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'Assault in the Ring' compelling

Review by David L. Hudson Jr.

Powerful, provocative and penetrating. Compelling, controversial and commanding. Assault in the Ring tells the unforgettable and tragic story of the Luis Resto-Billy Collins 1983 bout in which Resto pounded the unbeaten prospect Collins over 10 rounds in an upset at Madison Square Garden.

Later it was revealed that padding had been removed from Resto’s gloves. Collins career ended after the beating and later his life tragically ended in a car accident.

Resto served time and suffered a life ban from the sport that was the focus of his life. He has become a tragic figure, struggling to survive mentally for choices made years earlier.

Assault in the Ring tells the story largely through the eyes of Resto, as he attempts to come to grips with his role in the horror that also ended his boxing career. The subhead on the DVD tells it all: “seeking redemption for an unforgiveable crime.” Resto attempts to redeem himself through a harrowing journey. He attempts to make peace with Collins family and later confronts his former trainer Panama Lewis in an unforgettable scene. Resto later reveals a startling admission that goes beyond the removal of padding from the gloves.

While Collins obviously was the ultimate victim, director/producer Eric Drath’s masterpiece shows how Resto has suffered too through the years. The depiction of Resto sitting by Collins grave, muttering “sorry Billy” may sear the souls of many a viewer. It will cause viewers to reflect more deeply on one of the greatest scandals in recent boxing history.

The bonus 2 DVD set features interviews with trainer Freddie Roach, television analyst Teddy Atlas and others. Viewers can also watch the Resto-Collins bout on a separate disc. This DVD is a can’t-miss buy for boxing and non-boxing fans alike. You don’t have to be an aficionado of pugilism to appreciate the compelling human drama of this story.


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