After defeating Leon Spinks to regain the WBA heavyweight title, Ali announced his retirement in June 1979. However on February 14, 1980, Ali told the Associated Press that he was 75 percent sure that he would return to the ring. On the 2nd of October of 1980, the legend, Muhammad Ali came out of retirement to fight his former sparring partner Larry Holmes in Las Vegas, Nevada with the fight estimated to have been watched by a record 2 billion worldwide.
Due to concerns for Ali’s health, the Nevada State Athletic Commission had the former champion examined at Minnesota’s Mayo Clinic as a prerequisite to being granted a boxing license. Ali checked into the clinic. His neurological exam was conducted and according to the report, Ali showed a slight degree of missing when he tried to touch his finger to his nose, he had difficulty in coordinating the muscles used in speaking, and he did not hop on one foot with expected agility. However, it was determined that there were no specific findings to prohibit Ali from fighting. The Mayo Clinic report was forwarded to the Nevada State Athletic Committee, but it was not made public at that time. Based on the report, Ali was granted a boxing license in Nevada. Ali weighed in at 217½ pounds, his lightest weight since he defeated George Foreman
The 38-year-old Muhammad Ali was past his prime and it showed as he fought. The wings of the butterfly were clipped by Holmes. Ali looked a mere shadow of his former self while Holmes was on his way to being crowned the new King of the Boxing Throne. He became the only boxer to end the fight against Ali before the gong and in his favor. Holmes dominated the fight and was given every round by all three judges. Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee had enough by the 10th round and ended the fight resulting in a TKO(technical knockout) win for Holmes.
It was revealed after the fight that Ali had been examined at the Mayo Clinic, and the results were shocking. He had admitted to tingling in his hands, and slurring of his speech. With the conclusiveness of Ali’s loss to Holmes and Ali’s worrying medical condition, it seemed incredible that he fought again.
The morning after the fight with Holmes was released, Ali had a phone call with veteran boxing coach Cus D’Amato. The phone call went something like this…
“How did you let this amateur beat you? He is an amateur Muhammad,
He is an awful boxer and I say that he is an amateur. Why did you let an
amateur to beat you down?” Shouted D’Amato and then he did a faithful act
“Hey, I have this young 14-year-old black kid with me. He is just a boy, but he’ll be a heavyweight world champion and his name is Mike Tyson. Please talk to him Muhammad and Tell him to do what I say.” and he handed the phone to Mike.
“I’m sorry about what happened to you,” said Mike
“I was sick” Ali replied “I took the medicine, it weakened me. So Holmes won.
I’ll get better, come back and beat him!”
“Don’t worry Champ, when I grow up, I’ll beat him for you.” said Mike crying on the phone.
Well to understand Mike’s relationship with Muhammad Ali you have to go back to the time when young Tyson was doing time in Panel Colony. He with a few other inmates were brought to an assembly hall, where he saw the movie ‘The Greatest of All Tim’ about Muhammad Ali. After the movie ended, everyone started to applaud and Ali himself stepped on the stage. He began to talk with the boys who could not believe what they were witnessing. It was then, young Mike Tyson made his mind to not just become a boxer but to be the greatest of all time.
Tyson made his professional debut as an 18-year-old defeating Hector Mercedes via first-round TKO. Just so you know what a beast Tyson was, he had 15 bouts in his first year as a professional. Fighting frequently, Tyson won 26 of his first 28 fights by KO or TKO; 16 of those came in the first round.
With 32 fights(winning all of them) out of which 28 were KO’s, Mike, the Undisputed Heavyweight Champion set his eyes on Larry Holmes for Ali’s Revenge. Mike had an upper hand coming into the fight as the 38-year-old Holmes was on the decline with 2 losses to his name.
January 22, 1988 the stage was set as Mike Tyson was ready to take on Larry Holmes. There were a few legends in the attendance and most prominently one man, Muhammad Ali. Ali also came to the stage to support him. He went to Mike’s corner and said, “Destroy him Mike!”
The match started and from the start Mike was out there to take Larry out. Holmes had difficulty keeping up with the younger, faster, and stronger Tyson. Like many of the fighters who challenged Tyson in the past, Holmes often held Tyson to slow the aggressive Tyson down. In round 4, Holmes started well, hitting Tyson several times with his left jab. As the round went on, however, Tyson would continue to attack Holmes, getting him up against the ropes and landing a right hand to the side of Holmes’ head a minute into the round. After the exchange, Tyson would continue to be aggressive, causing Holmes to hold Tyson twice more. After referee Joe Cortez broke the second hold, Tyson hit Holmes with a left jab right-hand combination that sent Holmes to the canvas. Holmes was able to get back up but was immediately met with a furious combination from Tyson, who knocked Holmes down for the second time with a right hook to the head. Holmes stumbled back to his feet and was able to answer the referee’s count at 8. Tyson would continue to hammer Holmes powerful combinations until finally delivering the final blow with seven seconds left in the round, a right hook that dropped Holmes for the third time in the round, after which Cortez stopped the fight and awarded Tyson the victory by technical knockout. This was it! Tyson had avenged his idol.
Tyson went on to have an illustrious career that had its ups and downs. With a record of Total fights – 58, Wins – 50, Wins by KO – 44, Losses – 6 & No contests – 2, Tyson is one of the greatest boxers of all time just like he wished as a kid and also fulfilled the promise he made to his idol to avenge his defeat. This is the revenge story of an unstoppable beast for his idol, ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali.