Exclusive: Holmes sees similarities in boxing and drag racing
By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
Boxing legend Larry Holmes attended his first NHRA event at the Mopar Express Lane NHRA Nationals presented by Pennzoil on Saturday, Sept. 14 at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania. He was an invited guest of Cruz Pedregon Racing.
“He changed my thoughts on what a lot of people do in racing,” Holmes said, who represented his Heart of a Legend Foundation at the track. “It’s great and fantastic to be here. I never thought I would experience the people, the noise, the cars, the mechanics — you have everything right here and everybody’s working together. I wish people would take notes of this and learn from it.”
Pedregon went 3.979 at 328.22 mph during the third qualifying session with Holmes looking on. Following the pass, Holmes did an interview with NHRA’s Joe Costello.
The Snap-On Tools Funny Car pilot also went 3.981 at 323.27 mph in the fourth qualifying pass later in the day.
“It’s mindboggling,” he said. “We would run an 1/8th of a mile and a quarter of a mile. They do it like there’s nothing to it. It would take us 13-16 seconds to get down the quarter mile, but it takes these guys 3-4 seconds.”
Holmes admitted that he does follow racing on TV. He said he’s been following it for a long time.
“I know Mario Andretti, but he’s a different kind of racer,” the former heavyweight champion said. “We live close by them (Andretti lives in Nazareth, Pennsylvania). That’s maybe a mile or two from me. This is not my first rodeo, but it’s my first rodeo being around these types of cars. It’s amazing to be around these types of cars.”
The Easton, Pennsylvania native went 69-6 in his boxing career. He also had 44 knockouts in 75 career bouts. He had a knockout rate of 58.67%.
He says he sees a lot of similarities in boxing as in racing.
“It’s the same,” Holmes said. “If you don’t have teammates telling you what to do and how to do it, you lose. These people don’t get no recognition, but they win and lose together. Same thing in boxing. If they tell me to throw a right hand and I throw a left, I might get knocked out.”