You know the famous names — Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Bernard Hopkins — and you may even known their stories, but you’ve never seen them told quite like they are in “Champs,” an eye-opening documentary from Bert Marcus that goes ringside with an angle you don’t see coming. And today we’ve got the exclusive poster for the film that should be on your radar.
While we all may know the stories of these pugilists from their time in the spotlight, and even the backgrounds which they came from, Marcus tells his story from a sociological viewpoint. For many entering the sport, boxing is the way out of poverty, an escape from communities where there aren’t many opportunities for a better life. However, as the documentary points out, the sport doesn’t have the systemic structures in place to protect these young athletes who are not just experiencing the wider world for the first time, but fame and celebrity too. It’s a fascinating study and a picture that impressed us at the Tribeca Film Festival last year (our review is quoted in the poster below, and you can read it in full here).
The director also shared with us his thoughts on the film, which he is excited to see released next month. Here’s what Marcus said to say in a statement:
I am honored to premiere CHAMPS in March. This film was inspired by my passion to showcase the irony inherent in the sport of boxing, once heralded as the pinnacle of American athleticism and entertainment. The men and women choosing to partake in such a savage profession to escape the violence they would otherwise face in the streets is the ultimate paradox, as they are faced with the fate that befalls them as the glory fades and the harsh reality of a long-term life not much better than what came before a boxing career settles in. Through the uniquely inspiring and heart-wrenching journeys of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins, we examine their struggles through unimaginable obstacles including economic insecurity, broken homes, inaccessible education, physical or sexual abuse, crime, prison, substance abuse, financial ruin, depression and lack of self-worth. Through these plights, audience members can reflect, learn and aspire to conquer their own struggles, stereotypes and failures. Moreover, the goal is that collectively through the introspection and knowledge availed by the film, we as a society can resolve to overcome even the most daunting of circumstances and discern for ourselves what it truly means to be a champion.
Featuring interviewers with the aforementioned boxers, along with Mark Wahlberg, Denzel Washington, Ron Howard, Spike Lee, Mary J. Blige, and 50 Cent, “Champs” opens in theaters and VOD platforms March 13th from Amplify and Starz Digital Media.