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Boxing – 1981 – Interview With Muhammad Ali Prior To The Drama In The Bahamas Vs Trevor Berbick


The Drama in Bahama was a ten-round boxing match that took place between Muhammad Ali and Trevor Berbick in Nassau, Bahamas on December 11, 1981. Ali was 39 years old at this time….and Berbick was 27 years old. The fight went the distance with Berbick winning through a unanimous decision on points. This was Ali’s last boxing match.  Prior to the fight, Ali claimed that he had been declared fit by “even the best white doctors.”….however, the venue for the fight was Nassau in the Bahamas….which was chosen because no American state would grant Ali a boxing license after his performance in the match with Larry Holmes. The promoter of this fight was James Cornelius….a convicted felon with links to the Nation of Islam….however, a problem arose since Don King had signed up Berbick for a three-fight deal. When King arrived in Nassau to demand his share of the profits from this fight….he was greeted by two friends of Cornelius who administered a sound beating to King.

In the early rounds Ali tried putting together some combinations….but these proved ineffectual….and he was pushed back on the ropes. In the fifth round, Ali landed some solid jabs and then a right-left-right combination on Berbick….but by the sixth round Ali had tired and started getting hit. By the last round, Ali was completely exhausted.  

Sportswriter Hugh McIlvanney, who witnessed the fight, wrote….“Berbick is the kind of lumbering, slow-armed swinger [Ali] would have first embarrassed and then demolished in his dazzling prime….so, to see [Ali] lose to such a moderate fighter in such a grubby context was like watching a king riding into permanent exile on the back of a garbage truck. The one blessing was that he was steadily exhausted rather than violently hurt by the experience.”

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