Give this four-part Showtime documentary points for effort, though like any good sports metaphor, the parallels to greed and “Morning in America” only go so far. What is left, fortunately, is the often fascinating look at these larger-than-life personalities—who are involved in memories, heard but not seen—whose reputations benefit from competing with each other.
Leonard’s media savvy, advertising and lucrative payoffs provoked jealousy among his peers, but also made him an extremely inviting rival. Yet when Leonard wasn’t available—which included multiple retirements and eventual withdrawal—the other three sparked memorable brawls, going up and down in weight classes and creating classic fights that flood back in while watching well-curated clips. come.
Showtime boxing analyst Steve Farhood called that stretch “perhaps the greatest period in the history of the sport”, highlighted by the unforgettable Leonard-Duran bouts in 1980, which marked the beginning of the quartet’s decade.
In the midst of juicy talk, Duran recalls taunting Leonard’s wife, luring her into a toe-to-toe slugfest in their first contest, and how she was undermined for a rematch—the end of its infamous “No Mass”. With – 50 pounds to make up the qualifying weight after dropping.
“He got inside my head,” Leonard says of the fight he lost before humiliating Duran in their next encounter. “He got under my skin.”
Beyond the transition from Carter to the Reagan administration, “The Kings” delves into the relationship between the Americas and Duran’s native Panama, fueling the hostility toward the Americas that inspired him.
There is also a serious aspect to the brutality of boxing, and the toll of precision blows on fighters is evidence of years. Analysts speak of these boxers being “addicted” to the thrill, money and competition, in almost every case (Hagler being an exception) hanging on past their primes.
The interviews also underscore the camaraderie that eventually emerged between these men, who chased each other outside the ring—in search of the next big payday—as aggressively as they fought inside it.
“Only they understand what they’re doing,” says trainer Teddy Atlas.
“The Kings” gets a little deluded with the political and cultural overtones of that, but by the time the final bell rings, viewers will get a better understanding of this generation of boxing royalty as well.
“The Kings” premieres June 6 at 8 p.m. ET on Showtime.