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BOXING LEGEND LARRY HOLMES VISITS HOMELESS AID BARBER
 

Star date: 20th November 2016

LARRY HOLMES IS A KNOCK OUT WITH HOMELESS HAIRCUT SAVIOUR

American boxing legend, Larry Holmes, paid a flying visit to Ged King's Skullfades barbershop yesterday to salute the work he does cutting the hair of the homeless.

Larry Holmes laughed and joked with customers during the surprise visit to boxing fan Ged… "It's good that a young guy like that is thinking about people and not just about himself" Larry told the Salford Star, before talking about fights with Mohammed Ali and Mike Tyson..."Tyson?" he laughed "Give me three and a half million dollars and I'll fight him again today!"

Full details and interview here…


Larry Holmes Visits Skullfades Larry Holmes Visits Skullfades Larry Holmes Visits Skullfades
Larry Holmes Visits Skullfades Larry Holmes Visits Skullfades Larry Holmes Visits Skullfades
click image to enlarge

Barber Ged King has two passions in life – using his skill to cut the hair of the homeless, and boxing. So yesterday, friends from Salford and elsewhere arranged for boxing legend Larry Holmes to visit Ged's Skullfades barbershop in Sale as a kind of `thank you' for his great work.

Ged has been going out on the streets and into hostels for around six months and, as word spread about his good deeds, people have been donating cash and goods for him to distribute to the homeless. So now, the Skullfades Foundation has been created which will soon become a charity.

"We've got people bringing sleeping bags in and warm gear and they like to get involved and do their bit" Ged explained "This is real people helping real people. No-one's taking a wage, so all the money is going where it needs to go. We do requests, so if I've cut someone's hair and he says he needs a sleeping bag I'll get it.

"It all started years ago when I saw an old retired barber in America who spends his time going out on the streets and it just inspired me" he recalled "I've always sympathised and helped the homeless community but when I saw that video I thought `That's my ticket to do more and to get involved'.

"Since then I've been learning my own trade, built this place up and it's a busy shop so I have more time to give back as the shop runs itself" he added "And what better way to do it?"

Skullfades itself is festooned with photos of the boxing greats and as Larry Holmes walked in yesterday, customers, staff and Ged were totally knocked out.

Despite his total legendary status, Larry had time for everyone, chatting and cracking jokes with customers and staff, signing autographs, posing for photos and talking to Ged about the work he and his helpers do on the streets.

"It's good that a young guy like that is thinking about people and not just about himself" Larry told the Salford Star "It's kind of weird for young people to think like that but it's great that he does."

Larry himself was brought up in Easton, Pennsylvania, with his family surviving on welfare, and while at Skullfades he told of getting paid as little as $60 for fights in his early career. He then went onto massive success, with twenty successful world title defences, also becoming one of only five boxers ever to beat Muhammad Ali, and the only one ever to have stopped him.

"It was terrible" he told the Salford Star "because he was my friend and if you didn't win you could never fight and if you win, well…

"When I beat him a lot of people said he was too old but I knew him well because I was his sparring partner for four years and I got to hang out with him" he added "I came here with him, went to Africa and the Philippines with him, so I knew how he fought, and I knew I could beat him because I was faster than he was. I watched him and I learned what he could do and what he couldn't…"

And then there was the Mike Tyson fight as Larry tried to make a comeback for the world title in 1988, with Tyson putting him on the canvas three times…

"Tyson was an accident, I slipped" he quipped "When they say he knocked me down, I slipped, yeah, and I got up and I slipped again…got up and slipped again…So I thought `To hell with that I won't get up no more'...

"Mike Tyson was tough but you've got to remember something" he added "For two years I was off and did not fight. They come to me, offer me a lot of money to fight Mike Tyson and I said `Three and a half million dollars? Where's Mike? Let's go get him!' He beat me but I think if I had more time to get ready and train for the fight then it would be no problem.

"They gave me the time I needed to prepare but then took it away" he explained "Being off for two years you get rusty. I was with my band singing and hanging out, and then they come to my house offering me that money and I couldn't turn it down – Where is Mike? Give me three and a half million dollars and I'll fight him again, today!"

Larry's favourite fight was against Ken Norton, when he won the world heavyweight title in 1978, and en route to the title and during defences he fought some of the greatest names in boxing. Even though he never fought him, Larry is adamant that Joe Louis was the greatest of all, apart from himself, of course…

"My mum used to talk about Joe Louis and she didn't know much about boxing" he said "The night he died I had a fight in Las Vegas and they rushed him to the hospital right after, where he passed. He was a good friend of mine and outside of me he was the best. I got to hang out with a couple of other heavyweights but none like Joe Louis. He was a good guy."

Of his own legendary boxing status, Larry Holmes has no need to be modest. And, rightly so, he isn't…

"Everyone gets all the credit – you talk about George Foreman, Norton and Ali but I've been champion for longer than any of them" he explained "I had the title for seven and a half years; they had the title for seven and a half months or weeks, you know what I mean. I had 48 straight fights winning until Spinks - and they did a number on me but nevertheless I ended up with a record of 75 fights, just six losses, 44 knock outs…If I am not one of the greatest tell me who is…"

Certainly around Sale, Larry Holmes will now always be the greatest… "I still can't get my head around him coming here" said Ged "It doesn't feel real…"


To follow Ged's very real work on the streets see the Facebook page Skullfades Foundation

Photos by Gareth Lyons
Gareth L wrote
at 10:15:35 on 21 November 2016
Still on cloud nine. The chance to photo a boxing legend and what a nice guy he was. Brilliant story for the Skull fades team after their hard work.
 
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