Bleed for This: Miles Teller on Whether He’s a Better Boxer than Mark Wahlberg

The actor plays Rhode Island pugilist Vinny Paz in the new boxing drama.

Ciaran Hinds, Miles Teller, and Aaron Eckhart in 'Bleed for This'

Photo by Seacia Pavao / Open Road Films

Getting in shape for a boxing movie is no easy task for an actor, especially when you’re playing a legend like Rhode Island’s own Vinny Paz.

Miles Teller, who plays the former champion in the new film Bleed for This, revealed to Boston magazine during a recent event in Providence that he had to kick his workouts into overdrive for the project. As you can imagine, training was a lot harder than learning how to nail Paz’s thick Cranston accent.

“I had to lose like 13 percent body fat, and that’s tough,” Teller said. “You can get glamor muscles, you can look good at a pool party, but you need a body that’s built to be able to box for 12 hours on set.”

Bleed for This isn’t the first buzz-worthy drama about a scrappy New England boxer, as Mark Wahlberg famously played Lowell’s Micky Ward in the Oscar-nomianted flick The Fighter. As for who’s better at throwing down in the ring, Teller isn’t sure if he has the skills to match Wahlberg.

“I don’t know,” Teller said. “I think Mark might be in a different weight class. He can get pretty jacked.”

Teller may not have much faith in his hands, but Paz certainly does.

The retired pugilist, who’s actually friends with Ward in real life, said that Teller did a “tremendous job” at portraying him on screen, especially during the fight scenes. As far as Paz is concerned, Teller would definitely defeat The Fighter star.

“That’s a good fight,” Paz said. “Who do you think wins? Vinny Paz wins. Miles Teller.”

Jokes aside, the former champ is honored to have a film made about his incredible comeback story. He hopes Teller “wins all kinds of awards” for his work in the movie.

“It’s Paz-tastic,” Paz said. “It’s overwhelming. It’s a little crazy. How many people do they do a movie about that they’re still alive and still slightly, slightly young?”

Bleed for This hits theaters on November 18.