I watched a new documentary Facing Ali told from the perspective of 10 champions or top contenders that fought him. I recommend it highly, mostly because Ali, the man, is incredible and awe-inspiring, so any way you try to tell a story about him, it will be damn interesting, especially if you’re into combat sports yourself.
The man is a hero and a rare kind of athlete that transcends the sport. However, there was something about this movie that really made me think. One little fact about boxing is obvious but I kind of forgot it given my relatively recent fascination with all things MMA and grappling. The fact is that championships bouts used to be 15 rounds. That’s 45 minutes. And anywhere from 500 to 1000 punches thrown in a fight (depending on the weight class and style). That’s compared to 5 round, 25 minute championship fights in the UFC. Given those stats, I began to appreciate even more the discussion they had in this film about the mental part of the game, the will to survive, to come back, and to overcome incredible amounts of punishment.
It seems that the only thing better than Ali’s hand speed was his chin and his heart.
Here’s a trailer: