When Boxing Writers Talk: David P. Greisman And Tim Starks On Boxing Movies, Estelle, Shakespeare, The Super Six And More

From time to time BoxingScene’s David P. Greisman and myself gchat one another. Sometimes we talk about boxing, even. Sometimes, I publish what we say. This time, we mainly talked about boxing movies and about some upcoming bouts that make us happy. We join the boxing writers midstream, with David having just watched the trailer for “The Fighter.”

David: man, I didn’t even recognize Christian Bale in that trailer until they said it was him

me: he’s in disguise

David: a shame that there doesn’t appear to be gatti in the movie

hell, they could just show gatti-ward 1, 2 and 3 in theaters and it’d do as well.

me: apparently they don’t cover that trilogy at all

which is too bad

i think the ward story, dramatically, is interesting for him finishing on a losing note but being more popular than ever

David: the movie, or his life?

me: the movie doesn’t cover the trilogy

the trilogy’s structure is dramatically interesting

David: right. i wasn’t sure if you were referring to the movie ending with a loss in a diff fight

me: no, it seems to draw the line at him winning the title

David: the wbu.

ah well.

me: i’m just guessing

David: gotta end happy. or end sad but with a slow clap at the end

me: based on what i’ve read and stuff

David: someone on twitter said it ends with the shea neary…

you prolly saw the same thing

me: that’s the thing, right? i think ward’s particular happy ending is fascinating. he ended on a loss. but was more beloved for it than anything else.

David: he lost but was not a loser.

i don’t think anyone looked at ward as “less than” after those fights

me: right.

me: and some of the criticisms i’ve seen of the trailer are about how it looks too much like a typical boxing movie

David: that’s both fair and unfair.

every boxing movie is an underdog story, sure.

but isn’t that because so many boxers’ lives are underdog stories? overcoming the odds? working hard to better their lives?

me: yeah.

David: How many boxers, besides boxers’ sons, come from affluent backgrounds?

me: and his brother adds a different angle.

i was just reading Four Kings and Sugar Ray Leonard and his people repeatedly bitch about how tough Dickie Ecklund was. in a respectful way, mind you. like, admiring.

David: I wonder how Dickie feels about this portrayal.

I say this without having seen the movie, obviously. But it doesn’t look to be the most flattering. Then again, it’s based on truth.

me: i mean, if dickie is flattered by his portrayal, the movie is probably a lie.

David: What was your favorite boxing movie?

me: even dickie knows he was a screw-up.

rocky V


i’m kidding.

did you see that thing — you may have even told me about it — that Ricky Burns watches Rocky IV before every fight?

David: I can’t watch the Rocky movies. I just can’t. It’s like asking me to go for a long walk around Baltimore.

No, I didn’t see that.

me: but rocky V is unfairly maligned, in my view

I know. It’s true what you said about the action scenes being terrible in those.

David: Listen, Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robots watch the Rocky movies and go, “Man, that’s not realistic.”

Did you like Cinderella Man?

me: i did.

did you like that best because nobody stood around with their hands down getting walloped?

David: I thought the boxing scenes were decently done.

me: did you like ali? the michael mann movie?

David: You know, I recall that I did.

me: good boxing scenes in that one.

David: I admit to not having seen that many boxing movies. Including many of the greats. But that goes to my not having seen most movies as a whole.

What boxer should have a movie made about his life next?

me: you’ve done raging bull at least? ranked highly not only as a boxing movie but amongst all movies.

David: Do you do the Gatti story? Is it too similar, in ways, to Ward’s?

no, never seen Raging Bull.

blasphemy, I know.

me: no worries. i think it’s slightly overrated. but worth seeing.

and gatti… no happy ending there.

David: no.

me: it still hurts me.

i mean that. i’m not being sappy.

David: and again (I sound like Teddy Atlas there), i’d rather just see a bunch of Gatti fights.

what boxers, then?

me: yeah. the story of gatti was more what he did in the ring.

David: The Peterson brothers one day?

Bernard Hopkins?

me: “For the balls-punching scene, what I need you to do, Lil Bow Wow, is…”

B-Hop! Good one.

David: I think that’d work.

complete antihero.

How could we have missed it…

the Manny Pacquiao story.

me: there’s already a movie in the philippines tho right?

David: What would Floyd Mayweather’s review of it be?

“A real ‘man bites dog’ story.”

is there?

well dang.

me: i’d watch the Peter Buckley story.

which, strangely, had a happy ending too.

David: nice.

opening theme song?



why him instead of Reggie Strickland?

me: you could make a good art movie about Chad Dawson. no dialogue, Hamlet angle, etc.

David: wait, what’s the Hamlet angle for Chad Dawson?

me: he has to consider whether he will throw a punch.

David: oof.

me: this is coming from The World’s Only Chad Dawson Fan, too.

David: To throw. Perchance to win. Aye, there’s the glove.

me: Dude, you know your Shakespeare.

David: Not as well as others do, but I did take it in college.

me: anyway, the person I’d been thinking of:


Imagine him, going around threatening everyone. Like, at 7/11 or CVS.

me: It would be a documentary, of course.

David: Why would Vic Darchinyan threaten people at 7/11 or CVS?

And would this also be called “Raging Bull”?

That’d just be confusing.

Though maybe DeNiro looks more like Darchinyan now in his old age.

me: You’re right. Confusing.

“Raging Bull 2?”

David: Hey, if they can do Wall Street 2.

Speaking of sequels…

me: Armenians are just usually great characters in movies, too.

David: You’re finally going to get Williams-Martinez 2.

me: Not the most flattering, but.

David: Though at this point it’d be Martinez-Williams 2.

me: Yeah!

That’s the way the posters are, in fact.

David: Is that the one fight you’re most looking forward to to finish out 2010?

me: Martinez is listed first.

David: As he should be.

me: Hells to the yes.

No, Paul should! He won the first fight.

David: Martinez is the champion.

The champion gets listed first.

me: But in rematches, the winner of the first fight usually gets listed first.

There are conflicting poster-naming-precedents here.

David: That’s because sometimes in the rematch the winner is a champion.

And the rest of the time he’s, well, the winner.

me: PS the name of Khan-Maidana is a huge upgrade from recent GBP crap. “Lightning and Thunder.”

David: Wasn’t that Gatti-Mayweather?

Khan-Maidana: Who R U Picking This Time?

me: Screw it, I love Martinez but I’m 100 percent in the Williams camp. Your precedents can take a hike. PWILL

I keep trying to make #whippoorwill happen on Twitter, like fetch

anyway, didn’t GBP try to re-use Who R U Picking for Mosley’s last fight too?

for the website or something?

David: I think they should’ve just called Mosley vs Mora Why R U Watching?

me: Y R U Watching.

David: You’re a good editor.

me: only 100 thou.

David: You should work for Sports Illustrated.

me: He corrected it!

David: Because it was a mistake? Or because people raked him over the coals?

me: You always seem worried about me giving you the Fire Joe Morgan treatment. You’d really have to start messing up for me to do that. You’d have to go way, way off the rails, son.

I dunno why. It took him a day.

Wait, is WILLIAMS-martinez II the fight you’re looking forward to most? That was rude of me.

David: Sports Illustrated used to have such great boxing coverage.

In its best days, they’d go late so they could get color photography from an Ali fight — FLOWN in by a private plane in the middle of a snowstorm.


MARTINEZ-Williams 2 is something to ease the bitter pill that has been 2010.

I’m very much looking forward to it.

But I don’t think we should forget Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Michael Katsidis.

That, sir, could be war.

me: There are some folk who don’t like it. Don’t get it.

David: Are you some folk?

What’s their rationale?

I’d rather Marquez be at 135 than at 140.

me: No, no, I’m the kind of folk who digs Marquez-Katsidis a lot.

Especially since ANDRE BERTO is on the undercard.

David: Oh man.

Against Freddy Hernandez.

me: The seething rage against that guy.

David: Count me in.

me: He’s earned most of it, don’t get me wrong.

David: Honestly, Celestino Caballero vs. Jason Litzau isn’t much better.

me: No sir.

David: But at least Caballero’s getting some TV exposure.

me: Also, both fighters who should’ve taken short money but didn’t.

David: Litzau, meanwhile, should have a boxing movie, too.

Starring Woody Harrelson.

me: Litzau’s nickname is “The American Boy.” You know what I like about that song? She says, “I just met this 5 foot 7 guy he’s just my type.”

David: This has not been a great year for boxing. But at least we’re ending on a decent note. Maybe next year fighters will start to take short money. Maybe next year fighters will actually agree to fight other top fighters.

me: as a 5 foot 7 guy I want all girls to be more like Estelle.

David: hah! nice.

me: where you at on the bantam tourney?

David: And as your 5-foot-7 friend, I concur.

me: I thought you were more like 5’8″.

David: When I stretch.

I’d prefer a Super Six. I’m happy this tournament is happening. It doesn’t decide who the best is, but it gives us fights between top fighters. In the end, I appreciate that

. And more than any event. More than us playing managers…

me: Interesting. I thought I was the last person to like the Super Six structure.

David: That’s what we should want.

Well, who was the best fighter after Round One?

Froch Wins. Kessler loses.

me: I think it’s offered these rich storylines you don’t get anywhere else.

David: Round two?

Kessler wins. Froch loses.

Who’s to say Andre Ward doesn’t lose in Round 3?

Styles make fights. Dominance is about duration.

me: I think he has the best chance of losing to Dirrell as opposed to anyone else.

David: That’s IF we can get Ward and Dirrell in the ring together. I read that there are two possible locations. But nothing’s been announced.

me: Let’s do that, then.

David: If we don’t get Ward-Dirrell, I can just imagine how the movies of their lives will be told.

As a double feature:

They start with “Great Expectations.”

They end as “Inglorious Basterds.”

me: Because of the scalping and shooting Hitler in the face until it’s mush!

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board (http://www.tbrb.org). He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.