Boxing World Champions As Vietnam War Movies
With all the pound-for-pound lists and my body is pretty tired today, I decided to look at the fighters who hold a ton of belts look to find an equal counterpart to them in terms of Vietnam war movies, something I have been binging this past week or so in preparation for the Fourth of July.
So here are my thoughts.
Heavyweight: Tyson Fury | Apocalypse Now
The modern great at heavyweight, Tyson Fury, is not unlike the best Vietnam war movie ever made, Apocalypse Now! The two share iconic quotes, life lessons, and defined a generation while setting a standard for all after. Fury is modern boxing greatness and will be the heavyweight golden standard we judge all by after Lennox Lewis. I believe Fury is the best right now.
Cruiserweight: Oleksandr Usyk | We Were Soldiers
Usyk is just as much a dog of war, as he is a boxer. Usyk has won all of his world titles on the road and his home country, Ukraine, is currently in a long-reigning war with Russia, that seemingly will have massive long-term impacts for the rest of the world. Though We Were Soldiers is not as good as Usyk, it depicts the beginning of war in a foreign country, which is seemingly been Usyk’s entire boxing career at the highest level. Being on the road with his back against the wall, and proving people wrong, time and time again.
I wish I could give the greatest cruiserweight ever, a better film, but it just seemed to fit.
Light Heavyweight: Artur Beterbiev | Hamburger Hill
Hamburger Hill is a place you’d never want to go to. It is best thought of as a metaphor that a true place. A hill with so many dead that it resembled hamburger meat more so than the lives lost. The sublime and brutal craft of Artur Beterbiev is nothing short of a living embodiment of that hell of a place – hamburger hill.
Super Middleweight: Canelo Alvarez | Born On The Fourth Of July
Canelo will always be a hot topic in the sport of boxing, a major breadwinner, and carrying the sport on its back, for a decade now. Tom Cruise is not unlike Canelo, a leading actor, who is just as much doing the Tom Cruise thing as he is acting. Canelo is the summer movie of boxing, and Born On The Fourth Of July is a movie I have mixed feelings about, but will always be talked about, because of the names involved, not unlike Canelo Alvarez.
Born On The Fourth Of July is just as much a film about Vietnam, as it is a film about what it is to be a man in America, and it is hard to not think a whole generation of Mexican and Mexican-American look at Canelo Alvarez as a symbol of hope, strength and what is a normal standard for a man.
Middleweight: Gennadiy Golovkin | Full Metal Jacket
One of the greatest depictions of characters forced together in a short period of time while living through and taking part in a war, Stanley Kubrick’s classic, essentially asks an essential question of fighting an impossible resistance and the moral dilemma of war itself.
Golovkin is one of the most violent fighters ever, knocking out most of his opponents, thus making him an HBO centerpiece before they left boxing. That being said, Golovkin is now burnt out on all things boxing after seemingly feeling wronged by his two fights against Canelo Alvarez. A man, who was built to destroy, but now can’t unsee the politics of the sport that enables his destruction.
Super Welterweight: Jermell Charlo | Casualties of War
Jermell Charlo is one of the more sincere boxers in the sport. He is intense, and says what he feels – and oftentimes, people have trouble with the honesty, but at least he is that. Casualties Of War is a film that depicts, a Machiavellian view of the world in which, once war starts it is all about preservation and survival, as human values are lost.
The movie is bleak, and it is hard to watch – and brutally honest. When I think of both Charlo brothers, I think of the words like honest and authoritarian, both of which sum up this film.
Welterweight: Errol Spence Jr. | Platoon
The most straightforward Vietnam war movie ever, outside of documentaries, Platoon – resembles Errol Spence Jr.’s career. A decorated Olympian, who represented the U.S. surpassed Keith Thurman without even having to fight him, and now is on course to fae his generational rival, Terence Crawford. Spence is what you see, is what you get, not unlike the Oliver Stone movie.
Super Lightweight: Josh Taylor | The Deer Hunter
The Deer Hunter is a well-made film that has aged badly due to simple and unhelpful depictions views on the Vietnam War. Not unlike someone overeager to share an opinion without deep thought, Deer Hunter, let it be known how it felt about most things, and rather quickly. Taylor, an undisputed world champion, is a fantastic boxer, who has seen his social media accounts offer views that might be comparable at times to those of this movie.
Lightweight: Devin Haney | Rescue Dawn
A U.S. soldier is held captive, tortured as well as other awful things occur, during his imprisonment before leaving. Haney won all four world titles in Australia defeating George Kambosos Jnr., on enemy soil. Haney is a modern great, an entertainer, a skilled boxer, and someone who is a different level athlete than others in this sport.
Super Featherweight: Shakur Stevenson | Forrest Gump
Stevenson has the chance to be American greatness. In the realm, if things go right to a Ray Leonard or Floyd Mayweather, and be remembered as an American icon, not just a boxing icon. What is more fitting than having Forrest Gump, one of the staples of American culture over the past 40 years to symbolize a fighter, who could quite possibly be the next form of greatness in the sport?
Featherweight: Emanuel Navarette | Deathdream
Returning home more like a zombie and less like a homie is the basic concept of Deathdream, as Navarette entered our lives as a fight fan to defeat Isaac Dogboe from the b-side, on two occasions. A potential next-up great Mexican fighter is currently a cult classic-like film, who fans who identify with his fighting are hoping for him to turn into a modern Erik Morales or Marco Antonio Barrera. Navarette, the ultimate boom-or-bust guy.
Super Bantamweight: Stephen Fulton | Good Morning, Vietnam!
Having to take part in a war that was not chosen by the individuals itself, is what Robin Williams’ classic is about. Fulton holds two of the belts in this division, and now is a battle with the politics of the sport, as he hopes to become an undisputed world champion at super bantamweight, and then hopes to do it again at featherweight.
Bantamweight: Naoya Inoue | Eastern Condors
A solid movie with a mission, a set of characters, and a goal that is being worked toward – once the goal is accomplished, seemingly no one knows what they would do. Not unlike a good western, the journey is as much the point – and that sums up Inoue. One of the best modern fighters, stopping legend after legend. Inoue is a special talent, one of which we don’t fully know how to document or lament his achievements in the modern era.
At this point, it seems following Inoue’s career is as much about the journey as it is the destination, as it is nearly a movie subplot mission to find his fight at 3 or 4 am in recent memory.
Super Flyweight: Juan Francisco Estrada | The Vietnam War (PBS)
Estrada is nearly a smaller version of Juan Manuel Marquez, a boxing instructional book packaged into a fighter. It is no wonder that a PBS documentary might best suit him, as outside of the ring, I know little about Estrada. Estrada is talented, but more so a craftsman. It is simply his performance and how he performs, not unlike a historical documentary that might be shown in schools across the nation.
Flyweight: Junto Nakatani | The Little Girl of Hanoi
A deep film that depicts the trauma of war with a message of hope mixed in. Junto Nakatani looks like the next true great in the lower weights not named Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez or Joshua Franco. A deep film for
Junior Flyweight: Jonathan “Bomba” Gonzalez | American Gangster
I am not sure how it works, but I like “Bomba” Gonzalez and I like American Gangster and wanted to note both.
Mininiumweight: Petchmanee CP Freshmart | First Blood
I have always been told his film is good and have never watched it, and Petchmanee CP Freshmart I am sure is good, but I highly doubt I will watch his fight live either. A movie I will take people’s words on along with a division I will do the same.