What I love most about boxing is the stories. Stories of determination, perseverance and inspiration. A great story is told in the 2016 film, Bleed For This, the remarkable true story about five time world champion, Vinny Pazienza.
The film, by Ben Younger and produced by Martin Scorsese and Bruce Cohen, stars Miles Teller (Fantastic Four, Whiplash, Wild Dogs) as Pazienza (now known as Vinny Paz).
The storyline takes the audience down the path of Paz’s early career, losing a shot at a world title against Roger Mayweather in 1988. Cutting corners with making fight weight causes severe dehydration for Paz and he is forced to move up two weight classes.
After a successful bout at Light Middleweight, and winning the WBA world title, Paz suffers a broken neck due to a near fatal car accident.
After learning he might never walk again, Paz explores all options to making sure he will one day step back into the ring.
While Hollywood may tweak a few facts to tell you a good story, they reel you in with a glimpse into the pain, suffering and the determination for this fighter to overcome hitting rock bottom. Without giving too much away, Pazienza shows true heart to defeat all odds.
The acting from Miles Teller was spot on along with Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) as legendary trainer, Kevin Rooney. Teller didn’t oversell it, as some actors tend to do when playing a boxer.
There is a lot of footage and home movies of Paz that I’m sure Teller studied and viewers can see throughout the movie. Real life boxer Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin plays the role of Roger Mayweather, and Edwin Rodriguez plays Roberto Duran.
Try not to run to Wikipedia to study up on Vinny Paz so you can enjoy this truly remarkable comeback.