Friday, April 10, 2009

They Were Fighting For The Heavyweight Championship Of Each Other: Thrilla In Manila

When it comes to boxing, there's little question that HBO is at the top of their game. They've done it again with their documentary "Thrilla in Manila" which premieres Saturday night at 8 PM. It goes behind the scenes of the legendary final fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in the Philippines as well as the bitter rivalry between the two fighters.

Simply stated, this documentary makes for fascinating viewing. It delves into the broken relationship between Ali and Frazier - mostly from Frazier's point of view. To call Frazier bitter would be an understatement however he isn't unjustified. Viewers get a look at Ali that shows a side not often considered or known by those who fete him as a hero. He attacked his former friend using insults that were not just personally degrading but also racist and opened a rift that has yet to be closed. This was especially surprising considering how much Frazier supported him during his suspension by giving him money and fighting for his reinstatement.

Interviews with members of both camps as well as Imelda Marcos and Ali autobiographer Thomas Hauser give insight into the politics behind the fight, a relationship that went from brotherhood to contempt and the divergent paths taken by the two fighters after Manila. 

Thrilla in Manila
Uploaded by HBOclips

Thrilla in Manila premieres on HBO at 8:00 PM Saturday night.

Stick around afterwards for Pacquiao/Hatton 24/7 at 9:30 PM. It'll be hard to match De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7 due to the lack of crazy ass Mayweather but we have faith in Pacquiao. Let's hope for some celebrity cameos from Hatton fans Wayne Rooney and Oasis. 

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