No Mas Documentary on Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard was the best show of the year so far.
Producer/director Eric Drath has scored a knockout, bring us into the homes and minds into two of the greatest boxers of all time.
Boxing was never better than the June l980 Showdown in Montreal. I will never forget the night I saw this fight live on closed-circuit at Totowa Ice World with my dad and brother and best friend Mike Pinto and his dad. No event in my life captured my fancy like this fight and it more than lived up to all expectations.
On the other side of the token, the honor and integrity of the sport may never have been shamed as badly as it was by the infamous No Mas rematch in November the same year.
This film by Drath needed to be made and he was the man to do it. He could not have done a better job putting all the pieces together in his own creative way. Seeing the old and new footage of these two ring superheroes was captivating and mesmerizing. I remember Mike Tyson saying last year that the first fight in Montreal was the most exciting night he ever experienced in boxing, even more so than some of his own historic triumphs. That's saying a lot.
The second fight Duran-Leonard fight was odd, weird, frustrating, if not mysterious. Even Tyson said he felt bad after watching it. To see Duran actually try to touch gloves nicely with Leonard before the first round in New Orleans is simply hard to believe, when you consider how nasty, ferocious and downright hateful Duran was towards Leonard before their first battle.
There are so many highlight moments in No Mas, Leonard flying down to Panama for the first time to meet Duran. Seeing Duran's home and him giving the view a mini tour. The early films of Duran's training. Mike Tyson's excited commentary about Duran and Leonard especially Duran who he said made him want to be a boxer.
We will never understand why Duran agreed to face Leonard in the rematch so quickly when he had all the negotiating leverage. He was clearly not in optimum shape after partying much of the summer after the biggest win of his career. Why didn't Duran just wait till the next year? Why did he rush back to the ring?
Perhaps it was a controlled event as several experts and fans in the film imply. An event to showcase Leonard avenging his only loss in order to re-install him as the Face of American boxing.
Whatever the truth, the first fight was one of the best fights in boxing history and No Mas was one of the most confusingly bizarre.
Boxing will always be the theater of the unexpected and most exciting and electrifying sport on the planet - when it's right.
The Duran vs. Leonard rivalry embodies the best and worst of boxing, the sport we all love and hate sometimes.
If you haven't seen this film which runs 90 minutes, you simply must. And you'll wish it was longer too.
I give it five out of four stars. You will too.