This is a clip from one of the countless TV specials that have been dedicated to Muhammad Ali over the last 30 years. One of the brutal realities of boxing as a spectator sport, and for fans of the sport, is that eventually, you will watch your favorite fighters lose it. It's never pretty. This is a demanding, violent, often cringe-inducing profession.
But there may have never been a sadder exit from the sport, on such a massive level, with video evidence to relive painfully, than that of Muhammad Ali. This clip focuses on his fight with Larry Holmes in October 1980. Ali was, to be kind, a shell of his former self. He was nowhere near the man who had once ruled the ring.
[ Related: Ali Tribute Video From GP ]
Ali, of course, lost badly, and would lose badly again in another ill-advised comeback attempt in 1981 against Trevor Berbick. Ali did not win a single second of his fight with Holmes, who had the unfortunate and regrettable task of having to pummel a legend.
* * * * *
"I begged him -- begged him to quit. He said to me, 'I wanna show you something,' and he took his shirt off. It was absolutely mind-boggling. He looked exactly the way he looked when he fought Sonny Liston the first time. And I said, 'That doesn't prove anything, Muhammad.' And he said, 'Well, I fooled you then, and I'm gonna fool you tomorrow.' And I wish he had." -- Jerry Izenberg
"Then they rang the bell. And within a round, you knew it wasn't Ali." -- Ron Borges
"To watch him just get beaten up without putting up a fight -- he's just standing in a corner, just being beaten to a pulp. It brought tears to my eyes." -- Charley Steiner
"I remember sitting there at ringside, and Holmes shouting to the referee, 'Stop this! Stop it! I'm gonna hurt him!' And then boom, hitting him. I don't think Ali hit him five times all night. It was the saddest sports event I ever covered." -- John Schulian