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Trivia / The Great White Hype

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  • Actor Allusion: As Samuel L. Jackson's Sultan sits down at ringside he has a short exchange with a familiar looking man.
  • Creator Backlash: Co-writer Ron Shelton disowned the movie after his original, more serious script was rewritten into a comedy.
  • Star-Derailing Role: One of three box office bombs for Damon Wayans in 1996, along with Bulletproof and Celtic Pride. Putting a bullet in his A-list attempt and forcing him back to television.
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  • Unintentional Period Piece: The film was made during a long era when black fighters, almost all of them American, dominated heavyweight boxing and legends like Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield were all on the scene. Various characters mock the idea of a Caucasian heavyweight boxing champ as unthinkable. (At the time the film was made, the last time a Caucasian boxer had been truly recognized as the heavyweight champion was Ingemar Johansson, who scored a major upset victory over Floyd Patterson in 1959, and promptly lost the title back to Patterson when the two men had a rematch. The last white heavyweight champion most of the audience would know, Rocky Marciano, had retired in the mid-1950s, 40 years before this movie was released. You could debate whether to call Tommy Morrison a world champion in 1993, when he held one of the various titles for a few months, although most boxing fans would not agree with you. note ) Come the 2000s and into The New '10s, a number of boxers from the former Soviet Union would become high level contenders or title holders in the heavyweight division, and in particular a pair of Ukrainians, the Klitschko brothers, would dominate the division from Lennox Lewis's retirement in 2004 until an over-the-hill Wladimir's defeat by Tyson Fury (himself a white boxer from England) in 2015. Someone saying that a Caucasian champion is impossible would seem like the outlier today, rather than the other way around.

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