Originally Posted by Panthershock
Ali's physical condition had deteriorated quite a bit in the two years between Spinks II and the Holmes fight
He had difficulty with basic reflex and coordination checks during medical exams prior to the Holmes fight. If you or I had trouble with these tests, it would be of concern to a physician. A world class athlete like Ali having problems was a clear sign that something was very wrong.
It was obvious that Ali was slowing down in the late 70's, but it had reached a different level by the time he fought Holmes. A level that frankly should have prevented him from being allowed to fight.
Well what we know is that between Spinks 2 and Holmes, Ali did struggle with the test requiring you to keep your eyes closed and place a finger on the tip of your nose. He also struggled with hopping on one foot with eyes closed and had some trouble with short term memory recall tests.
It was also clear that his speach had deteriorated a touch in those two years. But nothing like the disparity between The Holmes fight and post Berbick. His upper body seemed to be carrying some of the muscle rigidity associated with Parkinsons when he was filmed running. His running style was much more graceful in say 'When we were kings' or in his movie 'The Greatest'.
That said, in the above documentary Ali did seem to have some grace still in his dancing and obviously managed a shuffle in one clip. Some of the later sparring sessions looked rather better than anything he even so much as attempted in the Holmes fight. Plus, he wasn't anything like as bad when he faced Berbick......I'm convinced that he'd have been a much better challenger without those thyroid pills. I just don't think he'd have had a chance at winning.
But I agree, he should have stopped permanently after Spinks 2. I think that Ali would probably have still suffered with progressively worsening Parkinsons without the Holmes or Berbick comebacks. But his condition might have been rather better today without having absorbed all the headshots in both those fights.