30 for 30 (2009– )
2 user 4 critic
We follow the preparations for Ali's final attempt to win back the World Heavyweight title. Even during the lead up to the fight grave concerns were held for Ali's health and the man who ... See full summary »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Muhammad Ali ... Himself (archive footage)
Larry Holmes ... Himself
Angelo Dundee ... Himself
Ferdie Pacheco Ferdie Pacheco ... Himself
Leon Spinks ... Himself (archive footage)
Wali Muhammad Wali Muhammad ... Himself
Tim Witherspoon Tim Witherspoon ... Himself (archive footage)
Vic Ziegel Vic Ziegel ... Himself
Ken Norton ... Himself (archive footage)
Jerry Izenberg Jerry Izenberg ... Himself
John Schulian ... Himself
Gene Kilroy ... Himself
Diane Holmes Diane Holmes ... Herself
Cliff Ransom Cliff Ransom ... Himself
Drew Bundini Brown Drew Bundini Brown ... Himself (archive footage)


We follow the preparations for Ali's final attempt to win back the World Heavyweight title. Even during the lead up to the fight grave concerns were held for Ali's health and the man who stepped into the ring was frail imitation of his former self. Written by glenchapman@ruraltel.net

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Release Date:

27 October 2009 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

ESPN Films, Maysles Films See more »
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References Grey Gardens (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

A Tale Of Two Champions
13 March 2017 | by zkonedogSee all my reviews

In 1980, one of the saddest professional boxing matches in the history of the sport transpired, with rising star Larry Holmes pounding former ring king Muhammad Ali into submission on his stool. This ESPN 30-for-30 documentary is a retrospective on the events leading up to that fight.

Basically, this hour-long episode of 30-for-30 focuses on two primary areas: 1. The training camp of Ali before the fight, where "The Greatest" is looking anything but. He's slow of foot, nearly devoid of his once lightning-fast reflexes, and even a little paunchy at times. Clearly, something is wrong, although Ali's ego cannot accept this fact.

2. The training camp of Holmes, featuring the snapping of gloves and crisp shuffling of feet more befitting a heavyweight boxing champion. Holmes, in arguably the prime of his career at fight time, is clearly a force to be reckoned with, and one can hardly imagine why Ali (besides his prestige) would be let in the ring with young Larry.

One word of warning: If you are looking for actual fight footage, please turn your attention elsewhere, as the actual fight is recapped in about 2 minutes right at the very end. This is all about the build-up.

Overall, this is a very well put-together little documentary on one of the sadder moments in pugilism. It's sad to see Ali in such poor condition, especially during the fight when his face is puffy and he can barely hold his hands up to protect himself. This story should serve as a warning to all the old boxers out there mulling a comeback (e.g. Evander Holyfield). The line between being champion and getting seriously injured is very thin in pro boxing. On that fateful night in 1980, Ali crossed it.

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