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Thread: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

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    Default Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    https://ew.com/gallery/actors-boxers-champs-or-chumps/?


    As a boxing fan I've always been interested in this topic. Love boxing... love movies. But when a movie is about boxing the least I expect are credible fight scenes, which includes actors that are a) in reasonable shape, b) have seriously trained, like they immerse themselves in any other character, and c) are accompanied by skillful production and camerawork. A good plot, acting, and storyline all help... 'cause it makes the movie attractive to even those who aren't boxing fans.

    The following list is from the link above. I omitted bareknuckle street fighting entries like Tom Cruise (Far and Away) and Clint Eastwood (Every Which Way But Loose), 'cause I'm only including boxing here. I also omitted entries from before "Rocky", because in all honesty back then fight scenes were horribly fake and not worth the mention. The list also excludes real, professional fighters from the list, because those would be boxers who acted.... not actors who boxed.

    So their list is:

    1. Michael B. Jordan (Creed, 2015)
    2. Jake Gyllenhall (Southpaw, 2015)
    3. Mark Wahlberg (The Fighter, 2010)
    4. Adam Carolla (The Hammer, 200
    5. Hillary Swank (Million Dollar Baby, 2004)
    6. Russell Crowe (Cinderella Man, 2005)
    7. Will Smith (Ali, 2001)
    8. Michelle Rodriguez (GirlFight, 2000)
    9. Denzel Washington (The Hurricane, 1999)
    10. Daniel Day-Lewis (The Boxer, 1997)
    11. Louis Gossett (Diggstown, 1992)
    12. Robert DeNiro (Raging Bull, 1980)
    13. Ryan O’Neal (The Main Event, 1979)
    14. Jon Voight (The Champ, 1979)
    15. Sylvester Stallone (Rocky, 1976)


    My first reaction was... where the hell is Carl Weathers? The list is faulty, because it only covers the main character in each of the films. But IMO, Weathers as Apollo Creed deserves a mention in there, probably at #3 (below Gyllenhall and above Wahlberg). Which of course brings to mind all the other supporting actors who boxed with the main characters. There are probably a few in there that fell through the cracks.

    My thoughts on the list?

    I think Russell Crowe could've been bumped up a couple of notches, whereas Ryan O'Neal and Sylvester Stallone (sorry, Rocky fans) are lucky to have been on the list at all. "Yo Adrian" was an epic movie and tear-jerker for some... but GTFOOF here with trying to make him look like a real boxer.... LMAO.

    I think it's also odd (but maybe not surprising) that the quality of "acting boxing" and fight scenes in general has improved over the years. The list is pretty much in chronological order. Which of course would bode well for future boxing films.

    I'm not saying boxing will necessarily get new fans out of a boxing movie.... but if a movie is going to be about boxing the least we should expect is for the fighters themselves and the fight scenes to be as credible as possible, right?

    Thoughts?

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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    I like the list of actors love both Creed films and Michael B Jordon is a brilliant actor.

    Roberto Di Niro should be top. Will Smith did a good job as Ali.

    Gyllenhall and Wahlberg starred in good films.

    I have not watched Denzel Washington in the Hurricane or Daniel Day Lewis but they are exceptional actors so the films must be good.
    Do not let success go to your head and do not let failure get to your heart.

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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?


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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    whoops, thats the flip side of that coin...... my bad!

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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    Out of all those actors DeNiro is probably my favorite, but this is about boxing ability and/or credibility.
    And yes... I thought Will Smith did pretty well considering it's tough to play Ali in the ring.

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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    Ok... the question outright:

    Who in your opinion (professional actor) has done the best job of impersonating a real boxer inside the ring?

    I still think the omission of Carl Weathers was a huge oversight.

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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    Quote Originally Posted by TitoFan View Post
    Ok... the question outright:

    Who in your opinion (professional actor) has done the best job of impersonating a real boxer inside the ring?

    I still think the omission of Carl Weathers was a huge oversight.
    Clearly Stallone doesn’t look like a boxer that could win a world title . But I think you’re being harsh, because isn’t it the whole point of the film? A low level guy from the street could become HW Champion of the World. That is the story , bit of a fairy tale of course.
    But think about it, if Stallone was technically decent, there wouldn’t be a story.
    Now my main beef about Stallone and Boxing centres around 2 other things.
    1. That he was inducted into the IBHOF. That is a complete joke.
    2. When he did the “Contender” series, found it totally embarrassing and cringeworthy that all these young pro boxers are sat round a lunch table hanging on his every word while he recounts stories and gives them “sage advice”, while SRL is hanging around unnoticed in the background. Totally cringe!
    Former Undisputed 4 belt Prediction champion. Still P4P and People’s Champion.

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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    Much of the time when we think actor in role of boxer the majority of it is in ring and tends to be the lead in to their story, build to triumph and early career etc. One of the best I've ever seen as a kid was Requiem For a Heavyweight. It focused on the exact opposite end and it seems many of the boxing themed movies around the 30s thru 60s could be pretty dark. Mickey Rooney, Gleason and Anthony Quinn were spot on in this one. Opening line up shot is great too..looks like a run of current and past fighters of the era but can make out Willie Pep and Barney Ross and of course young Ali. Love the way it's shot.

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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    I like Day Lewis in the Boxer. I'm not sure about McGuigan saying he could have been British title level but as far the acting like a boxer job goes, he did that really well. He moved like a boxer pretty good and it was pretty authentic stuff. Boxing movies now will acknowledge the fact that fighters don't land 1000 bombs per round and remain upright ala Rocky, but The Boxer did it back then what was it 20 years ago? They were more set piece technical boxing matches that looked authentic and Day Lewis, well he lives and breathes it doesn't he.

    Wahlberg in The Fighter was also good. He had a lot of prior training to fall back on and I think it helps if you're playing a real character as opposed to a fictional one. You can't go and play Micky Ward then start floating around the ring like Ali. You better have the left hook to the body nailed down.
    When God said to the both of us "Which one of you wants to be Sugar Ray?" I guess I didnt raise my hand fast enough

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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Primo Carnera View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TitoFan View Post
    Ok... the question outright:

    Who in your opinion (professional actor) has done the best job of impersonating a real boxer inside the ring?

    I still think the omission of Carl Weathers was a huge oversight.
    Clearly Stallone doesn’t look like a boxer that could win a world title . But I think you’re being harsh, because isn’t it the whole point of the film? A low level guy from the street could become HW Champion of the World. That is the story , bit of a fairy tale of course.
    But think about it, if Stallone was technically decent, there wouldn’t be a story.
    Now my main beef about Stallone and Boxing centres around 2 other things.
    1. That he was inducted into the IBHOF. That is a complete joke.
    2. When he did the “Contender” series, found it totally embarrassing and cringeworthy that all these young pro boxers are sat round a lunch table hanging on his every word while he recounts stories and gives them “sage advice”, while SRL is hanging around unnoticed in the background. Totally cringe!


    Fair points. First about your #1 and #2. Wow... don't even get me started on that. "Joke" is a mild word to use regarding the IBHOF thing. Whoever first brought up that idea at the IBHOF round table should've been laughed out of the room (and then flogged). It's disrespectful to every single person inducted in the Hall of Fame.

    #2 if even worse. Stallone giving BOXING ADVICE??!! And with SRL in the room?? I'm glad I missed that. But then I was never a huge fan of "The Contender" in the first place.

    Now on to Stallone. Harsh? Maybe. But even in 1976, they could've at least attempted to make the fight sequences just a tad more believable.

    To begin with, Stallone couldn't box his way out of a paper bag. But that's why other actors have precisely spent MONTHS training in the gym under supervision..... to make themselves more believable.

    But all this "punch me hard 100 times while I stand there WWE-style... and then miraculously I recover and punch YOU 100 times unanswered"..... is just ridiculous... even to the casual fan.

    Yeah, yeah... it's a movie about the underdog triumphing in life and all that corny stuff. But seriously... Stallone as a boxer?

    I guess by now you're probably thinking I'm not a big Stallone fan and you're probably right.

    However... I did TOTALLY enjoy First Blood... which was his other signature movie and began a parallel slew of movies, giving Stallone his two achievements in Hollywood....... Rocky and Rambo.

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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    Quote Originally Posted by TitoFan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Primo Carnera View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TitoFan View Post
    Ok... the question outright:

    Who in your opinion (professional actor) has done the best job of impersonating a real boxer inside the ring?

    I still think the omission of Carl Weathers was a huge oversight.
    Clearly Stallone doesn’t look like a boxer that could win a world title . But I think you’re being harsh, because isn’t it the whole point of the film? A low level guy from the street could become HW Champion of the World. That is the story , bit of a fairy tale of course.
    But think about it, if Stallone was technically decent, there wouldn’t be a story.
    Now my main beef about Stallone and Boxing centres around 2 other things.
    1. That he was inducted into the IBHOF. That is a complete joke.
    2. When he did the “Contender” series, found it totally embarrassing and cringeworthy that all these young pro boxers are sat round a lunch table hanging on his every word while he recounts stories and gives them “sage advice”, while SRL is hanging around unnoticed in the background. Totally cringe!


    Fair points. First about your #1 and #2. Wow... don't even get me started on that. "Joke" is a mild word to use regarding the IBHOF thing. Whoever first brought up that idea at the IBHOF round table should've been laughed out of the room (and then flogged). It's disrespectful to every single person inducted in the Hall of Fame.

    #2 if even worse. Stallone giving BOXING ADVICE??!! And with SRL in the room?? I'm glad I missed that. But then I was never a huge fan of "The Contender" in the first place.

    Now on to Stallone. Harsh? Maybe. But even in 1976, they could've at least attempted to make the fight sequences just a tad more believable.

    To begin with, Stallone couldn't box his way out of a paper bag. But that's why other actors have precisely spent MONTHS training in the gym under supervision..... to make themselves more believable.

    But all this "punch me hard 100 times while I stand there WWE-style... and then miraculously I recover and punch YOU 100 times unanswered"..... is just ridiculous... even to the casual fan.

    Yeah, yeah... it's a movie about the underdog triumphing in life and all that corny stuff. But seriously... Stallone as a boxer?

    I guess by now you're probably thinking I'm not a big Stallone fan and you're probably right.

    However... I did TOTALLY enjoy First Blood... which was his other signature movie and began a parallel slew of movies, giving Stallone his two achievements in Hollywood....... Rocky and Rambo.
    I feel awkward fighting Sly’s Corner so to speak. But most of the other guys that spent months learning and making themselves more believable, were playing a real Boxer , so they had to.
    But Stallone was playing.......a Bum, a street guy. Pure fantasy.
    And if it appealed more to the purists, the series would NEVER have been the success they were.
    Former Undisputed 4 belt Prediction champion. Still P4P and People’s Champion.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Primo Carnera View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TitoFan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Primo Carnera View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by TitoFan View Post
    Ok... the question outright:

    Who in your opinion (professional actor) has done the best job of impersonating a real boxer inside the ring?

    I still think the omission of Carl Weathers was a huge oversight.
    Clearly Stallone doesn’t look like a boxer that could win a world title . But I think you’re being harsh, because isn’t it the whole point of the film? A low level guy from the street could become HW Champion of the World. That is the story , bit of a fairy tale of course.
    But think about it, if Stallone was technically decent, there wouldn’t be a story.
    Now my main beef about Stallone and Boxing centres around 2 other things.
    1. That he was inducted into the IBHOF. That is a complete joke.
    2. When he did the “Contender” series, found it totally embarrassing and cringeworthy that all these young pro boxers are sat round a lunch table hanging on his every word while he recounts stories and gives them “sage advice”, while SRL is hanging around unnoticed in the background. Totally cringe!


    Fair points. First about your #1 and #2. Wow... don't even get me started on that. "Joke" is a mild word to use regarding the IBHOF thing. Whoever first brought up that idea at the IBHOF round table should've been laughed out of the room (and then flogged). It's disrespectful to every single person inducted in the Hall of Fame.

    #2 if even worse. Stallone giving BOXING ADVICE??!! And with SRL in the room?? I'm glad I missed that. But then I was never a huge fan of "The Contender" in the first place.

    Now on to Stallone. Harsh? Maybe. But even in 1976, they could've at least attempted to make the fight sequences just a tad more believable.

    To begin with, Stallone couldn't box his way out of a paper bag. But that's why other actors have precisely spent MONTHS training in the gym under supervision..... to make themselves more believable.

    But all this "punch me hard 100 times while I stand there WWE-style... and then miraculously I recover and punch YOU 100 times unanswered"..... is just ridiculous... even to the casual fan.

    Yeah, yeah... it's a movie about the underdog triumphing in life and all that corny stuff. But seriously... Stallone as a boxer?

    I guess by now you're probably thinking I'm not a big Stallone fan and you're probably right.

    However... I did TOTALLY enjoy First Blood... which was his other signature movie and began a parallel slew of movies, giving Stallone his two achievements in Hollywood....... Rocky and Rambo.
    I feel awkward fighting Sly’s Corner so to speak. But most of the other guys that spent months learning and making themselves more believable, were playing a real Boxer , so they had to.
    But Stallone was playing.......a Bum, a street guy. Pure fantasy.
    And if it appealed more to the purists, the series would NEVER have been the success they were.

    Burgess Meredith (R.I.P.) would be extremely proud of you.

    Ok... I'll cut Stallone some slack... although I'm still not a fan.

    However, two things:

    1. Those WWE-style punching trades used in Rocky were STILL ridiculous to even the most casual boxing fans. In real life Stallone would've been out from a mere jab from Carl Weathers.

    2. I still think Stallone was a better fit for Rambo. First Blood I re-watched many times.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    stopped into this gym in 2018 on my way to work one day, cool place Church Street in Flatbush section...anyway for what its worth:


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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    Nice... two boxers critiquing boxing movies.

    I thought they were way too kind on Rocky but hey... they're just trying to be nice. Cringed when one of them brought up Rocky in the Hall of Fame. (shudder)

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    Default Re: Actors as Boxers: Champs or Chumps?

    Whoever voted for Rocky to be in the Hall of Fame (and I really need to make this clear, I am not talking about Rocky Marciano), needs their head examined.

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