December 15, 2011
Muhammad Ali turned 69 on January 17. Thirty years ago to the date December 11, 2011, he appeared in a boxing ring for the very last time as a competitor.
In a ring at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre on a boxing show tagged "Drama In Bahamas", Ali lost a 10-round decision to Trevor Berbick. He was 39 and well past his prime years. The fact that he was competitive for so long was proof of a resourceful mind that on many occasions compensated when an amazingly athletic body was ready to give out.
On that fateful Bahamian night back in 1981, he gave the last that he had. He remains appreciative always of Ali S. Muhammad (formerly known as James Cornelius), Franklyn Wilson and Cyril Ijeoma for putting the package together.
Earlier this week Ali S. Muhammad on behalf of "The Greatest" placed a full-page ad in The Nassau Guardian thanking the nation for hosting him and providing a forum for his final ring appearance in competition.
The script read:
"Muhammad Ali on the 30th anniversary of 'Drama in Bahamas' salutes the then Sen. Kendal W. Nottage, youth and sports Minister, for his act of kindness in giving me the chance to fight my last fight there in Nassau, December 11, 1981. Muhammad Ali also thanks the people of The Bahamas for their prayers and thoughts."
It's a compelling gesture that speaks profoundly to the historic connection between the finest boxer who ever lived and The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The night of December 11, 1981 was definitely not one of Muhammad Ali's great moments.
Nevertheless, the occasion cemented the relationship between he and The Bahamas. This is where the curtain came down on the career of a man who is arguably the greatest of all sporting figures. He also ranks right up there in being one of the most recognizable humans in the world.
Best wishes to the "great one" and also Ali S. Muhammad, who remains dedicated to one of history's truly wonderful legacies.
o To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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