Doc chronicles boxing champ Ali's life through his opponents

Spike will air the 2009 documentary “Facing Ali,” an essay on boxing champ Muhammad Ali through the eyes of 10 of his most famous opponents, in primetime Feb. 15.

Directed by Pete McCormack, “Ali” won the most popular film award at last year’s Vancouver International Film Festival and is one of 15 feature documentary finalists for the upcoming Oscars.

George Chuvalo, Sir Henry Cooper, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Ron Lyle, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers, Leon Spinks, and Ernie Terrell are among those who appear in the production. Derik Murray of Network Entertainment and Lionsgate produced.

Murray, Frazier and Holmes talked about the film at today’s Spike panel at the Television Critics Assn. gathering in Pasadena. Ali has evolved from controversial figure to folk hero in recent years, but the documentary’s principals feel all sides of him still need to be remembered.

“He said a lot of things to me, he said a lot of things about Joe,” Holmes said. “We didn’t appreciate it. We were there to fight and to win – try not to get hurt.

“But Ali’s a very important part in our lives, because without him, boxing probably would not be alive.”

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