Even if You Hate Boxing

I hate professional boxing, and I hate the people who rhapsodize about it (Norman Mailer, I’m talking to you.) But Thrilla in Manila is one of the most gripping documentaries I’ve ever seen. It’s a compelling story about character more than anything else, but it’s also a revealing historical document about racial politics in 60s-70s America.

I grew up worshiping Mohammed Ali as a beautiful symbol of righteous Black Power. Watching this film, I was distressed to learn how wrong I was. But people like to say that for every door that closes, a new one opens. I have a whole new hero now, Joe Frazier, who knows everything there is to know about betrayal and revenge.

If you’re as senile and ignorant as I am, and you don’t know who won the celebrated bout in Manila, this film is almost unbearably suspenseful. The actual fight is terrible to watch, much worse than a cockfight or dogfight, to my Girlie sensibility. I don’t know why people are willing to pay big money to watch two men brutally try to destroy each other. It’s pretty fucked up.

But for me, Smokin’ Joe Frazier is clearly the moral victor of this piece, and I salute him for his soul, his dignity, and his refusal to forgive. He’s a man after my own heart.

Check here at HBO for the schedule. Here’s a trailer.

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7 Responses to Even if You Hate Boxing

  1. Dexter VanDango says:

    I love boxing and hate myself for it.

    This link will explain everything.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfUFYtXNN0A

    Prince Naseem was a British champion in the 1990’s, originally from Yemen. He had something like a 30 wins and no losses, all by knock-outs.. until he finally lost a match and quit the sport, his pride broken.

    He was famous for his entrances and for being able to knock people out while moving backwards and from any angle. No boxer has been more explosive and entertaining.

    Here you can see all that is loathsome and magnificent about men.

  2. hammie says:

    Smokin joe is fine indeed -And he is also notably absent from the celebrity endorsed sandwich toaster market. (although you would have to say it was a missed opportunity in relation to the charcoal BBQ market)
    xx

  3. Dexter VanDango says:

    Here’s Prince Naseem’s defeat.

    He finally met someone just as fast and as brave.. but stronger. It broke his heart.

    The music here is great, too.

  4. WCGB says:

    Thanks for the review. My wise son asked me to record it, and I did. I’ll be sure to watch it.

  5. Sounds good and I’m intrigued as I too always thought Ali was the one but I wait to find out!!

  6. For your perusal and subsequent enjoyment, Milady.

    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3615/3439588847_acb6f6e806.jpg?v=0

    Your humble servant ever,

    REA3/SSR 8^}D-

  7. Dexter VanDango says:

    What a weird photo, Sardonique.

    Ali’s inside Joe’s training headquarters.. and Joe’s outside. Poor guy outfoxed yet again.

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