By Scoop Malinowski
Al Pacino insisted on taking the lead role as Tony Montana in the 1983 film “Scarface’, although Robert De Niro had been offered it and had turned it down. For the film, Pacino worked with experts in knife combat, trainers, and world champion boxer Roberto Duran to attain the body type that he wanted for the role. Duran also helped inspire the character, who had “a certain lion in him”, according to Pacino.
Muhammad Ali was the pioneer of using ring entrance music, selecting “The Theme To Star Wars” for his ring entrance before boxing Earnie Shavers at Madison Square Garden in 1977. Most likely, Ali was inspired by Apollo Creed’s ring entrance in the 1976 film “Rocky.”
Mike Tyson was a teenaged fan inside Madison Square Garden when his hero Roberto Duran fought Davey Moore in 1983, according to Duran, Tyson told him he had a seat in the upper nosebleeds and contributed vocally to the many “Duran! Duran!” chants that night.
Jake Lamotta made an uncredited cameo in the film “Scarface”, dancing on the dance floor at “The Babylon” beside lead characters played by Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Kathy Duva said she saw a teenaged Tom Cruise at several Totowa Ice World closed circuit boxing shows promoted by Main Events in the early 1980s. This was before Cruise became a Hollywood star and when he lived in nearby Glen Ridge, NJ, which is less than ten miles from Totowa.
Muhammad Ali once said his favorite movie was “Shane” and his favorite food was “without a doubt fried chicken and macaroni and cheese.”
Former Heavyweight champ Primo Carnera was in the tug-of-war scene in the 1950s film “Mighty Joe Young.”
Warren Beatty’s original idea for his film “Heaven Can Wait” was to cast Muhammad Ali as the star of the sports-based movie but the plan never came to fruition.
Mike Tyson’s daughter is a serious tennis prospect, though not yet a teenager. Her two favorite players are Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, with whom she recently practiced with in Indian Wells, CA.
Kanye West, the pop star, attended a Mike Tyson “Undisputed Truth” show on Broadway in Manhattan six years ago and visited Tyson backstage after. West told Tyson, “It was so inspiring, you inspired me so much. I want to change things in my life, starting tonight.” Tyson, like a mentor, replied simply to West, “You can do it. You can change your life any time you want.”