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JimStinson 05-25-2012 11:56 AM

Muhammad Ali 1981 UCLA Hospital Autograph
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Every once in awhile I get something that I think is very unique. I currently have this item running at auction in my e-bay store. As with all my e-bay offerings I start the bids at $9.99 with no reserve.

Its a Muhammad Ali In-person autograph signed and dated August 1981 , On UCLA Hospital letterhead. Its inscribed "To David". I bought the item as part of a small collection from David himself who was then hospitalized at the same Time as Ali. What is fascinating (to me) about the autograph is that it was signed four months prior to his LAST fight , a loss to Trevor Berbick in Nassau in the Bahamas. After I bought the item I checked the date and confirmed that Ali had indeed been a patient at the hospital on that date. But Why ? It had long been rumored that the former champ entered the ring against Berbick already aware that he had Parkinson's Disease and this item appears to confirm it. In fact the date the item was signed appears to be the FIRST time doctors examined Ali suspecting this condition, after noticing slurred speech and other possible "signs" of early stage Parkinson's. His last fight prior had been against Larry Holmes at Las Vegas in which he took a merciless pummeling. Would also explain why his last fight was not in the USA as after having been treated in August he would have been unable to obtain a license to fight Berbick here. So the venue became Nassau. It wasn't till AFTER his fight with Berbick that his condition worsened and his disease was confirmed to the public. Anyone have any thoughts or insight into this ? Much appreciated

drc 05-25-2012 12:39 PM

Interesting. Though as an professional athlete he could have been in the hospital for a variety of reasons.

JimStinson 05-25-2012 12:46 PM

Thats what I thought too until I read this

"In August 1981, he was hospitalized again at UCLA where people first began to notice slurred speech. Ali was examined by a neurologist who found minor imbalance when he walked quickly but the rest of the examination was normal"

drc 05-25-2012 01:36 PM

There you go. Interesting.

JimStinson 05-26-2012 06:44 AM

Also found this shocking ! These were tests conducted when he came out of "retirement" to fight Larry Holmes, his next to last fight and PRIOR to the date on the Hospital letterhead.

When Ali officially announced his comeback a MAYO clinic physical was organized and a boxing license would only be granted if he passed. The tests included basic reflex analysis and challenged his hand eye co-ordination. Arguably the quickest and most skillful heavyweight in history being subjected to such tests might seem redundant but the results were shocking. Ali had difficulty touching the tip of his nose from distance, occasionally slurred his speech and did not “hop with the agility that was expected”. Considering he would be swapping punches with the number one heavyweight on the planet you could compare that to him failing his times tables prior to sitting a test on plutonium physics. Ali, unbelievably, was cleared to fight, however these test results only confirmed that he could live a normal life, not that he was ready to participate in world championship boxing.

Exhibitman 05-26-2012 07:37 AM

Not that amazing if you review the documentary films of Ali training for Holmes. It was obvious from the training footage that he was not right, esp. the footage of him speaking with fans and visitors to the camp. What is amazing to me is that no one who supposedly cared about him stopped him from going forward.

JimStinson 05-26-2012 08:59 AM

He was being paid 8 Million dollars & Don King was promoting the fight. Nuff Said.
Ali had not won a single round on any of the judges scorecards, Even Larry Holmes kept looking at the referee as if to say "When are you going to stop this ?"
The question is why didn't Angelo Dundee his trainer & corner man stop the slaughter early instead of waiting until the end of the 10th round.

D. Bergin 05-26-2012 09:04 AM

Still happens today. For every Bernard Hopkins, who seems like a medical marvel............there are 20 Evander Holyfields. Guys who should have been ushered out of the sport years ago.

Ultimately it comes down to a personal choice. Whether they have the cognitive abilities to make that choice, is another matter entirely.

If the guy is marketable, there will always be somewhere in the world they can find to approve another fight for them.

travrosty 05-26-2012 11:57 AM

if they made it winner take all they wouldnt do it. Ali might have still fought a couple fights he shouldn't have because he believed he could win, but the last two he wouldn't have went out there if it wasn't the guaranteed money.

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