Rachel McAdams, Forest Whitaker and, specially, Jake Gyllenhaal show us how good of an actors they are. Also, we discover the great performance by Oona Laurence but that's the(one and only) big strength of the movie; its cast.
The story is the one told a thousand times without many new details that would make it any different. The directing is correct but the story is just too well known.
I can handle the rules, man, I'll handle the rules.
Ultimately this is just another one of those sports movies about someone who went off the rails due to tragedy, but came back to make the audience cheer. There is absolutely nothing new here, every cliché is adhered to, every chance to tug the heart strings is prominent, while the finale is as obvious as any one who watches sports movies will expect. But these things don't make it a bad film.
It's very well mounted by the makers, expertly performed by the principal actors, and, well, there's often a time when you need a rousing pick-me-up movie. The camera work and choreography is high grade, while director Antoine Fuqua is able to keep a realistic feel to the drama throughout. It is what it is, a very well made boxing movie, it's just not champion in story, just merely a contender. 7/10
As far as boxing sport movies goes Southpaw isn't a film to remember, but the whole aspect of a criminal being made a successful man because of his wife/daughter, people in his life the MC deemed to fight for, added that one drama notch to get you all goose bumped.
Regardless, as far as boxing goes, these fights weren't doing it for me as a boxing sport fanatic and practitioner myself. They were unrealistic to a certain extend.