Before he retires, possibly this year, Larry Holmes wants to take care of a few things, such as defending his World Boxing Council heavyweight championship where his pro career started and making good on a promise to give Frenchman Lucien Rodriguez a title shot.
He'll do both today in a nationally televised (4 p.m., WRC-TV-4) scheduled 12-round bout in Watres Armory in Scranton, Pa. And, the unbeaten Holmes should have no trouble taking care of Rodriguez (35-7-1), the European heavyweight champion who is ranked ninth by the WBC.
The fight comes 10 years and six days after Holmes won his first pro fight--a four-round decision over Rodell Dupree--at Scranton's Catholic Youth Center. Today's bout, Holmes' 14th title defense, will be held at the larger armory, which seats 6,800.
"Money's not the issue in this fight," said Holmes, 41-0 with 30 knockouts. "This fight is for the people of Scranton. This is the homecoming fight."
George Kanter, Rodriguez's American representative, said Holmes met Rodriguez four years ago in Paris and told him, "You get up that ladder and I give you my word I'll meet you one day."
Rodriguez, 31, who will make $200,000 today, is the first Frenchman in 62 years to fight for the heavyweight title. The last was Georges Carpentier in 1921. He was knocked out in four rounds by Jack Dempsey.