12 Photos Of The Real Vinny Paz From 'Bleed For This' Show Why Miles Teller Had To Bulk Up For The Role
Sports fans love an underdog story. And movies like Rudy, Hoosiers, Cool Runnings, and Miracle prove that underdog sports stories have appeal for audiences beyond those who tune into every game or match. Boxing is a particularly cinematic sport with the ability to tell stories of personal sacrifice and courage and to annoint working class heroes both fictional (like Rocky Balboa) and real (The Fighter's Mickey Ward). Next up in that drama niche is Bleed For This , starring Miles Teller as world champion boxer Vinny Paz (formally Pazienza.) The movie is based on Paz's real life, focusing on his comeback from a spinal cord injury that should have kept him out of the ring for good. The former champ is now 53 years old and has been out and about quite a bit lately supporting the film he inspired. Teller bulked up and grew a mustache to play Paz. To see if he nailed the boxer's look, you can compare the actor to these 12 pictures of the real Vinny Paz.
Born and raised in Rhode Island, Paz retired from fighting in 2004. He holds titles in three different weight classes and his count is 50 wins in 60 total fights, several achieved after a horrific car accident. Paz's is an underdog story and a comeback story — a no brainer for an inspirational sports movie. Keep scrolling to see photos of Paz from throughout his career.
1. Paz Lands A Punch
The boxer started to make a name for himself in the '80s, excelling in the hand-to-hand sport.
2. Paz Hugs An Opponent
Bleed For This will likely deal with the intense personal rivalries and friendships boxing inspires.
3. Paz Takes A Breather
According to The Boston Globe, Paz moved up a weight class in the early 1988 after passing out from dehydration after a bout with Roger Mayweather. He'd had trouble maintaining the appropriate weight.
4. Paz In Close Up
Miles Teller isn't the spitting image of the fighter, but aesthetics aren't the most important element of a biopic.
5. Paz Living Up To His Nickname
In the ring and in the press, Vinny Paz often went by the nickname "The Pazmanian Devil."
6. Paz Works An Album Cover Pose
Seriously, this is like a late '90s rap-rock record waiting to happen.
7. Paz In Recovery
Paz broke two bones in his neck in a car accident in 1991. For three months of his recovery, he wore this "halo," which was literally screwed into his head to keep his spine in place. When it came off, he told the Baltimore Sun, he resumed workouts. Without telling his doctors.
8. Paz Tears It Up In Vegas
In his retirement, Paz makes publicity appearances. He even served as a guest security guard on The Jerry Springer Show.
9. Paz Works A Look
The only possible accessories for a championship belt: cheetah-print shorts and a hat with your name on it.
10. Paz Spars With This Guy
At least, according to this Instagram account.
11. Paz Meets His Onscreen Self
The retired boxer has been on red carpets and stages with Teller, promoting the film and participating in post-screening Q&As.
12. And They Strike A Pose
If you're going to play a boxer, you have to nail that boxer stance.
You can see Teller-as-Paz overcome the odds when Bleed For This opens on Nov. 18.
Image: Open Road Films