Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami (Documentary Review)

Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami documents how and why most of the world knows Ali as the greatest boxer of all time. Going back to a time of severe racial tension, filmmakers Gaspar Gonzalez and Alan Tomlinson explore the beginning and rise of Ali – and the town where only a man like Ali could be believed in.

The film incorporates interviews from some of the most fascinating people that knew Ali personally. Unique characters themselves, anecdotes from ringside doctor Pacheco, trainer Angelo Dundee, and others provide vivid recollections of Ali’s lifestyle and fights. In addition, narrations from biographers provide context and a sense of the African-American experience during the 1960’s, a time when even young Ali returning home with the gold medal from the 1960 Olympics is refused from “whites only” restaurants.

In the words of Pacheco, Miami’s Fifth Street Gym was the island of democracy. With this gym Ali found his identity. Fifth Street gym becomes the backdrop where Ali’s trainer, Dundee encouraged his unorthodox boxing style, which has influenced not just boxers, but all kinds of athletes to this day. Throughout the film, original footage of Ali’s dramatic stage presence shows how he captivated both sports writers and audiences, forcing them to either love him or hate him.

This film also includes Ali’s relationship with Malcom X, membership to the Nation of Islam, and refusal to join the United States Army to fight in the Vietnam War. Also, his first championship fight against Sonny Liston is revisited, and it still carries its sense of suspense. Watching the fight again, it is evident why Ali proved his self-proclaimed title of “the greatest.” For the time, his inventive style was unorthodox and appeared clumsy; however, his motions blended beautifully with fierce counter jabs that knocked unsuspecting fighters to the floor.

Muhammad Ali: Made in Miami shows how Ali is truly more than a boxer. He has done what few athletes have been able to do; he transcended the sport and became a symbol for inspiration. Seamlessly, this film extends its exploration of Ali with the culture and perspective of the time period in which he lived. Audiences can now understand the forces that shaped the great American icon.

Also, be sure to check out our interview with the creators of the documentary.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts