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Champs (2014)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, Sport | 13 March 2015 (USA)
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A documentary on boxing greats Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins examines their lives in and out of the ring.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bernard Hopkins ...
Larry 'Ratso' Sloman ...
Dalton Conley ...
Naazim Richardson ...
John Pfaff ...
Himself (as Curtis Jackson)
George Willis ...
Al Bernstein ...
Francisco Aguilar ...


This epic story of the rise of three of the most successful boxers of our time challenges the perception of the American Dream through the intimately personal life trajectories of Evander Holyfield, Bernard Hopkins and Mike Tyson. Much like modern day gladiators, our protagonists come from the bottom rungs of society, choosing the path of boxing or "the poor man's sport," as a last resort, and an alternative to much bleaker options such as prison or, worse yet, death. Following these fighters' paths from success to self-discovery, they recount their battles while illuminating our country's most critical social issues, including the struggle with poverty, racial inequality, broken homes, drug and alcohol abuse, violence and the failures of our educational and prison systems. CHAMPS unearths the unique resilience of these men in the face of life's most difficult obstacles - from personal finance to sustained brain injury - and highlights how our society and their industry exalts their ... Written by C. Hamar

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Release Date:

13 March 2015 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mistrzowie  »

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Did You Know?


Mike Tyson: It all comes down to family, love, and forgiveness, and respect.
Mike Tyson: Putting a gasp between who I am and who I wanna be.
Mike Tyson: Find different ways to become more conscious about myself.
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User Reviews

Boxing Through The Prism Of Society (and Vice Versa)
26 February 2017 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I've always been fascinated by the sport of boxing. My father was an enormous fan of the sport and introduced me to it, and even though I grew up in an era when the sport was practically non- existent, I remember as a young child being fascinated by the exploits of pugilists. I think it's because boxing is as much about the stories behind the fighters as it is the fights. "Champs" does a remarkable job of capturing that essence, telling the story of three boxers through the prism of their life experiences.

The three fighters this documentary primarily focuses on are Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Bernard Hopkins. Director Bert Marcus is fantastic at telling each individual story within the context of the over-arching theme, which is that boxers primarily come from "broken" environments, rise to fame astronomically, and then usually flare out just as quickly. A version of that story happened to each of the three subjects...Tyson's troubles are well-known, Hopkins spent many years behind bars, and Holyfield was at one point nearly penniless. It is quite interesting to see how three individuals can take different routes to boxing stardom, yet all be pretty much motivated by the same themes: violence, money, and "getting out of the old neighborhood".

Besides the stories of those three fighters, this film spends a good deal of time looking at the socio-economic aspects of boxing. Promoters and trainers are interviewed in order to get their opinion on where the sport was, where it is, and where it might be headed. Again, the common theme here is that "rich people don't box", but rather it is "tough/gangster kids" who are drawn to the sport for the cathartic release of energy and the sense of structure, family, and discipline it can provide.

Perhaps the most moving parts of the documentary, however, come in seeing how these three fighters have gained wisdom over the years. Especially touching is the incredible transformation of Mike Tyson. As a young boxer, he was like a caged animal. When mentor Cus D'Amato died, the animal was let out of the rage and he became a street thug in rich man's clothing...terribly profane and hardly even able to utter a coherent thought. Nowadays, though, Tyson really seems to have taken control of his life. He can speak intelligibly, shows outright intelligence when it comes to matters of boxing, and is self-aware enough to have strong emotions about his past and his family. The transformation is truly staggering from where he was to where he is.

So, if you are at all a fan of the "sweet science", you should give this one a watch. Or, even if you just like stories of loss, hope, and redemption. It truly will give you a lot to think about, and will more than likely stir some emotions along the way.

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