Logo for Bleed for This on DStv

Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katey Sagal

Bleed For This is sports biopic based on the true life story of Vinny ‘The Pazmanian Devil’ Pazienza, a boxer from Providence, Rhode Island, who shoots to stardom after winning two World Title fights – the second, after a near-fatal car accident that left him with a broken neck and a chance that he may never walk again.


After Million Dollar Baby swept all before it at the Oscars, we’ve seen Russell Crowe as James J Braddock in Cinderella Man, Mark Wahlberg as ‘Irish’ Mickey Ward in The Fighter and Edgar Ramirez as Roberto Durban in Hands of Stone. Bleed For This is the latest to use boxing as a tale of redemption and triumph over physical limitations.


After losing a fight against Roger Mayweather after gambling and staying out all night, Pazienza must choose between retiring and pursuing his dream to become a World Champion. He hires a new coach (Aaron Eckhart as Mike Tyson-tamer Kevin Rooney) and trains hard for a World Light Middleweight title fight against Gilbert Dele, which he wins. With a confirmed fight against Roberto Duran in his sights, Vinny and friend Jimmy are involved in a head-on car accident while en route to the Foxwoods Casino in Conneticut, which throws his vehicle into a ditch, damaging Vinny’s spine. Once he regains consciousness, the doctor informs him that he might never walk again – never mind fight again.


Disobeying his Doctor’s advice, Vinny begins to secretly work out at his basement under the tutelage of Rooney, despite wearing a ‘Halo’ – a metal cage screwed directly into his skull to keep his neck and spine stable. His rehabilitation starts with him removing weight after weight until only the bar remains – and building from there to the point where he attains ‘hero’ status by conquering Duran on a split decision, securing his second, and most unlikely, World Title.


Aaron Eckhart gained a reported 30 kilograms for the role of Kevin Rooney and Teller bulks up considerably to shed the nerdy, but similarly-obsessive persona he inhabited for Whiplash and take the form and physique of a world-class boxer.