By Mauricio Sulaimán
Son of José Sulaimán / WBC President
Our sport is the one that has the highest representation in all forms of art worldwide, but especially in cinema as boxing has given us incredible scripts based on boxing, the lives of legendary fighters, fictional stories and even unknown stories .
Legendary artists have participated in boxing movies. From Charlie Chaplin in City Lights to Rocky’s character creator Sylvester Stallone, who has given the world great moments of excitement for five decades!
Other cinema greats who have starred in boxing films include: Robert De Niro (Raging Bull), Denzel Washington (The Hurricane), Kirk Douglas (Champion), Will Smith (Ali), Clint Eastwood, Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby), Paul Newman (Somebody up there likes me), Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter), Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man) , the Mexican boxing film from the peoples idol Pedro Infante, called Pepe El Toro, and many more.
There are also formidable boxing documentaries. Any fighters’ life is itself a script for Hollywood, and there is no exception. Each story is full of drama, which generates emotions at the highest possible level. From the amateur who did not succeed, to the legendary champions, everyone had to overcome innumerable obstacles.
Some documentaries that we cannot miss stating are: Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and fall of Jack Johnson, the first black boxer to win the world heavyweight championship. He did it at a time and during an era when racism was impregned in society, a fact that people did not forgive him for being black and defeating white boxers, in addition to marrying a white woman.
When we were Kings: Probably the best of all. It recounts what was the great boxing card in Zaire, now Congo. The fight where Muhammad Ali regains the world heavyweight championship by defeating the seemingly invincible
George Foreman. It is wonderful, illustrative and highly motivating.
I am Durán: Formidable, simply unique.
30 for 30: It is a series of sports documentaries produced by ESPN. There are several boxing chapters that are fascinating, like the ones starring Sugar Ray Leonard against Roberto Durán and Ali vs. Larry Holmes.
Currently, television series have generated the most interesting aspects. Boxing is not far behind. My friend Fernando Barbosa has been the brain behind the two series that have been an absolute success in Latin America: El César, by JC Chávez and Monzón. There is also A sensacional one called “Lights Out’ In which Holt Callany plays the role of The heavyweight champion of the world, ten episodes of pure drama .
As for movies, there are many forums that try to rate and reach the top ten. It is very difficult to formulate such a list. There are different eras and tastes, some are very artistic, others emotional, and reaching a consensus is complicated.
Here is my list, the Top 10 of boxing in the cinema. For reasons of space, Rocky goes as one. My favorites in this series are in the following order: Rocky I, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Creed, Rocky II, Creed 2 and Balboa.
1. Rocky. Sylvester Stallone became the greatest boxing ambassador in the world. Number one from 1976 won the Oscar, and to this day, it continues to inspire and motivate millions of people.
2. The Hurricane. Denzel Washington plays the role of fighter Rubin Hurricane Carter, who was unfairly imprisoned on racial grounds for 23 years, just as he was the # 1 world ranked in the middlwewweight division. During The WBC annual convention in Las Vegas in 1992, The WBC presented him with a belt, naming him Honorary World Champion. At the end of the movie the real scene comes out when my dad crowns him. That’s why it’s one of
3. The Champ. There are two versions: one from 1931, and the 1979 version starring Jon Voight. A film that requires a Kleenex package next to you.
4. Raging Bull. Robert De Niro masterfully represented the raw life of one of the greats of the ring, Jake LaMotta.
5. Cinderella Man. Russell Crowe plays a hungry fighter during the Great Depression of the 1930s. James Braddock captured the world heavyweight championship in a very inspiring movie.
6. Gentleman Jim. The story of the first world champion of the modern era of boxing, Jim Corbett, starring Errol Flynn.
7. Bleed for this. It is the true story of Vinny Paz. Gaining glory as world champion he suffers a devastating car accident. The doctors doubted if he could walk again. His determination and courage led him to become world
boxing champion again.
8. Pepe El Toro. Impossible to miss this drama of the great Pedro Infante.
9. Southpaw. Full of great emotions.
10. Million Dollar Baby. The drama of a boxer and how life changes with
an accident in the ring.
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