland College (19-0).
Michigan lost to Iowa State in pool play but
bounced back to down Air Force. Next up was
Graceland, which had defeated the Wolverines
three weeks earlier in the Wolverine Collegiate
Classic. Michigan was out for revenge and the
Graceland winning streak came to an abrupt halt.
Graceland then defeated Iowa State, allowing
the Wolverines to gain the No. 1 seed out of their
"To beat a team like Graceland you have to
have everything clicking," sophomore Tony
Poshek said. "Sometimes you can win with good
blocking or good hitting, but when you are play-
ing a great team you need to be working on all
The Wolverines definitely had everything
clicking and co-captain Rico Latham said he
knew every set he put up, someone was going to
put it away.
"At one point Justin (MacLaurin) was hitting
the ball so hard he started to get purple spots on
his hand and he was saying, 'Look! I'm hitting
the ball so hard my hand is starting to bruise,"'
Michigan defeated Colorado State in the
semifinals to set up a rematch with Graceland,
which had advanced to the finals from its No. 2
This time it was Graceland's turn for revenge
as the Wolverines did all they could to keep the
match close while losing in two games, 15-10
Although the Wolverines fell short of winning
the tournament, coach Tom Johengen feels that it
was just another step in the development of a
good volleyball team.
"When you spend a whole day playing against
good teams you can't help but to get better,"
'Men's volleyball is very much
alive at some schools. Their
crowds were very loud and
into the game. I would like to
see us establish that here at
- Rico Latham
Johengen said. "(The players) proved to them-
selves that they can play against good teams like
Graceland and beat them. This experience could
be very helpful down the road."
Monday, Michigan ventured to Park College
to face an established varsity program. The
Wolverines jumped on Park early and held a two-
games-to-one advantage going into the fourth
game. With an 11-5 lead and Michigan looking
to close out the match, senior co-captain Keith
Baar went down with a sprained ankle.
The injury left the Wolverines with only six
players, causing lineup problems. The out-of-
whack rotation at one point had three middle.
blockers playing back row, leaving setter Latham
to control the middle. Michigan wasn't able to
rebound and lost the match in five games.
Michigan figured to be able to overcome the
loss of Baar when it traveled to Illinois State
Wednesday to face a Redbird team that didn't
figure to give the Wolverines any problems.
However, with the Michigan team now down to
only six players, problems arose when Chad
Stielstra became sick.
Not wanting to forfeit the match, Stielstra
played but spent most of his time standing
around and at one point sat in the back corner
while his teammates were playing. Stielstra
would simply step off the court as soon as the
whistle blew on some occasions.
Although the Wolverines were basically play-
ing 5-on-6, they were able to down the Redbirds
in five games.
With Baar hobbling and Stielstra still ailing,
Michigan was forced to forfeit its last scheduled
stop at Notre Dame.
The team was disappointed to miss the last
match but felt that the road trip was a very pro-
ductive one. Latham was impressed by the big
crowds drawn at Park and Graceland.
"Men's volleyball is very much alive at some
schools," Latham said. "Their crowds were very
loud and into the game. I would like to see us
establish that here at Michigan."
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