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Today in Sports History: 4/11 – Larry Holmes Defeats Trevor Berbink on Decision

Today in sports history (1981), Larry Holmes defeated Trevor Berbink by unanimous decision. Holmes was in the midst of his prime, as he defended his heavyweight title against Berbink. Trevor Berbink came into this fight with 50-1 odds to win. Though this was the case, many viewed Berbink as a legitimate contender.

This was due to his knockout victory over WBS heavyweight John Tate. People were skeptical of Berbink due to him losing by way of knockout to the unknown Bernardo Mercado.

Larry Holmes Trevor Burbink
Credit: Getty Images

Larry Holmes Successfully Defends Heavyweight Title

The fight opened up fast. Berbink set the pace of the fight early, often taunting Holmes. This included shouting “C’mon baby,” while continuously dropping his hands and baiting Holmes. Even though Holmes landed punches, he went back to his corner after the first round, frustrated and irritated. In the second round, Berbink fought with an unorthodox style, throwing jabs at Holmes, who retaliated with a strong right hand that buckled Berbink. To everyone’s surprise, Berbink was not hurt. As the round came to a close, Berbink landed a right hand on Holmes that caused his head to snap back. Rounds three through five were littered with punches being traded and landed.

An uneventful round six led to a great round seven for Burbink. In the closing seconds of the seventh, Holmes was backed up into the corner. This caused both men to rapidly launch punches at each other. This even included some after the bell.

Going against expectations, Berbink was actually in contention in this fight. The next eventful part of the match came at the end of round nine. Berbink continued to mock and trash-talk Holmes. This led to a shove after the bell and an obviously mad and frustrated Holmes, who took over in rounds nine and 10, controlling the pace and tossing jabs left and right. Round 11 closed with both men once again landing powerful punches. Even though Berbink exceeded expectations, it seemed likely that in order to win the fight, he would need a knockout. This idea came to fruition in round 14. Berbink threw hay-maker after hay-maker in an attempt at a knockout.

In the final round, Berbink and Holmes both came out fast and strong. Berbink kept throwing powerful punches, but Holmes was able to defend a counter. Trevor Berbink refused to give up, and the fight ended with both men still standing. Larry Holmes was declared the victor on judges’ decision.


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