Tag Archives: Documentaries

Boxer’s Suspension Recalls Sad Story of Billy Collins

Boxer Antonio Margarito had his license suspended Wednesday by the California State Athletic Commission because a plaster-like substance was found under the boxer’s hand wraps before his loss last weekend to “Sugar” Shane Mosley. Thankfully it was found before the fight. The incident is reminiscent of the sad story of Billy Collins and Luis Resto.

In April of 2008, former welterweight boxer Luis Resto admitted that the tape used to wrap his hands before mauling Billy Collins in a ten-round bout held in the summer of 1983 had been soaked in plaster or Paris. It was previously known that Resto’s gloves had been meddled with as well; each glove had two inches of padding removed.

In 1986, Resto and his trainer were convicted of assault and both men served 2 and a half years in prison. Resto never boxed again.

The damage to Collins was severe and likely contributed to his death:

During the fight Collins had suffered a torn iris and permanently blurred vision, which prevented him from boxing again. After losing two jobs in a short time after the fight he began smoking marijuana and drinking heavily. His violent mood swings threatened his marriage. Finally, on March 6, 1984, he crashed his car into a culvert near his home in Antioch, Tennessee; a suburb of Nashville. He was killed on impact. Many commentators, as well as Collins’ family, believe that the loss of his livelihood broke him psychologically.[1]

Collins loss to Resto was later thrown out and Collins died undefeated, 14-0.

Resto told the sad tale of his despicable deed to Collins’ widow in 2007, during the filming of a documentary called Cornered (trailer) about the fight. “During the fight, Billy told [his father and trainer Billy Collins Sr.] it felt like he was getting hit with rocks,” she said. “Now we know he really was getting hit with rocks. It was that much worse.”

“My boy would have been world champion. He would have been great,” Collins’ father later told The Tennessean. “I fought it for 20 years and couldn’t beat the system. I just gave up on it. It shoulda been an open and shut case, but there was no justice. It’s still hounding me.”

Maher Takes on Religion in New Film

Bill Maher, a man who I firmly believe is moving comedy forward by sucking it dry of all funniness, has a new film coming out in which he engages religious people all over the world on the subject of whether or not what they believe is ridiculous.

Director Larry Charles (also directed Borat) describes the project:

What do you believe, why do you believe it, and why do you need to believe it? Can we be good without God? Is religion a calling or a mental illness? Were Jesus, Moses and Mohammed prophets and visionaries, or crackpot nut cases who today would be put away? Is religion an obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Comedian, acerbic commentator, raconteur, skeptic, seeker Bill Maher and I set off in search of answers to these questions in a raunchy, rude, irreverent, outrageous, and shocking nonfiction film about the greatest fiction ever told.

I have long been disappointed by the exemplars of atheism and agnosticism in our society. Some of the most famous doubters are complete douches. Maher on the other hand is firm in his beliefs and, though he has at times been rather dismissive of people of faith, he’s not unable to have a real conversation and he seems capable of seeing people of faith as human beings.

My friend Seamus O’Rourke and I had an interesting conversation about documentaries the other day. We agreed that for the most part they give people the impression that they’re watching something truthful and on the level, when most of them have obvious biases they’re not owning up to.

I think that the approach that Maher is taking here, however, is obviously not a documentary. We do need a new genre term for these personality driven non-fiction films, but I like this approach because Maher is so far out in front of it that it can’t be mistaken for anything other than something, which may or may not be interesting, that a comedian is doing.