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  “After The Last Round” DVD Update!
Free DVD with Donation For Retired Boxers Foundation

By Michele Chong - courtesy of myboxingfans

Last fall I attended a special screening in Beverly Hills for the new film “After The Last Round,” a riveting documentary about the sport we love. The gala affair was a star-studded one with an audience filled with prizefighters and boxing icons including Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Ken Norton, Danny “Little Red” Lopez, Alex Ramos, Michael Bentt, Loreto Garza, Tony “The Tiger” Lopez along with Hall of Fame referees Joe Cortez, Richard Steele and Jack Reiss, among many others as you’ll see in some photos from the first L.A. premiere.

After watching the movie, the crowd was moved by the images we saw and the stories heard on the big screen. At the time of the event, the DVD of the film was not yet available to the public. Since then, there has been a lot of interest from those in boxing circles and fans all over the world for their own copies of “After The Last Round” (ATLR), a Waterhouse Road Productions and Satellite Pictures feature directed by Ryan Pettey and produced by Patrick Moyer.

Now boxing aficionados can purchase this DVD for a donations of just 15.00 (completely tax deductable). The filmmaker has generously donated the DVDs to the nonprofit to raise funds for the organization. And in further good news I can share with you all is that every bit of your donation will benefit the nonprofit Retired Boxers Foundation (RBF), founded by Alex “The Bronx Bomber” Ramos, who is also president of the organization which aids fighters who need assistance, whether it be with housing, rehab or financial situations. I know this charitable effort is one near and dear to Alex, as well as RBF’s Executive Director Jacquie Richardson.

If you enjoy watching the “sweet science,” I encourage you to donate to the RBF and take a look at the docu-film too. Trust me, once you watch the movie you will gain new respect for all fighters who dare climb up the steps to go toe to toe against their adversaries in the ring. But in many cases it isn’t the human foes they succumb to; watching the film we are reminded of both the short-term and long-term damage the boxers face when the bell rings.

Boxing is a bloodsport, make no bones about it. Men–and women–lace up using fists as weapons. With their “killer instincts” these brave gladiators take punishing blows to their eyes, to their head to their bodies, most refusing to quit with many choosing to go out “on their shields.” And fans worldwide cheer them on, paying top dollar to sit in the arena or to shell out fifty bucks for pay-per-view broadcasts.

They choose to fight; we choose to watch.

But what really happens after that last round?

That’s what the documentary–a film festival favorite–explores.

After seeing the boxing drama, you will learn what some of the consequences are for these athletes who sacrifice their bodies, minds–and sometimes their lives in the name of victory and glory.

In fact, “After The Last Round” opens with a wide pan of thousands of rabid fans screaming in appreciation for the power punching inside the ropes. We then see great action footage of two of my favorite sluggers, the late Arturo Gatti and his ring nemesis (and later close friend) “Irish” Micky Ward. We see their bloodied and bruised faces with no quit from either of them. From this point, we watch more highlights and devastating knockouts taking place on the canvas.

Then we see the everyday after-effects of those few minutes spent in the squared circle, with Dementia Pugilistica or “Punch-Drunk Syndrome” addressed. Through firsthand accounts, the filmmakers show us a wide range of subjects from college amateurs to heavyweight contenders to world champions who have all suffered physically or mentally after lacing up.

Director Pettey introduces us to many courageous warriors including Colorado fighter DaVarryl “Touch of Sleep” Williamson, female pro fighter Kelsey Jeffries, southpaw middleweight Sugar Ray Seales, “Baby” Joe Mesi, former amateur boxer and college student Tony Bruno, and boxing brothers Phil Moyer and Denny Moyer (who passed away last year). Producer Pat Moyer’s father, “ATLR” Executive Producer Tom Moyer is a cousin of Phil and Denny.

In the film, there are many familiar faces from the boxing scene including trainer Freddie Roach, Emanuel Steward, fighters George Chuvalo, Vito Antuofermo, boxing icon Bert Sugar, and Johnny “Flash” Ortiz who elaborate on the perils of the sweet science. Hall of Fame boxing trainer Freddie Roach also suffers from the same fate as the legendary Muhammad Ali with their Parkinson’s disease.

Putting a human face to address the cumulative effects of one too many power shots to the head makes for some heartbreaking images and interviews with their family members. And sometimes all it takes is one too many gym wars or one solid punch hit in the wrong spot that can change one’s life forever. Wearing eight-ounce gloves or ten-ounce gloves, blows are thrown with bad intentions with no one really pondering the effects.

And for each boxer, the results vary. Who knows why some fighters fall into a coma after a punishing assault while others walk away on their own, seemingly unhurt. But there are also several debilitating symptoms that can affect the fighters like forgetfulness, slowed motor skills, slurred words, and that shuffled walk we’ve all seen.

I caught up with one of the pugilists who was at the first screening to shed some light on the matter. Tony “The Tiger” Lopez is a veteran of 59 pro fights and a former IBF and WBA Super Featherweight Champion. While chatting with him about the film and the arbitrary factor of who is affected and who isn’t, the three-time world titlist relives stories of his own career. Never backing down in any fight, Lopez remembers being so physically drained after many a battle that sometimes he couldn’t get out of bed, his body broken and sore for days. But once he quickly recovered, Lopez said he was back in the gym for more.

But the drive and will of these prizefighters is what makes up their warrior mentality–and sometimes that toughness is what harms them too.

“Who knows why some of us get hurt while others don’t? Everyone is built differently,” the Sacramento boxer says, trying to assess the sad circumstances that some face. “Boxing is a ‘revolving door’–99 can walk in; 98 might walk out. You just don’t know…”

Lopez enjoyed the film and was clearly affected by the messages and images it brought forth. In the panel discussion held last year, the pride of SacTown also admitted to some memory issues of his own.

After seeing this gripping documentary and learning it was available on DVD, I got in touch again with the filmmaker, Ryan Pettey to catch up with him about “ATLR” and other projects he’s working on. After the boxing film, the director has just finished his second documentary called “A Leap of Truth,” which will be released in a couple of months. This one’s not about boxers, he describes it as exploring “the divide between christianity and evolution while attempting to bridge the gap between them.”

I asked the busy filmmaker for any updates on the boxers featured in “ATLR” and if he’s stayed in touch with any of them.

“I have not stayed in touch with the boxers featured in the film as much as I should have,” he tells me. “I know Kelsey is finishing up her nursing program and that Phil Moyer is still at the nursing home. I owe DaVarryl a phone call and am not sure if he is still fighting.”

After a little investigating of my own, I quickly find out that DaVarryl Williamson is indeed still fighting. In the film, we see the now 42-year-old continuing in a career he clearly loves while his wife shows concerns for his long-term health and well being, after he was knocked out in 2004 by Wladimir Klitschko. His last knockout defeat was in 2009 by Ray Austin. But the Denver fighter’s skills–and champion’s heart–have kept him in the ring. He now has a 27-6 record with 23 KOs. And just this past April, the puncher was victorious in his bout against Michael Marrone on the undercard of the Showtime Bantamweight Tournament at Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. On this night, Williamson scored a seventh-round KO against his foe.

That feeling of accomplishment and victory is what makes these men (and women) continue fighting.

And if we continue to cheer them on, you owe it to yourself and the boxers to watch “After The Last Round” so that we can all remain aware of the consequences that occur in our sport.

“I really liked seeing your film; it made an impact on me,” I tell Pettey. “And now I’m glad that other can purchase it through RBF.”

“Thanks so much for spreading the word about the DVD donation giveaway. We are hoping that the gifting of DVDs will help with exposure and momentum!” the young director replies. “Thanks for everything and stay in touch.”

I hope that recognizing the plight of our prizefighters will continue to gain momentum.

Speaking with Alex Ramos (39-10-2, 24 KOs) today, the Bronx brawler still attends live fights while working on the protection and safety of fighters. Alex was at the Showtime fights last Friday night at Chumash and loves the sport and its heroes. He also mentions of seeing so many boxers get hurt, even though they are the winners in their bouts. “Boxing is a tough, tough game. I love the fighters–THEY RISK THEIR LIVES!” Ramos tells me, his voice rising. He’s had health issues of his own but he always says how grateful he is for everything, especially Pettey and Moyer’s film.

“I’m so glad the film came out; I’m so thankful to God for this!” Alex shares with me. “I’m grateful for anything that has to do with boxing. And this film makes you think about a lot of things–and it really makes you think about our sport.”

Please consider donating to the Alex Ramos’ worthwhile charity to receive your own DVD.

To donate and receive “ATLR” DVD: www.retiredboxers.org (Go to the “What’s New” section, donate 15.00 or more to the nonprofit to receive your own DVD copy of this film!)


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