Sunday, August 02, 2009


Whether or not you are a sports fan, and even if you do not like boxing, ASSAULT IN THE RING is a must see HBO documentary.

I saw this excellent documentary last night. It is a compelling story on the tragic consequences of cheating. It’s about the 1983 professional boxing match between Billy Collins, Jr. and Luis Resto, and its tragic aftermath.

Collins was an up-and-coming undefeated Irish fighter from Tennessee. Resto was a journeyman Puerto Rican fighter from New York. Collins was heavily favored to win, but that fight spelled the end of his pugilistic career.

What made this fight different was that the Resto camp cheated. Panama Lewis, Resto’s trainer, removed some of the padding from his fighter’s gloves and added some hard plaster to his hand wraps. Collins was beaten so severely in the face that he would never be able to fight again. He was killed in an automobile accident a few months later. Resto and Lewis both ended up in prison.

After Resto was released from prison he was a washed-up bum in New York. After his release, Lewis moved to Miami where he continued training fighters, although he was barred from working in the ring.

The documentary follows Resto in his long journey of coming to grips with what happened and his attempt to reunite with his two estranged sons and their families some 25 years after that fateful fight. The documentary also covered Resto’s tries at making amends to the Collins family and his confrontation with Panama Lewis in Miami.

As I mentioned, you don’t have to be a sports fan to be enthralled by this documentary. With so much cheating going on in major league baseball, pro football, cycling, and in the Olympic games, ASSAULT IN THE RING is must viewing for the whole family. Resto’s story is heart-rendering. It offers a valuable lesson on the consequences of cheating, a lesson that your youngsters would do well to absorb.

Check your HBO listings. I’m sure this documentary will be repeated several times this week and beyond.

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