Will Smith was a relatively slim guy prior to Ali. He weighed about 185 pounds which is light for someone that stands at 6 foot 2 tall. To look the part to play Ali, Will Smith had to pack on 35 pounds of muscle to look like a real heavy weight boxer.
Critics were skeptical at the news of the skinny Will Smith playing the mighty Ali, but he hit the gym and after working out 5 days a week for 6 hours a day for almost a year he was in the shape of his life.
“If I’d had Will when he was 20, I could’ve made a champion out of him. He’s got the physical skills and, more importantly, he’s got the heart,” said fitness coach Angelo Dundee.
In addition to all the functional training Will had to do a lot of endurance training, and some of it included running through snow wearing boots as well as a lot of weight lifting. Will Smiths bench press increased from 175 pounds at the start of the year to 365 pounds by the time shooting for the film started.
“Beyond looking like a fighter, my goal was to learn to think like a fighter,” says Smith. “To do that I had to eat like a fighter, sleep like a fighter, assess situations in life like a fighter… become a fighter.”