By Robert Brizel, Brick City Boxing Correspondent
Restoration of archival boxing and sports films from 16MM and 8MM and Super 8 black and white classics to colorization is a painstaking process. Classic black and white films in Hollywood have been colorized. The process for vintage boxing photos and films is a more recent innovation. Here’s my take on it. Colorization of vintage fight films usually does not come with parallel sound from the events (although separate sound recordings do exist in some circumstances, and can be paired with the colorization process). In most cases, the background noise of the crowd, the sound of boxing punches, the referee’s instructions, and the final decision are fake but improvized to simulate the bout. In a few cases, a modern announcer can provide the improvized commentary for the old boxing event.
Watching vintage black and white boxing films in color is a completely different experience which I encourage all boxing fans of vintage fight films and fighters of yesteryear to experience. You will see many old school fighters in their prime in a completely different light. The colorized fights are all old heavyweight classics, with exception of Ray Robinson.
Among the famous vintage fights now available in colorized color on YouTube, whether complete or in abbreviated highlights (as best as they were filmed a way back when) are:
*Jack Dempsey versus Jess Willard
*Jack Dempsey versus Angel Luis Firpo (both men down)
*Jack Dempsey versus Jack Sharkey
*Jack Johnson versus Stanley Ketchel (both men down)
*Jack Johnson versus Frank Moran
*Jack Johnson versus Fireman Jim Flynn
*Joe Louis versus Al Ettore
*Joe Louis versus Abe Simon
*Joe Louis versus “Two Ton” Tony Galento (both men down)
*Rocky Marciano versus Joe Louis
*Sugar Ray Robinson versus Randy Turpin II