Five champions together for the last time! Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Ken Norton. For more than twenty years, these kings of boxing ruled the ring as they passed the world heavyweight title fr... more »om one to the other. Now, for the first time, see them all come face to face--gloves off--in an unprecedented video event, hosted by Reggie Jackson. In "Champions Forever," you'll discover the real men behind the legends, uncover the hidden anguish and secret passions that drove them to greatness. Hear them talk about themselves--and each other--with surprising candor. Relive the most thrilling moments from dozens of their greatest bouts and hear the fascinating truth about how these legends felt when they squared off to do battle. This is unlike any sports video you've ever seen, an exciting, emotional odyssey through the awesome careers of five bigger than life heroes who, for millions of us, will always be "Champions Forever."« less
"Champions Forever" Documents the Best Five Boxers of the 6
James Koenig | Minnesota | 08/18/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Champions Forever" may be the best boxing documentary of all time. Exquisitely done, it features the five greatest heavyweight boxers of the 1960's and 1970's. The story focuses primarily on M. Ali, beginning with his huge upset victory over the sullen and powerfully intimidating Sonny Liston, and then proceeds to document the rise of Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Kenny Norton, and finally Larry Holmes. While the story seems to revolve around the rise and eventual fall of M. Ali, the other four greats are featured in their biggest fights as well. There are interviews with all five men, and they bring timely commentary to their lives and fights that is both enlightening and informative.
In the heavyweight division, there was no greater period than that of the 60's, 70's, and 80's. These five fighters ruled the heavyweight division during this time, and their fights with each other are now considered classics nin fisticuffs. In watching the documentary, Foreman comes off as the most well-rounded of the five. He shows candor (admitting his knees were shaking when he met Frazier for the first time!), humility (praising the other fighters frequently), and a terrific sense of humor (he has a 1,000-watt smile). The bad blood that Frazier still carries for Ali is clearly evident in his interviews. Frazier believes that Ali verbally taunted and abused him unnecessarily in the build-up to their three intense fights. While Ali says he was only trying to build the gate and create excitement for the fight, (as he did for all his fights), Frazier took the verbal darts personally and it is obvious that Ali's words hurt the intense pride of Joe Frazier. In fact, Frazier is so torn on this that he actually expresses a macabre sense of satisfaction that his powerful punches may have caused Ali's Parkinson's Syndrome. Frazier comes across as a bitter and "small" man based on his comments about Ali. Ali's comments are painful to watch, as he is obviously suffering from the Parkinson's affliction and has little expression and haltering speech. Larry Holmes clearly suffers being in the shadow of the great Ali, and he is somewhat bitter like Frazier, not so much towards Ali, but towards boxing in general, as contemporary boxing did not recognize his greatness at the time. Kenny Norton was champion by default, being "awarded" the title by boxing associations when Ali first retired, and his inclusion is this group may be somewhat questionable. I do not mean to take anything away from Norton, as he gave Ali and Holmes fights that were wars. However, Norton was easily beat by Foreman, while he and Frazier never battled. (I suspect Frazier's powerful shots would have stopped Norton, who was not a KO specialist). Norton's inclusion in this group is clearly due to his three epic battles with the great Ali. Norton's awkward style gave Ali fits and Ali could not dominate Norton with his jab and speed as he did others. Boxing enthusiasts believe Norton won 2 of 3 of their fights, the last fight being "awarded" to the clearly aging Ali based mor on his legend than his ability.
While this is the best boxing film I have ever viewed, I would have loved to have seen two other boxers included, those being Sonny Liston and Mike Tyson. The inclusion of these two men would have summed up the years 1960 - 1990. Obviously, Liston was dead long before this film was made (1989), and Tyson was the current heavyweight champion in 1989. If the film is ever remade (doubtful), it would nice for the sake of completeness to have the life stories of both Tyson and Liston included.
If you were alive during the 70's and want to relive the excitment of that period of boxing, there is no better film to watch than this one. If you are a younger boxing fan and have heard about the great fighters of the 70's, this is the film to watch to learn about these greats. There is simply no better documentary of that period than this one.
Jim "Konedog" Koenig, (Boxing Fan and Fight-Film Collector)"
A Very Uncomfortable Dinner But Great Fights
Buster Paris | Boston, MA | 06/01/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A Very Uncomfortable Dinner But Great FightsGreat DVD - 4.25 StarsThis is difficult to review - some of the greatest scenes I've ever seen and some of the hardest scenes I've ever seen.Here's what's hard- watching what's happened to Muhammad. It's just difficult and sad. He's still the Greatest and still likes to clown, but you just can't help but wonder why or what if...
What's also painful is watching the dinner with these great champions. It's good and bad, but mostly just really uncomfortable.On to the good.I've never seen so much great fight footage on one DVD.You don't get entire fights, but get the highlights. It's absolutely amazing and worth getting the DVD (or VHS) for this only - everything else is gravy.An absolute must have for any boxing fan.
A great item for any Ali fan - there's actually one moment where Ali talks about coming back and taking on Tyson - and I found myself excited and actually thinking how great that would be...and then waking up to the reality and silently laughing at myself.If you're a George Foreman fan I think you'll want this as well. George comes across as not only a great champion, but a humble and incredible man as well."
Lakan Kildap | Miami, Florida United States | 11/24/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is basically the tale of the five - Ali, Frazier, Norton, Foreman, Holmes - dominant heavyweights during the 70's, generally regarded the golden age of the division. Of course, Ali and Frazier began their careers in the 60's, but it was in the 70's that all 5 of them occupied the galaxy at the same time and had to inevitably fight one another.This DVD differs only slightly from the Laserdisc version, but it is the extra interview that makes the difference. It is interesting to hear at least three (or four) of the five wonder how they would have against Jack Johnson. Of course, Johnson was the first black heavyweight champion, but more than that, he was a mold breaker in terms of his defense and in his ability to fight the "mental" game. He knew how to stoke the public and press, literally he was ahead of his time, he was Ali before there was Ali. (And there are not a few computer simulated fights by magazines that would have Johnson beating Ali.)In the interviews, we also share the sadness that Larry Holmes felt while he was champion, where most of the time he was considered an Ali clone and never really on his own merits. Then, before he even got his due, Mike Tyson eclipsed him. Larry Holmes may have been "technically the best" of the five, and in the interview, he illustrates this clearly; when they still sparred, not only can he block Ali's jab, but he can return it stiffer and sharper. They're about the same in size and reach, and it was not until he was 38 that Holmes was knocked out, so they may have been equal in the density of their chins. Although they're not exactly similar stylistically, Holmes had Ali's 1960's athleticism. Holmes edge? The jab, and the power in both hands overall is just a tad greater.In the end, that is about my only complaint about this movie. It's that the four other fighters merely serve as a footnote to the great career of Ali. Even that segment where we see Joe Frazier in his brutal duel with Jerry Quarry and his victory over Jimmy Ellis, all we hear is the voice of Ali (while he toured the college circuit) asking students "Who's the champion of the world?!" It's too contrived and in my opinion, bad taste. Even the footages of the political events during the 1960's-early 70's were no doubt there to illustrate Ali's social consciousness and the sacrifice he made for his political position.Ali was indeed a great fighter, definitely the greatest heavyweight, but his greatness was fulfilled by his duels with the fighters who shared the billing with him in the movie. An even presentation would have been welcome, after all, Ali does not need any help in the promotion department anymore.Overall, this is a good DVD. However, as a boxing fan, you cannot help but wonder, after watching them in action, how the following matchups, which never happened, would have gone:-Norton vs. Frazier (they were basically stablemates under Eddie Futch, which probably explains why they never met in a formal match)-Foreman vs. Holmes anytime around 1974-78. This one, I would have paid to see.Enjoy."
Pretty Decent Tribute to 5 Great Heavyweights
Ensio N Mikkola | Gaithersburg, MD United States | 07/27/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I recently purchased the "Champions Forever" DVD and was disappointed. I was hoping for more fight footage. I remember watching the video when I was a kid and thinking there was much more boxing, perhaps even complete bouts. Imagine my excitement when I saw the list of fights (even amateur ones) and my disappointment when I realized how chopped up they were. Somebody needs to make a DVD of classic fights. Hey, anybody listening? But as a "time capsule" tribute, this is definitely worth owning whether you're a boxing devotee, a casual fan or don't care much for it at all. Listening to these old-timers candidly recount their greatest triumphs and smoldering defeats is worth buying this DVD. And you will be blinking back tears when you hear Ali (still relatively coherent at this point because his affliction is still in its early stages) talk about having Parkinsons syndrome. "Usually, people with Parkinsons, hands shake", he says as he demonstrates. "But look" he says, holding up his fists. "You don't see me shaking." I was also surprised at how bitter and resentful Joe Frazier still is towards Ali. There are some uncomfortable moments in both the sitdown interview and the dinner special."
Todd Honig | Hollywood, CA USA | 12/18/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I don't know if this film had a theatrical release or not but if it did and it wasn't at least nominated by the Academy for Best Documentary of the Year as far as I'm concerned the makers of this film were robbed."