IBF Heavyweight Champion

Holmes signed to fight Gerrie Coetzee, the WBA Champion, on June 15, 1984 at Caesar's Palace. The fight was being promoted by JPD Inc., but it was canceled when Caesar's Palace said the promoters failed to meet the financial conditions of the contract. Holmes was promised $13 million and Coetzee was promised $8 million. Even after cutting the purses dramatically, they still couldn't come up with enough financial backing to stage the fight.[18] Don King then planned to promote the fight, but Holmes lost a lawsuit filed by Virginia attorney Richard Hirschfeld, who said he had a contract with Holmes that gave him right of first refusal on a Holmes-Coetzee bout. Holmes then decided to move on and fight someone else.[19] On November 9, 1984, after a year out of the ring, Holmes made his first defense of the IBF title, stopping James "Bonecrusher" Smith on a cut in the twelfth round. In the first half of 1985, Holmes stopped David Bey in ten rounds for his 19th title defense. His next against Carl "The Truth" Williams was unexpectedly tough. The younger, quicker Williams was able to out-jab the aging champion, who was left with a badly swollen eye by the end of the bout. Holmes emerged with a close, and disputed, fifteen-round unanimous decision. On September 21, 1985, Holmes lost the IBF title by a close fifteen-round unanimous decision to Michael Spinks, who became the first reigning World Light Heavyweight Champion to win the World Heavyweight Championship. If Ho mes had been victorious against Spinks, he would have tied Rocky Marciano's career record of 49-0.[20] After the fight, a bitter Holmes said, "Rocky Marciano couldn't carry my jockstrap." Holmes received a lot of criticism for the remarks. Shortly afterward, he apologized.[21] Holmes had a rematch with Spinks on April 19, 1986. Spinks retained the title with a disputed fifteen-round split decision. The judges scored the fight: Judge Joe Cortez 144-141 (Holmes), Judge Frank Brunette 141-144 (Spinks) and Judge Jerry Roth 142-144 (Spinks.)[22] In a post-fight interview with HBO, Holmes said, "the judges, the referees and promoters can kiss me where the sun don't shine - and because we're on HBO, that's my big black behind."[23] On November 6, 1986, three days after his 37th birthday, Holmes announced his retirement. Gerhardus Christian Coetzee (born 8 April 1955 in Boksburg), better known as Gerrie Coetzee, is a South African former boxer.[1] He made history twice: he was the first boxer from the African continent ever to fight for, and win, a world heavyweight title (He held the WBA version of the championship between September 1983 and December 1984, losing the belt in his first defence). His nickname was The Bionic Hand, because he always had trouble with his right hand, and had a few corrective items put in it during three surgeries. His Afrikaans nickname was "Seer Handjies" or little sore hands, named so by fellow South African boxing great Kallie Knoetze.