Aarghhh! I can't stress enough how much violent sports disgust me. This includes boxing, wrestling, rugby and (American) football. With this in mind, please understand that I sat through 123 minutes of this blood sport so you wouldn't have to...unless of course, you are a fan. Fans must exist, the boxing industry makes pots full of money!
So, having said that, let me talk about this particular role. In my opinion, Jake Gyllenhaal must be attracted to movies that are bleak, bloody and (to me) boring, e.g., Donnie Darko, Zodiac, Nightcrawler, and Enemy. He is a fine actor and has been recognized as such in the industry, but he obviously wants an Oscar. Think John Garfield nominated for Body and Soul, Kirk Douglas nominated for Champion, Robert De Niro won for Raging Bull, Sylvester Stallone nominated for Rocky. Director Antoine Fuqua ("Training Day") might have pulled it off for Gyllenhaal this time.
The cast (the little girl was my favorite):
As I watched, I was reminded that every toehold to success won by every boxer, is purchased with his or her own blood; unfortunately many of them are surrounded by bloodsuckers!
This is R-rated, so expect profanity, blood, tattoos, blood, sweat, blood, violence and blood. By the way, no one enunciates, so if you go to something like this for the dialog, you'd better have top-notch hearing or use closed captions. Just so you know....