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'Lights Out' ready to light it up

Promotional picture for new FX series

Promotional picture for new FX series "Lights Out" starring Holt McCallany and Catherine McCormack. Photo Credit: FX Channel PR

My colleague, Marcus Henry, wrote a thorough review of "Lights Out" on the blog, so click here for his take. I will weigh in here with some additional thoughts. Also, look for Verne Gay's review in next Tuesday's Newsday. "Lights Out" airs on FX on January 11 at 10 p.m.

The "Lights Out" team hit New York yesterday with live sparring at Grand Central Terminal, ring introductions for boxers Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes, Gerry Cooney, Micky Ward, Wladimir Klitschko and Mark Breland. And later that evening was the New York City premiere. Here are some thoughts and don't forget to check out our videos below.

*As someone who grew up in the sport of boxing, I appreciate the attention to detail in the boxing gym and the way Holt McCallany moves inside the ring. It was all very natural, very familar. The producers are trying very hard to get boxing right and so far they have. To add to the authenticity, look for cameos from real fighters coming up in season one.

*So far, the plot lines that revolve around Patrick "Lights" Leary's are working nicely. The relationship with his wife, daughters and brother are providing balance to the show. It's not just about boxing.

*Star Holt McCallany, who plays retired heavyweight champion Patrick "Lights" Leary, said that he studied Irish heavyweights Jerry Quarry and Gerry Cooney for his role. He also watched films of Doug DeWitt and Jeff Harding.  That's very impressive. Harding was an Australian, face-first brawler who captured the WBC light heavyweight crown in 1989. Harding wasn't high on the radar for very long, so credit McCallany with doing his homework.

* However, McCallany said the fighter he most patterned his character after was Irish middleweight John Duddy.

* In boxing we always talk about linear champions. How is this for a linear champion? Stacy Keach -- "Fat City" in 1972, "The Boxer" in 2009 and "Lights Out" in 2011.

*I thought the fight scenes were a bit Rockyesque. A little too over the top. Real fights don't happen that way.

*Nice cameo from Showtime's Steve Farhood in the premiere. He interviews Leary on the fifth anniversary of his last fight. On another note, congrats to Farhood who will be honored with the Nat Fleischer Award for Excellence in Boxing Journalism by the Boxing Writers Association of America. It was long overdue.

*Many of the themes are familiar to the boxing genre, but co-star Pablo Schreiber talked about the importance of tackling pugilistica dementia in the series. He's right. It was part of "Rocky V" but few boxing flicks or shows deal with the ultimate reality of taking punches for a living.

*At a media event yesterday, heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko proclaimed that "Lights Out" was the greatest boxing film of all time.

*The first time we heard of "Lights Out' was last June when boxing made it's return to Yankee Stadium. McCallany and Schreiber shot a scene with Bob Arum just outside the press section.  

*Micky Ward was on hand for the premiere of "Lights Out." He credited Mark Wahlberg with perfecting his left hook to the body, but added that Wahlberg is a natural southpaw. Thus, when he was asked to fight orthodoxed in the film, "The Fighter," he was ultimately leading with his stronger hand.

We've also updated our"Actors and fighters weigh in on boxing flicks," blog post to add a few of the stars of "Lights Out." So click to check out the new version.

This video shows the atmosphere at the "Lights Out" press event yesterday:

We also asked some of the actors and fighters on hand why boxing makes for good drama. Here's the video:

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