The ruthlessness of boxing has always translated well to cinematic adaptations. Raging Bull, Rocky, Fat City, and Requiem for a Heavyweight—amongst so many others—are almost unanimously considered classic depictions of a sport where brutality, suffering and perseverance often create an effortless and engaging narrative.
Documentaries like When We Were Kings and The Fight: Louis vs. Schmeling have shown ample evidence that the drama associated with the sweet science is by no means confined to the realm of fiction.
As 2012 gradually approaches its halfway point, it is time to look at a short list of boxing documentaries that have debuted or will be released before the year is out.
What is so impressive about the content of these movies is their diversity. From rural Thailand and China to International Boxing Hall of Fame inductees, the brief list that follows covers the gamut that any boxing fan could hope to see covered.
It is easy to get caught up in headline stories involving Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and the recent Lamont Peterson drug test scandal. These documentaries show the tragic and heroic struggle of those who toil in obscurity or who have fallen from grace.
In a sense, this is the rule as opposed to the exception. The brilliance of the documentary form is that it enables the uncovering of usually untold stories with, if done properly, honesty and realism that can often shock our sensibilities.
As boxing fans, these are the stories we need to hear about in order to understand the struggle and drive to ascend to the top of such an unforgiving sport.