King J Gives The Thrilla In Manila Documentary On HBO a Grade Of A-

King JSenior Writer IApril 12, 2009

After weeks of anticipating tonight's HBO night devoted to my favorite sport in the world I must say overall I was rather content. 

Just like any boxing fan, we are more than appreciative whenever HBO comes to it's senses and gives us a documentary of such a legendary fight as Ali vs Frazier III AKA Thrilla in Manila.

Over all I was impressed with the documentary Thrilla In Manila highlighting the behind-the-scenes look of both fighter's training camps leading up to their historical brutal war.

Any chance I get, I love seeing that vintage footage of my favorite boxers and how they trained, what they said and did to hype a fight, and more than any other fighter I can never get enough of the GREATEST OF ALL TIME. 

This documentary however was a bit biased towards Joe Frazier's view and mindset of Ali. The documentary shows how arrogant, obnoxious, womanizing Ali was back in his day.

We learn how Frazier who is now well into his 60's is still quite bitter and holds a grudge to the more admired and still financially successful Ali.

It also claims that Ali was just about to throw in the towel just as Frazier's corner already did.

Most of the people interviewed were from Frazier's camp including his son, brother and corner men and even his female "traveling companion," whatever that actually means?

Surprisingly,we learned that most of the Filipinos booed Ali as he was announced by the ring announcer, for they prefer the underdog and they also prefer people to be more humble and graceful with their talents and strengths which is the total opposite of who Ali was in his prime.

We also learn that both fighters fought in such extreme boiling Manila temperatures of what Frazier claimed to be at 125 degrees.

Frazier's female "traveling companion" states that just sitting ringside she was not even able to breathe, for it was so painfully hot so imagine how it must have felt for these two to be fighting 15 rounds in this weather.

Finally the fight begins and unfortunately unlike another legendary documentary Rumble in the Jungle they do not show the entire fight of Ali vs Frazier III.

I was ready with my home made score card to judge this fight for myself, but Thrilla in Manila never shows the entire fight but just highlights of the fight cutting back to both camps reaction and opinions.

We see just how brutal of a war this rubber match was and how much heart and hunger both of these fighters had.

Thrilla in Manila is a painful reminder to any life long boxing fan that the current heavyweight division has fallen off completely and has become an insulting joke to what the division once shined through out the entire world. 

Today we do not have any heavyweights remotely close to the level of talent, heart, hunger, skill, power, and excitement that Ali, Frazier, and George Foreman once had.

In Ali's prime, the heavyweight champion was the most popular, strongest, wealthiest athlete in the world. Oh my how have times changed, where the average casual sports fan cannot even tell you who is the current heavyweight champion of the world.

I give this documentary a grade of an A- for I feel that although over it was great it was also biased toward Frazier, and I would have preferred them to show the entire fight so those of us with our scorecards could have judged the fight and made our opinion on who was winning up until that 15th round.

"If God ever calls me to a holy war, I want Joe Frazier fighting besides me."

- Muhammad Ali