Father Knows Best - Holmes TKOs Ali

Updated: October 17, 2005, 4:26 PM ET
By Larry Schwartz | Special to ESPN.com

Oct. 2, 1980

Not even "The Greatest" can beat Father Time. At 38, Muhammad Ali comes out of a two-year retirement to challenge undefeated heavyweight champion Larry Holmes.

But Ali, the only three-time heavyweight champ in history, is no match for the younger (30-year-old) man. "All I could think of after the first round was, 'Oh, God, I still have 14 rounds to go," Ali says.

In the temporary arena in the Caesars Palace parking lot, he looks like a gladiator after a bout with the lions. Ali is pounded thoroughly by his former sparring partner for 10 rounds; he has a cut under his right eye, reddening under his left eye and a bloody nose. Only his courage has prevented him from being knocked out.

Before the 11th round starts, Ali's corner throws in the towel.

"Ali could not fight," New York Times columnist Dave Anderson writes. "He could not dance. He could not even punch. For several months he had promised a miracle in what had been billed as 'The Last Hurrah.' It should have been titled 'Death of a Salesman.' "