Four high-impact boxers — “Sugar” Ray Leonard, Roberto “Manos de Piedra” Durán, “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler and Thomas “The Hitman” Hearns — will re-enter the limelight in Showtime docuseries The Kings.
The first of the show’s four episodes will premiere at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 6, on linear and streaming, the ViacomCBS premium network announced.
Nicknamed the Four Kings during their remarkable, overlapping careers, the quartet contested nine championship fights among them from 1980-89. Their distinct styles and vivid personalities helped spark a renaissance in the sport of boxing, which had endured a downturn after Muhammad Ali’s storybook run concluded.
The backdrop of the series is the 1980s, a go-go decade marked by pronounced socioeconomic and political upheaval in the U.S. as President Ronald Reagan left his mark.
Hagler died last month at age 66.
“These four men defined an era in boxing,” said Stephen Espinoza, president of Showtime Sports, in a press release. “Their individual stories, forever linked by the spectacular battles they waged, reflect a tumultuous period in American culture and history. The Kings takes the viewer beyond the glorious action of some of history’s most memorable prizefights to illuminate each man’s dramatic journey and the societal context that made them stars of sports and popular culture.”
Leonard’s first fight with Durán came in 1980 and kicked off years of tightly contested battles in the ring and surging global popularity outside of it. The four boxers, joined in the latter years of the 1980s by the up-and-coming Mike Tyson, became some of the biggest names in sports and popular culture.
The Boxing Writers Association of America voted each of the four Fighter of the Year every year but one from 1979 to 1985. The Ring magazine named three of their title bouts Fight of the Year and picked Round 1 of Hagler-Hearns as Round of the Year.
The show is premiering during a year that marks the 45th anniversary of Leonard’s Olympic gold medal win and the 40th anniversary of a high point for the Four Kings: Leonard vs. Hearns.
The Kings is produced by Box To Box Film in association with Ingenious Media. The series is executive produced by James Gay-Rees (Amy, Senna, Drive to Survive) and Paul Martin (Diego Maradona, Drive to Survive), produced by Fiona Neilson (Oasis: Supersonic, Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams) and directed by Mat Whitecross (Oasis: Supersonic, Road to Guantanamo, Coldplay: A Head Full of Dreams).
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