Sunday, April 26, 2015

Thrilla in Manila

Saturday night, I watched the Thrilla in Manila. This is the story of Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier's relationship and their three fights. The film revolves around their third fight, The Thrilla in Manila, which is is consistently ranked as one of the best fights in the sport's history. The third bout was the culmination of the bitter rivalry between Ali and Frazier.

Using archival footage and interviews, the Thrilla in Manila is told from Joe Frazier's point of view; he and his son are interviewed extensively. The film was released in 2009. Frazier died from liver cancer in 2011.

Frazier and Ali had been friends in the early 70's. Frazier supported Ali when he was stripped of his boxing license for refusing to fight in Vietnam. But once Ali was back in the ring, their friendship soon turned into a vicious feud. Ali accused Frazier of being a traitor to his people and went from an anti-war and civil rights leader to an opportunist and narcissist willing to do anything to promote himself in the spotlight. Ali's antics in Manila during the run up to the fight are fantastical.

I finished reading the Ghosts of Manila in the last week. Telling the story from a slightly different perspective, the film is nice supplement to the book. Both the film and the book paint an unattractive picture of Ali. I also found footage of the entire fight on youtube. I am going to watch the whole fight in next week.

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