About Michael Bentt

Michael Bentt was born in London, England to Jamaican parents. At a young age, his family moved to the U.S. where he spent his early years in Queens, New York.

In his book Rocky Lives, David E. Finger called the former WBO world heavyweight boxing champion, winner of four New York City Golden Gloves titles and five U.S. Amateur titles, and former captain of the US National Boxing team, “the most accomplished boxer in the history of American amateur boxing never to have made the US Olympic Boxing Team.” 

After retiring from boxing in 1994, Bentt enrolled in Northampton College (Bethlehem, PA) where he studied journalism and acting. There, he contributed articles on various subjects to the campus newspaper. Among other topics, he explored Evander Holyfield’s resounding knockout victory of ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson (1996). His work would eventually appear in the New York Daily News and on the HBO Boxing website.

A few years later, Bentt penned “Anatomy of a Knockout” for Bert Sugar’s Fight Game magazine. The essay helped lead the former boxer to the coveted role of Charles ‘Sonny’ Liston in Michael Mann’s Ali. In addition to acting, Bentt also served as the chief sparring partner and assistant trainer for Will Smith, whose portrayal earned him an Academy Award nomination.

Bentt has also instructed five time Grammy Award winner and film composer, Terence Blanchard, Damon Dash, the late rapper and actor Heavy D, Steven Seagal and MacArthur Grant recipient and Tony Award nominee Anna Deavere Smith, among others, on the virtues and benefits of being ‘fighting fit’.

In 2016, he served as personal instructor and artistic associate at Deavere Smith’s Notes From The Field: Doing Time in Education, The School To Prison Pipeline Project at The American Repertory Theatre (Harvard University, 2016).

As an actor, Bentt has worked with Academy Award nominees Michael Mann and Ron Shelton and Academy Award winners Clint Eastwood and Sylvester Stallone. He is a guest actor alum of the internationally acclaimed Joan Scheckel Filmmakers Lab.  

In 2019, Bentt was the subject of the premier episode of “Losers,” an eight-episode docu-series that brings context and humanity to failure in and around sports. Bentt’s episode explores his turbulent life and out of the ring. It has received positive feedback from fans, boxers and reviewers alike.