HOLLYWOOD TURNS TO BOXING
By TOM WATT on May 27 2015
Recently we’ve seen that Boxing still has the ability to capture the public’s imagination and get the wider World of Sport to sit up and take notice as it did during the ‘glory days’ of Leonard, Ali, Frazier, Hagler and Tyson – the ‘Fight of the Century’ might not have lived up to all its hype in terms of the spectacle in the ring but the interest generated was far beyond what we have seen in recent years. Although Mayweather vs Pacquiao was the pinnacle of this interest, the sport has been garnering more and more interest over the last few years with exciting fighters such as Canelo, Golovkin and Deontay Wilder all becoming household names as the sport looks to return to its former glory.
With this growing fan-base comes increased commercial interest and, for the first time in a long time, Boxing fans can look forward to a number of exciting theatrical releases as Hollywood looks to ride the wave of Boxing’s resurgence. Below we have a look at a few of these upcoming releases:
Hands Of Stone
Hands of Stone follows the life of legendary fighter Roberto Duran from his professional debut in 1968 (as a 16 year old) through to his retirement in 2002 (aged 50), in that time Duran fought 119 times, winning 103 of those with 70 of those wins coming from KO. Duran’s most memorable nights came against Sugar Ray Leonard (played by Usher) in back to back fights in 1980, Duran became the first man to beat Leonard (and the only man to beat him in his prime) although after Leonard forced a quick rematch and famously made Duran quit on his stool, uttering the now eternal words ‘No Mas’. – Those fights have been sensationally immortalised in a fantastic ESPN Documentary ‘No Mas’ that can be found online.
For this film we have Robert De Niro playing Duran’s long-time trainer, Ray Arcel, Usher playing Duran’s rival, Sugar Ray Leonard and Edgar Ramirez playing the man himself. Sugar Ray Leonard has been involved in the project and has been tutoring the fighters so hopefully we should see some good action in the film – as far as the story-line goes, Duran’s rise from the slums of Panama to World Champion is an enthralling journey and should translate well to the silver screen.
The expected release date is October 2015.
Directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), Southpaw is the story Billy Hope, a Boxer at the height of his fame who decides to hang up his gloves to spend more time with his family. That is, until his wife is accidentally killed during an altercation with another boxer – Hope must then battle his own demons as he re-unites with his former trainer to fight again and reunite himself with his daughter.
Southpaw has been in the works for a long time, with Eminem posed to play the lead for some time. When Fuqua came on board in 2014, Jake Gyllenhaal was announced to play Hope and Forrest Whittaker and Rachel McAdams followed suit soon after. Trailers for the film look great and with the cast and director they have, Southpaw should deliver something for all fans – Gyllenhaal has really bulked up for the film and first reports are that the fight scenes in particular are fantastic. Definitely one to put in the diary for its July 2015 release.
Also – Keep an eye out for Victor Ortiz and 50 Cent!
Just when you thought the Rocky franchise couldn’t squeeze any more life (or dollars) out of the long-running film series, they come back with one that actually sparks interest. Creed follows the life of Appolo Creed’s son, Adonis Creed as he embarks upon his own career in the Sport and looks to enlist his father’s old foe, Rocky Balboa (obviously played by Stallone) as his trainer. – This all sounds like a your standard, cheesey Rocky movie set up but there should be more that that to this addition. Acclaimed director of the brilliant Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler has teamed back up with Michael B. Jordan for this film and if their previous work together is anything to go by we are in for a classic!
On top of that, Creed also stars World Champion fighters in America’s Andre Ward and England’s Tony Bellew – the latter playing Creed’s rival ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan. The last Rocky film benefited from having former World Champion Antonio Tarver and hopefully Bellew and Ward can add some realness to this one. - As someone who grew up watching the Rocky films, I would always go to see this film regardless of how good it looked, however with the cast and crew on this one it could turn out to be the best yet.
Expected Release Date is November 2015
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR.
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