39 years ago today, Muhammad Ali took to the ring in Nassau, Bahamas for the last fight of his career.
Nicknamed “Drama in the Bahamas,” the fight between Muhammad Ali (39) and Trevor Berbick (27) marked the end of Muhammed Ali’s career. Although he won a few rounds, Berbick won over the 10-round distance through a unanimous decision on points. Although it may not have been the conclusion the fierce competitor was hoping for, Ali accepted the loss with grace.
“Father Time has caught up with me,” Ali is quoted saying in a Boxing News article. “I’m finished. I’ve got to face the facts. We all lose sometimes. We all grow old. This is the end.”
But the famous Muhammad Ali confidence still managed to shine through as he commented on how the fight could have been different if the competitors were closer in age.
“It was close, but I have to go along with the judges,” said Ali. “If Berbick had been 39 like me he wouldn’t have beaten me. I found I couldn’t tie him up and move the way I wanted to. It was a good fight but he was too young and too tough for me. He beat me on aggression.”
Muhammad Ali Knew What He Was Doing
Although some critics claimed that Ali accepted the fight only for the money, Ali disagreed. “The money ain’t important,” he said. “I did this for me. I did it for the people who are too old or too whupped or too tired.” He continued, “This was my last fight. There will be no more.”
During an interview the morning after the fight, Ali commented on the bittersweet nature of his final time in the ring.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 12,” Ali said. “It’s a joy and a relief to know that it’s over.”
Although Ali has since passed away, with accolades including Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Century, BBC Sports Personality of the Century, Martin Luther King Memorial Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Muhammad Ali’s incredible legacy lives on.