At Holmes in the ring

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:55 PM ET

EDMONTON - Competition makes Dennis McKnight feel right at home.

Make that right at Holmes.

The Edmonton Eskimos running backs coach once went toe-to-toe with boxing great Larry Holmes — and lived to tell the tale.

“I used to train with boxers when I played in the league for my off-season conditioning,” said McKnight, whose NFL career as an offensive lineman lasted from 1982-92.

“One of the kids at this gym I trained at was a fighter who got hurt. He was in a coma, bad deal for a while.

“Larry Holmes came in with his own entourage. Did a big charity deal and boxed four different players for two rounds for charity, and paid for all the kid’s medical bills and everything.”

This is the part of the story where the fish keeps getting bigger with every telling.

“I went last. I was of course the only one who put him down. Twice,” McKnight said. “He was at the prime of his career, but that really started the downfall because I think that’s when he went on to lose to Michael Spinks.

“I probably am credited with ending the Easton Assassin’s career. But that’s another story.”

And another fish, no doubt. Just how long ago was this, anyway?

“That would have probably been 1983-84, it was a long time ago. But I think for wear and tear, I’m probably a little better off — not financially — than Larry is,”

McKnight smiled. “Let’s face it. It was all for charity — if you can read between the lines.”

There is one thing McKnight is sure about, and it’s not just how he uses the story to motivate his young trainees to compete to the best of their ability in camp.

“It was one of the shining moments in my life,” McKnight said. “(Holmes) was a quality human being. Great guy.”

gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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