By Robert Ortiz
With the Pacquiao – Marquez IV Pay Per View around the corner, we are set to start our marathon coverage of the event.
We begin by taking a look at the first installment of HBO’s 24/7 series. The series has been the unofficial start to PPV event countdowns over the last few years, so I figure this is a great point to start.
At its very core, HBO’s 24/7 is an over the top, dramatic, glossy infomercial. It is meant to sell you a product. Its ultimate goal is to answer the question, “Why should I spend my money on this boxing match?” The series is probably going to have its biggest challenge this time around simply because of how familiar we are with the characters. It’s a little easier to introduce new fighters and tell you about their life struggles and what they’ve gone through to get to the stage that’s deserving of such a high production reality show. Such was the case with Ward – Dawson, neither fighter was really attention getting out of the ring, but simply seeing a new face was refreshing.
So how are we supposed to watch a build up to a fight we saw last year? Why not just re-air the last fights episodes?
The show for the most part, simply went through each fight in detail. I equated this sequence to watching a DVD commentary feature. Highlights of each fight were shown with the whole cast of characters breaking down what went was happening. They went into great detail about Joe Cortez’ history making decision when he allowed Marquez to continue after the third knockdown in the first fight. It really makes you think about what would have happened had he stopped the fight right then. He was within his rights to. An interesting part was having one of the judges from the third fight on. Unfortunately, it was the one that scored it a draw. I would’ve rather seen the faces of the two who somehow saw it in favor of Pacquiao. I would’ve loved to see them try to explain themselves.
Overall, the show was fun to watch. It wasn’t the best, but 24/7 is just so damn cool looking. I could listen to Liev Shreiber narrate the Japanese dictionary over slow motion clips of the fighters getting out of their cars.
So, did HBO make me want to watch the next episode and more importantly, buy the ppv? They had the difficult task of making us excited about a fight most of us aren’t sure we even want.
They did their best with the first episode to show us that we are watching something historically significant go down. The opening sequence showed clips of Ali-Frazier and Gatti-Ward. Bob Arum, ever the bombastic promoter, explained to us what makes a great rivalry. Damned if he didn’t make me believe that I was watching a part of history. The problem is, Ali fought four times the year he fought Frazier for a third time. Alas, 24/7 didn’t change my stance. That is, excited, but wishing these two big names would’ve spent one of their two fights a year on someone else.
I look forward to next week’s episode.