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From the time he turned pro in 1973 at the age of 24, it was never easy for Larry Holmes. He started late and while he was fine tuning his craft, the likes of Ali, Frazier, Norton and Foreman were already in the midst of making their claim on greatness. Holmes would get the chance to step into the ring with some of these greats in their prime, unfortunately for us it was during sparring sessions. Those who saw Holmes during those sessions knew greatness was a possiblity for the young Holmes.
As the Ali era started coming to an end, the Larry Holmes era was ready to begin. Ali retired and the title was handed to Kenny Norton in 1978. At that point, Holmes had put together an impressive 26-0 record and was given the opportunity to fight The Acorn, Earnie Shavers in the WBC Title Eliminator fight. The winner would be Ken Norton's first Title defense. When describing Shaver's punching power in later years, Holmes said, " I can still see flashes, like a camera flash, when Shavers hit me." On this night however, Holmes showed no signs that the power of Shavers effected him. He won a lopsided decision in 12 rounds to set up what would be the beginning of a new era in the Heavyweight division.