Why You Should Watch “Maravilla” the Movie: On Netflix Now & iTunes May 19

By Caryn A. Tate on May 18, 2015
Why You Should Watch “Maravilla” the Movie: On Netflix Now & iTunes May 19
What really makes it exceptional is the fact that it's a good story told with a lot of heart.

As the film proceeds, a deeper story unfolds and we are drawn into Martinez’s gripping life story. Boxing is the setting, but it is not the tale…

“Maravilla” is a film by Juan Pablo Cadaveira about the former lineal and universally-recognized middleweight champion of the world, Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez. The movie won the SAE Award at the Mar del Plata Film Festival in 2013, was a feature at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, and has been the #1 Spanish-language documentary on IMDB for several weeks. It’s now playing on Netflix (http://www.netflix.com/WiMovie/80011857?trkid=13462047) with an average rating of 4 out of 5 stars by viewers since its release date of April 1, 2015. On iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/maravilla/id981770730) it will be released on Tuesday, May 19, 2015, though it can be pre-ordered at any time.

In the boxing world, much of the discussion about the film has centered on its excellent, in-depth coverage of the sport’s typically hidden, and often ugly, politics. But what really makes it exceptional is the fact that it’s simply a good story told with a lot of heart.

The documentary focuses on the road to a specific, highly important fight in Sergio’s career: his 2012 bout against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., the son of Chavez Sr., a revered legend of Mexican boxing. The film chronicles the often dastardly and unfair dealings of some of the most powerful in the sport: promoters, title sanctioning organizations, and managers—as well as the fighters who often benefit from these machinations. But as the film proceeds, a deeper story unfolds and we are drawn into Martinez’s gripping life story. Boxing is the setting, but it is not the tale.

Born into poverty in Quilmes, Argentina, Sergio was a naturally gifted boxer who got a late start at the advanced age of 20 in his chosen profession. He fought in his home country for years, struggling to even get other fighters into the same ring (he states in a rare early video in the movie that he was having to fight boxers 10-15 pounds heavier than himself to even be able to get paying fights). Finally, toward the tail end of the Argentine Great Depression in 2002, Martinez pulled up stakes and immigrated to Spain to seek success. Like most people who strive for greatness, his life didn’t get any easier. His struggles and clarity of vision in spite of everything are the stuff fiction writers’ dreams are made of. They’re almost storybook-like in their drama and complexity.

A new immigrant alone in a strange country, Sergio struggled to find paying work at all—much less paying fights as a professional boxer. To make ends meet, he worked as a bouncer in night clubs and fought the best boxers available. Even after his career began taking off, new challenges arose in the form of injuries that, as he states in the film, leave him in “constant pain.” His career began late and the clock only ticks faster as Martinez ages, and he and his team are well aware of the urgency for him to rise to his maximum potential as quickly as possible in the sport before his body might finally betray him. What makes the film even more dramatic is that it wasn’t made after the fact; Cadaveira was along for the ride with Martinez and his team, and when the climactic fight with Chavez occurred, no one—including the filmmaker—knew whether Sergio would win, particularly worrisome from their point of view during the volatile 12th round.

The best stories are those that are universally relevant. The audience shouldn’t need to have an understanding or a background in the subject matter in order to have an emotional connection to it or relate to it. Therein lies the beauty of “Maravilla.” Whether you’re a devoted and well-educated fan of the sport of boxing or you don’t know Sugar Ray Robinson from Mike Tyson, it doesn’t matter. The movie is an engaging and truly inspirational tale of justice and of a man who had the integrity and strength of will—and the support of some great people—to rise above the lot he was handed in life to achieve something greater. In a nutshell, it’s the classic tale of the individual versus the establishment.

Considering the rarity with which great films are made—or at least seen—these days, you owe it to yourself to watch the film, and spread the word—even to non-boxing fans.

Follow Caryn A. Tate on Twitter@carynatate

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  1. Dr. Maceo D. Wattley 02:41am, 05/20/2015

    Sergio is a true gentleman and a classy guy in a brutal sport of a man’s will. Sergio will always be one of the best fighters and most respected of his time.  Toast to a real People’s Champion…...........Dr. Maceo D.  Wattley

  2. Alex 02:53pm, 05/19/2015

    Sergio Maravilla is one of the best fighters I have seen. His exciting style was unique, and I loved to see him in the ring. Too bad he now has knee problems.
    I wish you the best, champ!

  3. Caryn A. Tate 11:20am, 05/19/2015

    My pleasure, Pete. Hard to not be a fan of Maravilla! I’m sure you’ll enjoy the film.

  4. Pete The Sneak 10:48am, 05/19/2015

    Thanks for the heads up/writeup on this Caryn. I had heard it was coming and will definitely watch it. I’m a big fan of Maravilla, not so much for his boxing ability, which I enjoyed immensley, but also for both his classiness and willingness to use his celebrity to bring attention to some very worthwhile causes. Sergio has been nothing but good for the sport of boxing…Peace.

  5. Caryn A. Tate 10:05am, 05/19/2015

    You’re welcome!

  6. Kid Blast 06:04am, 05/19/2015

    Thanks for the info

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