Actors:Muhammad Ali, Trevor Berbick Genres:Drama, Sports Sub-Genres:Drama, Sports Studio:Rhino Format:DVD - Color DVD Release Date: 02/12/2002 Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1997 Release Year: 2002 Run Time: 2hr 5min Screens: Color Number of Discs: 1 SwapaDVD Credits: 1 Total Copies: 0 Members Wishing: 1 MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated) Languages:English
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"After suffering a horrible beating at the hands of Champion Larry Holmes in 1980, Muhammad Ali refuses to believe that the magical blend of extraordinary skill, ring savvy, and sheer force of personality are gone. Ali blames his loss to Holmes not on his aging battle scarred nervous system, but on the fact that his doctor prescribed for him a thyroid medication (for his sluggishness) that rendered him unable to sweat and left him physically weak. While the medication may have contributed to Ali's defeat, clearly, the primary reason was his magnificent reflexes and boxing skills were eroded to the extent that he was but a shell of his former brilliance. It had been developing for years. Ali had not knocked anybody out for nearly 5 years. Fighters that he could have once beaten with his eyes closed now were giving him real challenges. Earnie Shavers had rung his bell and nearly defeated him. The rank amateuristic Leon Spinks had taken his title and given him a beating (although Ali regained his title in another close match with Spinks 6 months later). Clearly, the once untouchable Ali was now mortal, and fighters he would have easily disposed of in his prime were giving him real battles. And now he'd bean beaten up by Larry Holmes, a savage beating where fight fans, watching through tears, had witnessed the end of the Ali legend.
Even so, Ali's tremendous ego would not let him admit that he was through, and so, in an effort to perhaps redeem himself and to find out if in fact his skills were gone, Ali signed to fight one last time with Trevor Berbick in 1981 (21 years after his professional carerr had started!). The fight took place in the Bahamas. Berbick was just 27 and in his fighting prime. Ali took this fight seriously and trained hard, but despite his preparation, he simply had lost too much and it clearly shows.
The fight is surprisingly even. Berbick should have dominated the aged Ali, but it is a testament to Ali's former greatness that he was able to make this a contest. To be blunt, Ali looks terrible. While his body "looks" good, his grace and fluidity are gone. He looks clumsy as he throws combinations (Ali clumsy? - blasphemy!). His once lighting jab is now average at best and packs no hurt. He even appears to lose his balance occasionally and comes close to tottering over. In short, the most graceful heavyweight fighter that ever lived now looks like a stumbling old man. And yet, Ali's fierce fighting spirit will not relent. Ali is in the final fight of his life and he wants to go out giving his best effort. He aggressively fights Berbick and is not afraid to wade in and trade blows with the younger, stronger fighter. Berbick lands some terrific head blows, shots that Ali would have once deflected or pulled his head away from easily, and Ali lands some good shots of his own, even stunning Berbick several times. But Ali's courageous effort is not enough. His reflexes are slow, too slow for a fighter, and his punching power and snap gone. Ali sees opennings but he is not quick enough to capitalize on them, and before he can tell his right hand to fire, the openning is gone. For a fight fan who recalls the younger Ali this fight is painful to watch.
And so, the great Ali's career as a fighter is over; even Ali admits as much, calling his career has ended after the fight. And while we may feel a sense of sadness for another great fighter's passing, Ali certainly went out holding his head high, giving it his best shot, and having no excuses to fall back on. Ali was the greatest heavyweight champion to ever don boxing attire and there will never be another like him. Still, his former fighting career lives on in fight films, and his new career as world evangelist goes on to this day.
Ali enriched the human condition with this irrepressible personality, his god-like athletic talent, and his quick wit. humor, and charm. His last fight is sad to watch, but it is a fitting last chapter to the Ali boxing story. Ali the boxer was done, Ali the man contines on.
Jim "Konedog" Koeing, Boxing Fan
The Farewell Fight
Joe Del Sole | Staten Island, New York, USA | 01/19/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"One year after after almost getting killed by Larry Holmes, Muhammad Ali decided to fight again because, like most great champions, he couldnt accept being finished. When asked in the press conference why hes fighting a top rated fighter like Berbick he replies ''Because what if I fight some bum instead and he whups me? That'll make me look bad!''. He also talks about the then rumors of him having brain damage and he asks ''Do I look like someone who has brain damage?''. Sadly, I dont think he would have liked what the honest answer wouldve been. The fight itself starts out with Ali dancing around as he said he would and flicking his once awesome jab at Berbick. For just a little while, he looks like the Ali of old but by around the 3rd round his age and shape really begin to show. He begins just pawing with his punches and tries to pull away from Berbicks punches but still gets tagged with many of them. Still, he fought gamely as always. Alot of times going toe to toe with Berbick and holding his own. The decision really could have gone either way but Berbick got the decision. That was probably the best thing that could have happened in the circumstances because even though you could have arguably said that Ali won the fight, he was far from the Ali of old and would have boxed circles around Berbick and stopped him early in his prime. After the fight they interview Ali and you can tell that the punches he absorbed in this fight didnt make his condition any better. You can barely understand what hes saying. The only thing that I picked out was when he said ''Father time has finally caught up with me and Im gonna retire. And I dont think Im gonna wake up next week and change my mind.'' That was a good decision, but obviously it was a little too late."
Watch all the drama surronding Ali's last fight.
Josť Elias Flores Jr. | Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil | 06/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ali vs. Berbick was not a great fight inside the ring, but all the surrondings made it tremendously dramatic. The tape shows you the prefight press conference, in a hotel in the Bahamas, recorded with not great tecnical expertise, besides a very slurred-peaker and slow Ali, trying to convince boxing experts that he still had a shot of being the first four time heavyweight champion ever. While it was still fun to hear what he had to say, it is kind of sad, because he had so much class and that's how his carrer came to an end. IN the end of the press conference, he talks abot his licensing troubles in the US and that he was in good health and everything.The second part of the video is the fight itself, and it is sadly clear from the moment he entered the ring that Ali was incredibly somber, almost depressed, with that feeling of "what am I doing here?" But there he was, and he stood for 10 rounds against an inept Berbick, but had absolutely no shot of really winning. His jab worked ocasionally, but he had no power neither speed on his punches. Berbick rocked him a couple of times, but was not able to go further than that.After the decision was announced, Ali was interviewed, and you can't understand what he says. Anyway, it is an almost bizarre scene when you see Berbick crazily approaching him saying: "Man, I would be nothing if not for you! You made me, man! You made me!""The Drama in Bahama" shows you a lot about boxing and its way. It is sad, it is dramatic, but it is real. You can see how sick was Ali at the end of his career, and that he should never have been allowed to fight one more time. You will see that the attendance in the fight is very low, and that there is no real bell to end rounds, but a cowbell found near the stadium a couple of hours before the fight. But Ali wanted to do it. Nobody did it for him. He did it, and, as it turned out, Berbick was just a man who would now be part of history."
A sad and final chapter to a colorful boxing career.
Marc Axelrod | Potter, Wi USA | 10/12/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Muhammad Ali was a shell of his former self when he stepped into the ring for his final fight against Trevor Berbick. You can see that even in 1981, he had that frozen, Parkinson's look on his face. Like the last reviewer said, you were afraid to watch the fight. But at the same time, you couldn't turn away, either. But the fight really wasn't that bad. And after eight rounds, the fight was pretty darn close. But in rounds nine and ten. Berbick pounded on Ali, who was looking pretty old and tired and beat up. It was sad because you could see that Ali knew what to do. But that he didn't hav the speed or the reflexes to pull the trigger at the right time. He would have creamed Berbick ten years earlier. And he would have gotten the decision even five years earlier.But on this night, we saw an Ali who had been conquered by Father Time. Buy this video if you want to own the last chapter of a storied career. The video comes with a second video of a long, cumbersome, and boring one hour press conference."
Marc Axelrod | 07/08/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Watching this video is like viewing a traffic accident. You don't want to watch and you know you shouldn't, but you can't help yourself. This film is like the flip side to Will Smith's film "Ali," which showed Muhammad at the top of his game. In the "Last Hurrah," we get to see the older Ali, long past his prime and for all accounts and purposes, a "shot" fighter. He's got nothing left as a boxer and sadly, he's a shadow of his former public persona. During the press conference, Ali is hard to understand and his face shows little emotion. The fight itself is good, bad and ugly. The actual bout is a lot better than I'd thought it be. Ali isn't the flat footed, motionless fighter from the Holmes fight. He actually is quite animated, punching and jabbing and trying hard to contain Berbick. The bad is that Ali puts on a sad imitation of the fighter he used to be. Desperately attempting to rope a dope, motion Berbick forward and dance around the ring. None of it works and Ali ends up looking foolish. The ugly is the sheer physical beating that the young, very strong Berbick gives Ali. To look at Trevor, only 27 at the time, it makes you fear that he might kill Ali. And a lot of his head punches are quite scary. Even more so in hindsight, knowing about Ali's brain injuries. Even so, this Rhino video is an indispensable document. One that shows a different Ali. One about to enter the darkest period in his life. Post-boxing and pre-Parkinson's. Luckily, Muhammad rebounded and has become a great peacemaker worldwide and lit the Olympic torch. He continues to be a hero to millions. And this video, while difficult to watch, is an essential chapter to the Muhammad Ali story."