Boxing In and Out of the Ring reveals that talent, determination and courage make a champion boxer–plus the ability to get the right bribes to the right people at the right time. The film delves into a world of power, corruption and lies that would make Machiavelli blush. It focuses in particular on the astonishing interwoven tales of the 2001 FBI investigation into sanctioning body the IBF that uncovered a cash-for-title-shots scandal, and the multi-million dollar business showdown that grew out of the first Rahman/Lewis world title fight.At the heart of both stories is Rahman’s South African-born promoter Cedric Kushner, and it is Kushner’s performance that make this such compulsive viewing. He is a superb subject for comic-tragic drama: at once a charming, dryly amusing soul and at the same time an icy-cold operator, closing in on the biggest payday of his or anyone else’s career. The camera goes behind the scenes at his rather shambolic little office, to see him excitedly building a $120m deal for Rahman/Lewis II, and is on hand when a certain Mr King steals Rahman and the fight from under Kushner’s nose. Weighing in at an hour and a half, this is a substantial film, with strong journalistic credentials–the expert gallery features leading boxing historians and commentators like Thomas Hauser–and makes for very entertaining viewing. Chapters on the history of boxing business, including mob involvement in champs like Sonny Liston, and the rise of Don King, touch on some well-worn fight-game tales, and are liberally peppered with snippets of vintage ring footage, but overall there’s not much boxing to be seen here–though as this film suggests the real fight is outside the ropes.