I have always suspected that a guilty conscience is a burden not worth any spoils it earns a cheating boxer. Antonio Margarito lost his match with Shane Mosley as much because his sins had been exposed as that this punches didn't hold the same oomph without the plaster of paris he was no stranger to.
Assault in the Ring, producer/director Eric Drath's study of the aftereffects of Luis Resto's unfortunate win over Irish blossoming star Billy Collins Jr., lays bare the price paid for cheating to gain an unfair advantage in the ring.
Tampering with boxing gloves, a too common practice, embodies a cruel dog-eat-dog ring sensibility. Hands, either without padding or enhanced by plaster, become lethal weapons when a boxer and his trainer make that particular kind of dark deal—doing whatever it takes to win a fight.
In this heartbreaking documentary, Drath captures the depths of despair of Collins and his family, who watch Collins' disintegration. Resto endured his own understanding of the brutality of the beating he inflicted on Collins with gloves without padding.
Collins, his career cut short by the eye injuries he suffered during the fight, filled with rage at the loss of his dreams and his livelihood,eventually committed suicide.
Drath encounters Resto as a broken man, consumed with guilt, estranged from his family, holding onto denial of his own role in the glove tampering he states at first that he knew nothing about. He only admits that he saw his trainer, Panama Lewis, go into the bathroom with another man, holding the gloves.
Drath, at first purely an observer, took on an active role in the story when he found inconsistencies in the stories Resto was telling, and those he told at the time of the event, and confronted Resto with this information.
The story changed from that of two boxers who were victims of the same scam into the redeeming of the one who had known the crime he had committed all along.
By admitting his own culpability in the affair, confirming along the way his participation in other long-suspected fouls engaged in by his trainer, such as spiking the water in the corner with stimulants, Resto was finally free of his secret.
He rejoined his family as his true self—flawed, repentant, and released from his bond to Panama Lewis (whose own lack of conscience rivals that of many psychopaths currently in prison).
Last night, Alfredo "El Perro" Angulo, himself in a position to win his fight or melt away into the current stew of disappointing prospects, made his own deal with the devil after his opponent, Gabriel Rosado, won the first round of the fight by keeping Angulo on the outside.
Rather than breaking Rosado down patiently, using pressure and body shots to take the distance away from him, Angulo pinned Rosado's right arm to his body while getting in with a sucker punch that set up the inevitable knockout.
His offense was not major—his opponent suffered nothing more than the loss of consciousness he would have otherwise have suffered at some point later in the fight.
Still, there must be a price—if a man beats another man by employing illegal tactics, will there not always be a shadow in his own pride after the win?