The Australian actor Russell Crowe, best known for his intellectual heft and work with the needy, has taken some time from his busy schedule to enlighten us about boxing.
Crowe, with his eye on the Academy Awards, is promoting Cinderella Man, the Ron Howard film in which he portrayed former heavyweight champion of the world James J. Braddock.
It’s common knowledge that Cinderella Man tanked at the box office, not because it was about boxing – look no further than last year’s Million Dollar Baby for proof of that – but because of the flabby direction and Crowe’s maudlin performance.
Perhaps that explains Crowe’s disdain for the manly art.
According to the actor, boxing is nothing more than “Two guys in the ring, with shorts on. We’re going to put on some gloves and bash each other’s heads, okay? It’s stupid.” Just in case we didn’t get it the first time, Crowe added, “Fundamentally, I think boxing is something stupid, you know?”
Russell Crowe may not know much about boxing, but he does know a thing or two about stupidity. In 2002 he pinned a producer of The British Academy of Film and Television Arts to a wall during an altercation. Last year he picked a fight with the bodyguard assigned to protect him during the filming of Cinderella Man. And a few months ago the Aussie hothead, in a fit of pique, threw his cell phone at a porter named Nestor Estrada in a New York hotel, because the actor couldn’t reach his wife in Australia.
Crowe later paid Estrada $10,000 and is due to appear in Manhattan Criminal Court next month to face assault charges.
Perhaps we should be relieved that Crowe is using his soapbox to attack boxing instead of shilling for the Church of Scientology, but Crowe’s inability to see the redemptive quality of boxing, especially after starring in a film about Jim Braddock, is, for want of a better work, stupid.