MUHAMMAD ALI refused to believe it was over.
Even after Larry Holmes, his heavyweight successor and former sparring partner, had hammered him into 10th round retirement in October 1980.
As his bruises healed and his body stopped aching, Ali started to dream again. He blamed his dreadful showing on overdosing on thyroid medication, that by taking “two pills instead of one” he had ripped his body of energy. Just 18 months before, after beating Leon Spinks in his final triumph, he spoke of his desire not to fight too long. But denial had banished reason from his mind.