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Mayweather-Marquez 24/7: Pt. 1 Reviewed
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Default Mayweather-Marquez 24/7: Pt. 1 Reviewed - 09-01-2009, 07:55 PM

It was a busy few days for one Money Mayweather. A time at the roller rink, a little resuming his feud with the Big Show on Monday Night Raw, and a little bit of camera time for HBOs infomerer, documentary series 24/7; all in a weeks work.

Expanding in tone on HBOs long tradition of pre-fight featurettes and countdown shows, 24/7 was in part the brainchild of Mayweather prior to his bout with Oscar De La Hoya. With more viewers per show than purchasers of their pay-per-view fight (which set its own buy records), Mayweather-De La Hoya 24/7 was a ratings smash, providing an interesting look at the fighters on their way to a showdown.

The show has struggled somewhat to be as good again. There have been fine moments, but also hints of un-reality. Shadow boxing on top of a casino? Yeah, it just didnt seem like normal pre-fight ritual. And we all know Ricky Hatton was as nonplussed in real life as portrayed on screen about things like an already late Floyd Mayweather Sr. making a Taco Bell stop on the way to the gym.


What golden nuggets will the latest program provide? We began to find out Saturday as the road to the former lineal World Jr. Lightweight, Lightweight, and Welterweight champion Mayweather Jr. (39-0, 25 KO) versus lineal World Lightweight Champion Juan Manuel Marquez (50-4-1, 37 KO) got underway.

Presented in High Definition on HBOHD Where Available and reviewed in real time.

Cue narrator Liev Schreiber, better known as the lucky baby daddy to Naomi Watts. King Kong aint got nothin on Liev! Liev reads some stuff aloud about boxings intangible elements before reminding us Mayweather, at the peak of his popularity (some would argue peak of coat tailing the popularity of De La Hoya and Ricky Hatton which is why this fights buy rate is being so watched) and dominance, walked away. The time off renewed his resolve (it always does that) and he returns to face the latest in the great tradition of Mexican fistic excellence in Marquez. For emphasis, Marquez says the word guerreros, the subtitles as warrior (which is wrong since Marquez said the plural form but whatever).

A montage leads to the words which cue the now-famous theme music because This is Mayweather-Marquez, 24/7.

We begin at the roller rink, Liev informing of a father-daughter date for Mayweather. Then we cut to an episode of The Wirewait, wrong HBO show. Omar dont skate, though he might have dug figure skaters. Anyways, the show briefly touches on a shooting in the rink parking lot on a different night which involved no one getting shot and, allegedly, someone close to Mayweathers camp. Floyd states he had nothing to do with it and Liev relays Floyd has been announced as not a suspect.

We segue to Camp Mayweather and a look at Floyds always impressive mitt work, his hand speed still evident even after over a year and a half officially out of the ring. Mayweather briefly explained some of his reason for the time off. I been in the sport since November, 1987. When I re, my body needed a chance to healI think I needed to find myself just personally. You know, sometimes you need to step back and just find out who you are as a person.

Episode one takes a step back with some shots of the initial press tour for Mayweather-Marquez and briefly mentions the training injury to the rib which pushed the bout from July to September 19 before showing Mayweather training with protective gear on his torso. Mayweathers trainer and uncle, Roger, chimes in with some ever entertaining Roger-isms, reminding viewers most Spanish fighters are tough, even though Marquez is not from Spain, and stating that the difference between Floyd and Marquez is good and great.

Where he sees his charge is easy to figure.

Floyd reminds the world 39 times hes been tested and all 39 came up short. Technically, 38 people came up short in 39 fights but, hey, its time to head south of the border.

We get a focused, mean looking Marquez firing hard training shots to the body and hand mitts and then shots of powerful blows in previous fights against the likes of Juan Diaz and Marco Antonio Barrera. It is the image of the fierce Mexican warrior, no hint of the fact that Marquez has only recently become regularly involved in truly fun fights because, like Mayweather, he is a natural counter puncher.

Move along nownothing being sold here.

Then, of course, we get clips from the draw and loss which raised Marquezs profile to its highest versus Manny Pacquiao. He states his case (and he has one for sure) for having won both fights despite being dropped thrice in the first and once in the rematch.

Killing one aspect of what one supposes was drama leading to the opening bell, Liev lets everyone know the fight is contracted at 144 lbs., a catchweight within the Welterweight limit, nine pounds heavier than Marquez has ever weighed in the ring.

Back to Camp Mayweather, viewers get perhaps the episodes finest fortune cookie platitude: When the training gets hard, train harder. Leaving the gym, the scene transitions to Mayweather, giving his time at a local youth homeless shelter and handing out bag lunches to homeless adults on the streets, commendable with or without cameras.

Back at Casa de Money (lots of money), talk of rumored IRS problems for Floyd is quickly dismissed as Mayweather informs he has a good relationship with the tax folk.

Returning to Marquez, Juan Manuel is joined by his little brother, former Bantamweight and Jr. Featherweight king Rafael, in the gym, allowing for a shift to the Marquez families background. The sons of a pro fighter, they grew up poor and in tight spaces as their Dad passed on the family trade. Papa Marquez telling how his sons used to beat the stuffing out of pillows tied to his waist is a nice touch.

Any mention of fathers must include Mayweathers and a pool table crap game is the setting. Mayweather Sr. channels the best of 70s soul, dropping break up to make up and better the second time around consecutively. For the sake of both father and son, any viewer can hope this slice of reality TV is truly real. Roger Mayweather speaks for the audience in that regard. A brief aside about Sr. criticizing Rogers training doesnt appear to have traction in the gym nor do issues stemming from an outstanding domestic assault charge looming over Roger. It is said Nevada will do nothing to keep Roger out of Floyd Jr.s corner.

Marquez gets a birthday party, his 36th, and then some insights from trainer Nacho Beristain who adds Marquez may be numero uno amongst a stable of World champions over the years which included Ricardo Lopez. It is high praise.

A closing montage and tough talk from both close out week one as the drum line builds to a crescendo and a final Mayweather shot to the mitts.

Cue credits.

Final Thoughts: While the freshness of the Mayweather-De La Hoya version, or sheer energy of the Mayweather-Ricky Hatton build, is missing, this version of 24/7 is a dramatic improvement over the hype shows for De La Hoya-Pacquiao, Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones, or Pacquiao-Hatton. That comes down to Floyd. Love him or hate him, his personality is made for a platform like this. He comes off as a star and authentic human being though any mention or footage from the Raw appearance was sorely missing. Mayweather performed well there and did when involved in Wrestlemania.

Marquez comes across as a solid man but his personality may not be served by this sort of exposure. In the ring, he is a cruel technician; a cerebral assassin. That meticulous nature has made him a winner for years but doesnt make for particularly compelling documentary viewing. It also doesnt lend itself to the sort of animus one would want to see in a fight build. The fighters dont have to talk smack for no reason, but these two seasoned pros come across as just a pair of guys engaging in an athletic contest. The feeling of a looming fight, of a nasty bit of potential bloodletting, wasnt palpable in episode one.

That makes the start to this latest 24/7 effort okay with room to grow. Grade: B
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