Curb Your Enthusiasm (if you can)
On April 11, HBO is showing a doc on the Thrilla in Manilla, the epic 1975 Frazier-Ali battle — the third in their “trilogy.” Here’s a description from VSL (www.veryshortlist.com), an excellent service, btw.
When Smokin’ Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali first squared off, in 1971, they were fast friends and undefeated fighters. By the time of their third fight, in the Philippines in 1975, they’d been humbled and hardened, and had turned into bitter enemies.
Ali warmed up for the bout by calling Frazier “gorilla” and “Uncle Tom.” Frazier bit his tongue and fumed. The fight was brutal; the aftermath, ugly: Today, Ali is a shadow of his former self, and just last year, Frazier was living in the back of a Philadelphia gym. The Channel 4 documentary Thrilla in Manila is fiercely partisan on Frazier’s behalf. It’s also disturbing (Frazier claims responsibility for, and revels in, Ali’s physical decline), surprising (Imelda Marcos pops up as one of the interviewees), and riveting. Don’t miss the HBO premiere, on April 11.