What they're saying about TitleShot now in post-production
How lucky is the boxing community now to have Gaylen Ross’s documentary Titleshot...Ross’s film chronicles the journey of Godfrey Nyakana, the then junior middleweight contender from Uganda, looking for his title shot under the tutelage of former light heavyweight contender, “Irish” Bobby Cassidy.
Boxing film TitleShot tells truest of stories..(TitleShot) focuses its lens on sides of the sweet science rarely seen at once — the triumphs, heartbreaks, and intimate behind the scenes realities of navigating the harsh realm of professional boxing ...what makes this project special is the resonance of genuine moments and unbridled emotions that the film captures in ways that only a documentary with such intimate access to the most brutal of sports can.
Boxing fans and purists will undoubtedly find TitleShot‘s time capsule aspect fascinating. Much of the film was shot at New York’s hallowed Gleason’s Gym, which throughout its history has been a hotbed for prospects, contenders, world champions, and some of the most charismatic — and colourful — figures in boxing. TitleShot features appearances by a young Shane Mosley (who spars with Nyakana), Kevin Kelley, and trainer Bob Jackson. It also offers a unique glimpse of legends no longer with us like Angelo Dundee, cut man Al Gavin, and promoter Cedric Kushner. …with fight footage and behind the scenes moments after victories and defeats, that imbue TitleShot with a unique feeling of totality. TitleShot isn’t just about Godfrey Nyakana or Bobby Cassidy. It isn’t just about the harsh realities of being a professional boxer. It’s the story of every fighter — one that’s omnipresent yet rarely told.
- The Living Daylights
An exciting new addition to the canon of great boxing films.. Ross' existing footage has the classic look of real film, no longer seen often in contemporary documentaries, where much cheaper video production has become standard. It's the perfect visual aesthetic for what is essentially a "time capsule" for a now-gone era of boxing history. -BallTribe
A story that deserves telling and to be shared with the world.. not just about boxing but about fighting for life itself! - Inside the Ropes
TitleShot isn't another Rocky, Creed, or Southpaw film - it's a real-life documentary that followed Ugandan boxer Godfrey Nyakana from fight to fight as he sought a junior-middleweight world championship. - Bad Left Hook
Have you wondered what a young Shane Mosley looks like in sparring? Or what Angelo Dundee is like behind the scenes? ... unprecedented access to Nyakana’s career, from sparring with a young Shane Mosley to pre-fight pep talks and post-fight analysis, moments rarely seen by those outside Boxing’s inner-circle. -T2T Boxing
Hands down, this is the best behind-the-scenes boxing footage I’ve ever seen.
The film is an MRI of the sport of boxing, exposing the mirage of fame and fortune as an alternative to a tough kid’s life of poverty, squalor, gangs, guns, drugs, violence, prison and the cemetery.
I especially love the happy barber shop scene illustrating what fighters mean to the people on the streets from which they hail. We see and hear the heroic status fighters reach for having the balls to climb those three courageous steps into the squared circle of truth called a boxing ring.
Then the training, the grueling, merciless, disciplined, work, learning a teachable craft to match the unteachable balls, and the self-denial necessary to chase the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s a thrilling thing to watch a kid work so hard at a gigantic championship dream.
This footage is what Shakespeare meant by “the stuff that dreams are made of.”
And then The Fight. Ah, yes, all the world’s a stage, indeed.
And The Dream ends with a knockdown on stage, all our dreams falling as if from a rooftop with this kid to the gritty canvas after a single right hand that he never saw coming, a wrecking ball instead of the crock of gold on the other side of the sky. Then seeing the kid laid out on the canvas like a patient on an operating table. Each number echoing from the referee’s mouth thumping in time with our broken hearts.
True boxing fans know that when a fighter falls face-first he almost never gets up. That this kid gets up at the eight-count tells you just how enormous was his dream. He climbs up to face humiliation rather than stay down and accept the end of the dream.
He goes out on his shield.
Tough to watch.
But you can’t stop watching. Even after he’s waved out, his pride steers him to embrace his victor. The footage of the long, endless walk to the loser’s locker room is like Orwell’s prisoner’s walk to the gallows in “A Hanging.”
The locker room scene is so loud in its agonizing silence, so profound in its sense of wordless sorrow, pity, shame, alienation, letting down of others, and bottomless failure that a single word would have ruined it.
No one does.
Here in the loser’s locker room the 10-count keeps ticking into the hundreds and thousands. It’s the knockout as a living wake. The mute manager, wordless Cassidy, the grimacing heavyweight stable mate who sees himself in a private mirror of the future, the smiling but scared young kid waiting to fight, our defeated hero with the symbolic towel wrapped around his head like a funeral shroud. These telling details, these unspoken apologies and condolences your camera preserves in cinematic amber are exactly why Red Smith, Jimmy Cannon, Jimmy Breslin, Pete Hamill, Murray Kempton always headed to the loser’s locker room after a big fight. The best sports story is always in the winner’s locker room. The best human story is always in the loser’s locker room. I have never seen the loser’s locker room portrayed like this, with all the fragile human moments adding up to a good and decent human life forever broken.
You could not duplicate this in fiction. The reason why we invest so much in fictional and athletic triumph, victory, winning is because human life is mostly a long series of defeats. So we escape into the triumphs of heroes. This documentary footage dares to linger on the bravest among us who dared to try to become a champion but going down in ultimate defeat.
Cassidy is wonderful in this because his rugged, battered, old Celtic warrior’s face is a decal of boxing that Red Smith called the “red light district of sports.” His words are just slightly mumbled like early Brando; think Terry Malloy after he sends Johnny Friendly to the can. He’s a man who tells you that losing a fight is worse than losing a woman, the way the heavyweight kid says winning a fight and having his hand raised is better than sex. These are amazing lines that Budd Schulberg couldn’t write. Because Cassidy is one of the rare success stories of boxing, a fighter who never had a title shot but found a workaday livelihood in the sport after his fighting days were done. Cassidy talks lovingly of his defeated fighter but in the painful spaces between his wise words true boxing fans know that he’s saying that a kid with a Waterford crystal chin has no future. That his career is done. The dream is shattered.
Time for the next kid.
I love the footage of the defeated kid on the subway, not in a shiny Navigator, and then blurring the speed bag and returning to doing his roadwork. That is a consoling triumph of the human will to get off the floor and back in the game. But we know that there are no more rainbows, no pot of gold, no attainable dream. The kid becomes another unknown soldier in the never-ending war of boxing.
Give him credit though he gave it his all. But like most of us this isn’t good enough to be a champion or to triumph in life. - Denis Hamill, Author and Journalist
1970s Movie Star's Journey from 'Dawn of the Dead' to Boxing's Most Famous Gym ... She and her team.. will fight for funding until the very last bell sounds! - Bleacher Report