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    The Greatest finally surrenders to Father Time...

    1981 Muhammad Ali Fight Worn Mouthpiece from Trevor Berbick Bout--His Last. When a baseball player ends his career, it's often said that he "hangs up his cleats" for good. In boxing, the common parlance for calling it quits is to "spit out your mouthpiece," an action which we know, with the clarity of hindsight, that the legendary Muhammad Ali did far too late.

    Just a shell of his world-beating self as he stepped through the ring ropes for the final time in a meeting with Trevor Berbick bearing the painfully ironic nickname, "The Drama in Bahama," the once masterful practitioner could no longer float like a butterfly nor sting like a bee, but he could still show the remarkable courage and will that would prove to be his own worst enemy. As he suffered a one-sided beating on December 11, 1981, more than a decade and a half after he "shook up the world" with his defeat of Sonny Liston to become Heavyweight Champ, this was the guard he clenched between gritted teeth.

    Though the glory was gone, there is tremendous significance in any "bookend" artifacts of great careers, hobbyists and historians alike holding firsts and lasts in great esteem. This molded rubber mouth guard still provides a perfect dental impression of the legendary fighter, and bears the handwritten attribution of Hall of Fame trainer Angelo Dundee: "Muhammad Ali Last Mouthpiece."

    Though it was a heavy price to pay, one cannot help but see honor in Muhammad Ali's role as cautionary tale, as his battle with Parkinson's Disease brought about by the cumulative effects of a brutal career raised the profile of such dangers enormously, and almost certainly saved many others from a similar fate. As he commonly wrote to autograph seekers, "Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth." Clearly Mr. Ali's tab has been paid in full. LOA from son of Angelo Dundee. LOA from Heritage Auctions.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2016
    10th Saturday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 13
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,279

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