One day Craig Glazer was serving hard time in a federal penitentiary. Two days later he was producing Champions Forever, one of the most acclaimed and best-selling sports documentaries ever made. But, for nearly 20 years since the film’s premiere, some of the most revealing interviews with Muhammad Ali–including the champ shockingly proclaiming, “I never said I was the greatest” –laid in a vault.
Now, Glazer is finally making Ali’s last known meaningful interviews available to the public on Champions Forever: Ali – The Lost Interviews (Image Entertainment), released October 20, 2009. As Ali’s debilitating illness has grown, those interviews, in which he talks about his fights both in and out of the ring as well as the purpose of his life and the end of his life, about immortality and how he wants to be remembered, have become rare and historic.
While in prison, Glazer met a notorious inmate who was developing the film about Ali and fellow heavyweight champs Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Larry Holmes and Ken Norton. Once free, Glazer produced the film and interviewed not only Ali but all of the other fighters. Champions Forever earned a theatrical release in 1990 before being issued on homevideo.
The first 30 minutes of the new 140-minute Champions Forever: Ali – The Lost Interviews DVD capture Ali in never-before-seen footage and interviews at his Los Angeles home, his Michigan compound and Johnny Taco’s Las Vegas gym. The latter occasion marked the first time Ali, Frazier, Foreman, Holmes and Norton had been interviewed together.
The newly released footage precedes the complete original Champions Forever film, which is no longer available, is filled with thrilling highlights from more than 30 of the champs’ greatest bouts, from Ali’s defeat of Sonny Liston to Mike Tyson’s victory over Larry Holmes, from “The Fight Of The Century” between undefeateds Ali and Frazier to their third and final meeting in the “Thrilla In Manila.” Throughout, interviews uncover the men behind the legends as they reveal their innermost thoughts about their lives, their careers and each other. Also seen is “Dinner With The Champs,” a once-in-a-lifetime get-together with the five heavy weight champions hosted by baseball legend Reggie Jackson as the interviewer.
Glazer’s autobiography The King of Sting: The Amazing True Story of a Modern American Outlaw co-written by Sal Manna and published in hardcover in 2008, was recently optioned to be a major motion picture by producer Eric Eisner, with a script penned by Dan Gordon (Wyatt Earp starring Kevin Costner and The Hurricane, about boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter). Glazer has been interviewed about The King of Sting on television, including CBS and NBC, and radio, including by Dennis Miller, Johnny Dare, Mancow, and G. Gordon Liddy.