Muhammad Ali - "The Betrayal"
It went far beyond savage. Dreadful and ghastly are the polite words. In the vernacular of the pugilistic jungle and that which is the dark side of our dysfunctional human equation using "betrayal" is probably the most apt description of what was rendered to Muhammad Ali. This fight was billed as "The Last Hurrah," but simply put...it was a vulgar event to anyone with even the faintest pulse.
How in the world could it possibly have taken place. This is the man who gave dignity to millions across the globe, the man who brought forth the new and right-minded consciousness of the modern day American. The impetus of the Anti Vietnam War movement and Black Freedom Struggle. The man who earned the name which translates to "Worthy of All Praises" and "Most High" was betrayed. After a lifetime of devotion to his family, associates, career, profession and all the goodness which he showed to humanity he was defamed, cheapened, debased and humiliated, all within 30 minutes of the tick of the clock; 10 rounds. The ignorant and uninformed were handed ammunition to refute Muhammad Ali as an American Icon and in him being "The Greatest of All Time." As a professional fighter Muhammad Ali, for the first time ever, was "not worthy" to compete. This fight was totally unnecessary and should have never received "lift-off" status.
No one owns-up; no one has taken responsibility for the atrocity that happened to Ali that October night of 1980. Who is to be charged with this disgrace, which I refer to as "The Ultimate Betrayal?"
Though it's now a distant memory of over 30 years, I feel compelled to search the archives still. I intend to answer my own questions and thoughts of such a disconcerting deed as this fight was. Muhammad Ali was given only a pittance of the loyalty he deserved from his inner-circle. In this essay my notebook reveals those who are liable, including Ali, who left himself vulnerable to the realms of the cruel and the diabolical.
The Fight - October 2nd, 1980 - a Sad and One-Sided Affair
Ali threw one punch during the first 2 rounds. Holmes, the HW Champ and 36-0, age 30, had previously defended his title 7 times winning all by KO, wanted to KO Ali early and spare him the brutal punishment of a prolonged fight. In spite of Ali's terrible physical condition and the fact that Ali threw fewer than 25 significant punches through 10 rounds the "Easton Assassin" couldn't take him out. Ali was punchless and defenseless, though he proved, if only to himself, that he truly was the Real Man of Steel (in his entire career he was never counted out, he never quit and was never cut, this fight being his sole TKO/he hit the canvas several times though in all instances I believe he was up and ready to fight b/4 the count of four). He endured until Dundee refused to allow him to answer the bell for round 11. But the damage, the violation and the Ultimate Betrayal of Ali was already thoroughly complete.
Antagonists of Ruin
1.) The Nevada State Athletic Commission
Two weeks before the Holmes fight this assemblage of "nitwits and thieves" (my tag) demanded Ali take some tests at the Mayo Clinic. The Mayo reported that Ali had trouble touching his finger to his nose, showed little ability in hopping from side to side and had great difficulty using his vocal muscles for speech clarity. Additionally, they reported he had significant short-term memory loss. NOTE: This testing was all before the Holmes fight. Yet they sanctioned the fight and licensed Ali to continue boxing. "Nitwits and Thieves" I say. The Commission never made the report public.
GUILTY AS CHARGED: 5***** Stars of 5
2.) Larry Holmes
Holmes was a man of great natural intellect and intuition. In my opinion he is among the most underrated fighters in the history of the sport. Four years before Tyson actually visited the slammer for his Desiree Washington rape convivtion he stated that Tyson would do time in prison. He is also on record saying that Ali was the best to ever enter the ring. Ali used Holmes earlier in his career as a sparing partner. To the credit of Holmes, and as proof of my estimation in his raw intelligence, Holmes held Ali as his idol and mentor. However, I cannot afford him full vindication.
GUILTY AS CHARGED: 1* Star of 5
3.) The Fans
Ali made us BELIEVE IN MIRACLES. I witnessed each and every one. He SHOOK the World. He taught us, and more than just one generation how to "Fight," how to "Think" and how to "Live." He lost 30 lbs, for the Holmes fight. We had no reason to believe there wasn't another miracle that awaited us in an Ali victory.
GUILTY AS CHARGED: 3*** Stars of 5
4.) Angelo Dundee
Angelo should be given just an iota of credit for stopping the fight at the end of round 10, but absolutely nothing else. As Ali's trainer from the start no one knew his athletic prowess or his physical frailty any better. A smart man he is indeed, and arguably the best of all trainers (15 World Champions). He was keenly aware of Ali's decline. The report was that he openly discussed Ali's slowness in speech and loss of agility with other members of the Ali entourage. I have no answer as to why he allowed the Holmes fight to take place, thus disgracing himself and Ali. Dundee accepted yet another fight; the reasons unknown and opaque to me. The Ali vs. Burbick fight would be another loss and the last of Ali's fights. Dundee would continue training, those great and gifted fighters in his post Ali era stable, many of whom emulated Ali, include Sugar Ray Leonard, Pinklon Thomas and (consulted) Oscar De La Hoya. Oh by the way...he kept on earning a spectacular income (yes, that part peeves me to no small degree). It is my most humble opinion that this SOB's professional conduct with regard to the Holmes fight was nothing short of shameful, disreputable and dishonorable. Reluctantly I allowed him the 0.10% pt. for stopping the fight when he did, though if I had any say in the matter..."UNDERWHELMING in 1980" would have been prominently placed on his tombstone.
GUILTY AS CHARGED: 4.90***** Stars of 5
5.) The Almighty Dollar
Ali was offered 8 million American. Holmes two million. It's the American way; noble to pursue that dollar to the very last.
GUILTY AS CHARGED: 1* Star of 5
6.) The Referee
His name was Richard Green. He had the capacity to stop the fight at any time, though he lacked courage in the presence of Ali's Greatness. He was not going down in the history books as the man who denied the GOAT his claim to immortality. His professional conduct falls in those realms I mentioned earlier in the Overview...cruel and diabolical.
GUILTY AS CHARGED: 5***** Stars
7,) Muhammad Ali
His business manager, Gene Kilroy, came to Ali a couple of days before the Holmes fight and told Ali that he was going to bet $40,000 on him to win. Ali said, "something is not right with my body...don't do it." However, Ali had performed 2 miracles in the past (Liston and Foreman) and was of the mindset that, indeed, he was the GOAT and totally invincible. So he refused to cancel the fight, but would not condone the bet.
To understand the view he took of himself I recommend reading another HUB of mine, "The Assassination of Muhammad Ali." There you can assimilate the power he possessed in his "Mental Abilities," they are the Intangible Strengths (learn and transfer them to your own mindset and then to those you mentor, they are another invaluable gift from Ali)...visit http://royalwaldorf.hubpages.com/hub/httproyalwaldorfhubpagescomhubMuhammad-Ali-Hero-Worship-if-the-Highest-Order).
GUILTY AS CHARGED: 3.5**** Stars of 5
The Most Guilty - You Decide
Who rendered Ali the most egregious betrayal?
The Hippocratic Oath and Lone Protagonist
"Everyone involved in this fight should be brought up on criminal charges."
- Dr. Ferdie Pacheco
a.k.a. "The Fight Dr."
Ali's personal and ringside physician
- THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH SUMMARY
Doctors take the oath to basically...
- Respect your teachers
- Pledge your life to the service of others
- Place your patients interests before your own
- Protect your patients from harm & injustice
- Treat all patients equally
- Respect patient’s right to make decisions
- Continue to improve the care you give
- Do not become intimate with patients
- Try to prevent as well as cure disease
- Protect your patients’ confidentiality
- Impart your medical knowledge to others
From 1962 thru 1977 Dr. Ferdie Pacheco literally had Ali's life in his hands. He was the most loyal to Ali, he stood as a courageous lion and was certainly the wisest of all Ali's confidants. After the Frazier vs. Ali fight (#3/The Thrilla in Manila) he advised Ali to quit boxing altogether noting his slowness of speech and the advancing loss of agility. Ali moved ahead with his career, but Pacheco left the Ali camp forever because of this. While Ali was training in Vegas for the Holmes fight Pacheco was called to advise on Ali's inability to climb the 4 steps of the ring stairs for a pre-fight workout. Pacheco would refuse to see Ali because he couldn't stomach seeing Ali in that condition, demanding to the Ali camp that he must not be allowed to fight ever again. The Honorable Dr. Pacheco's professional conduct should be rated as exceptional, stellar and of values in the Highest Order. He stands as an equal Champion in his field as Ali was in his. None better.
It happened and it's over; only a tidbit in the annals of history now. It's been well beyond 30 years, but God Damn It, I cannot erase it from my memory. There is very little peace in any analysis of it. As a disciple of Muhammad Ali, I cannot, I will not rest while any phase of his Greatness is not viewed as "DISTINGUISHED."
To the end Ali will be Worthy of All Praises and Most High.