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Punching Above your Weight

Working Lunch with Larry Holmes

(Speaking Topics for Corporate Events)

Heavyweight champ LARRY HOLMES and I were having lunch.
“So you want me to talk about ...computers? I don’t really know much about them…”
“No Champ, you just talk about what made you the Heavyweight Champion of the world -

Heavyweight champ Larry Holmes and I were having lunch. 

It was 2001, and I was the Division Productivity Manager at EMC, looking for a big-name speaker at our company’s next big sales conference in NYC.

Larry Holmes had held the world Heavyweight Boxing title for 7 big years from 1978-1985, and is most known as the the world’s #1 - coming after the Muhammad Ali era ended and before the Mike Tyson era started. 

We were in Easton PA in a little joint just around the corner from his office. He ordered the ribeye sandwich medium rare with a double order of fries, and I picked the grilled chicken on focaccia. Mimi, his lawyer, a nicely dressed 40-year-old lady ordered an avocado vegetable medley also on focaccia.

(Hmmm I thought, a little pub in Easton PA actually has focaccia bread… This I gotta try:) )

After conversation over our great mutual interest of boxing and his casual approval of my proud 71 amateur & pro (for charity) wins at the middleweights, he dug into the ribeye - and between bites said,

“So you want me to talk about ...computers? I don’t really know much about them…”

I cracked you smile and responded, 

“Champ, you just talk about what made you the heavyweight champion of the world - and I guarantee the crowd of sales leaders is going to love it...”

“You think?”

“100%, Champ - you tell them about your hard work in the ring, and they’ll get it.”

Sales guys love to hear from former athletes..

Mimi set down her avocado and glanced at me across the table, and then back at Larry,


“I bet you’re the only heavyweight champ who even has a laptop…”

(Oh jeez we were still talking about computers - I was talking about leadership)

You think?

Without looking up Larry Holmes reached for the cell phone on his belt and pushed one speed dial button and waited for it to answer.


hey man, you got a computer? 

Oh… Oh yeah? …

Uh Huh ..


And with that he hung up and replaced the phone on his belt… He apparently had former heavyweight contender Jerry Cooney of Bayonne NJ on speed dial, and without greeting or goodbye had simply inquired about his tech prowess and then hung up.

Astonished we looked to the former heavyweight champ awaiting a report as he took another forkful of the almost sizzling ribeye… In between bites he noticed we were waiting for an answer and simply replied,

“He don’t... but his wife do.”



  • Showcase strengths  

  • Highlight your people’s best attributes 

  • Use star power 

  • Find the best in someone

  • Put your people in the Comfort zone

..stay tuned for Brotherhood at Ground Zero - coming up next!


Leadership Consulting

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Captain Joe Sacchetti served 2 tours in Iraq, commanding Ranger Scouts in the 82nd Abn & earning the Bronze Star Medal.

MIT's Exec Ed program in Strategy & Innovation teaches senior Business Managers to think like Leaders. me @

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