Jay Bulger’s documentary, “CounterPunch” is an eye-opener if you’re not a boxing fan. Bulger looks at how the sport of boxing differs from other sports and how, in a time of waning popularity, boxers struggle for that dream of fame and possible fortune.
As the trailer indicates, this is a story told through three boxers: a seasoned pro, an Olympic hopeful and a young up-and-comer. Lil B-Hop (Christopher Colbert) is the prospect. Half black and half Mexican, Lil B-Hop is a former Junior Olympian, who has twice been national champion, and also was 2014 Daily News Golden Gloves winner. Cam F. Awesome (Lenroy Thompson) is the amateur and Olympic hopeful. He held the US title in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014 and the Golden Gloves in 2009, 2011 and 2013 at super heavyweight. Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillan is the professional who held the WBO middleweight title from 2012 to 2014.
According to the documentary, boxing is unlike other sports that have one governing body. Boxing has several sanctioning bodies and they all have their championships. That sets for a dizzying number of possibilities and crossovers and the matter of money makes things even more complicated.
Besides these three men, Bulgar gets commentary from famous boxers like Bernard Hopkins (The Executioner” or “The Alien” or “B-Hop”) who was middleweight champ from 1994-2005 and a professional boxer from 1988-2016′ Paulie Malignaggi, a professional boxer from 2001-2017; Olympic gold medalist (1992 Summer) Oscar De la Hoya and Olympic gold medalist (1976) Sugar Ray Leonard.
The difference in boxing management and promotion between the time of Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), the 61-year-old Leonard and the 44-year-old De la Hoya are described and weighed as we follow the three men. One of the three men will fail to make weight for his bout and that will have consequences.
You begin to wonder about the validity of the weight classes although nothing seems to be as questionable as the weight problems and practices of the wrestlers. The question of other health problems related to receiving frequent blows to the head isn’t explored thoroughly. Thankfully, no one dies in this documentary.
“CounterPunch” made its world premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival and is currently available on Netflix.