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Champions Forever (1989)

7.5
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September 1989 (USA)  »

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Mästare för evigt  »

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Made me want to be a boxer
27 March 2001 | by (Sheffield, England) – See all my reviews

This is undoubtedly the best sports video I have seen in my life. It is a documentary that charts the careers of 5 of the greatest boxers ever to enter the ring. Every time I watch this it makes me long for the boxing days of old.

The soundtrack to this documentary is excellent and helps elevate some of the moments from 'good' to 'great'.

What I like best is how fluently the story is told. No matter how many times I watch it I will never get bored. The story starts in the present(relatively) in 1989 when Larry Holmes is knocked out by Tyson at Caesars Palace. After an interview with Holmes, we are taken right back to the beginning as Cassius Clay wins the Olympic gold medal(1960). As expected, Muhammad Ali is the main focus(having been the only one to fight every other boxer present). However I didn't feel that anyone had been left out. Having watched this video I have a new found respect for all of the fighters. Ali has always been outspoken, it is perhaps more interesting to hear what these 'quiet' men have to say about things.

Trying to fit the lives of 5 fighters into one documentary is an extremely difficult job, but it is done superbly here. You get enough history of each fighter to understand how much is at stake, but not so much that it disturbs the pace. Also clips of world events(Vietnam War etc) give a good idea of the decade being dealt with. Each of the fighters are given a chance to speak individually. This makes for some very honest revelations that are completely free of the cliches that blight modern sports. They are also given a chance to talk in groups which makes for some extremely funny exchanges(especially when Norton or Ali are involved).

Surely every video of boxing legends should be entertaining to a boxing fan?

I have watched many other boxing videos that fall far below the standard of this one.

Either they have:

(a)too much boxing and not enough insight. This is entertaining, but after you finish watching you haven't learnt anything you didn't know already.

(b) too much talking and not enough boxing. This just gets very boring. A lot of the time they retread old ground and focus on irrelevant points.

Champions Forever gives you periods of talking followed by periods of boxing. This means you do not get a chance to be bored by one or the other. I feel this video is a must-see for boxing fans and I strongly recommend it to sports fans or anyone else.


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