HBO's 24/7 series debuted their fourth installment to focus on Manny Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez tonight, airing it after Jonathan Banks' shocking second-round upset of Seth Mitchell.
Banks, a heavyweight contender trained by the late, great Emanuel Steward, knocked out the American heavyweight widely viewed to be the next marketable star of the heavyweight division.
Then in the main event, highly skilled, talented rising star Adrien Broner outclassed Antonio DeMarco, punishing him in an impressive eighth-round TKO.
As a big boxing fan, I immensely enjoyed the two fights, both full of exciting action and both ending in entertaining knockouts. But I wondered how Pacquiao-Marquez 4, Episode 1 would look following such great fights.
Episode 1 opens with legendary promoter Bob Arum explaining that all great rivalries featured evenly matched fighters in very close fights. They showed great rivalries such as Ali-Frazier to back up his theory, and I think it worked.
The episode then goes into fine detail of each of their first three fights and the historical background of each one.
Of course, hardcore boxing fans already know what went on between these guys, but for the casual fan this was a good summary, and they gave not only Juan and Manny's view on each fight, but also the reflections of their respective trainers, Nacho Beristain and Freddie Roach, as well.
The narrator describes how all three judges made an error in the first Pacquiao-Marquez fight, failing to properly score the round 10-6 for Pacquiao, which would have awarded him a split decision.
After the second fight, Nacho talks about how many Filipinos came up to him and said they thought Marquez won that fight.
Then going into the third fight, promoter Bob Arum talks about how Manny's team supposedly knew he was not at his best, due to numerous distractions during his training involving marital problems and lack of rest.
Obviously, 24/7 is not literally 24/7, because if it was we might see signs of Manny's marital problems and lack of rest from that previous 24/7, wouldn't you think?
Freddie Roach seemed more honest and humble this time around, not resorting to trash talk or being arrogant about Pacquiao, and even being so honest as to state that after the third fight, he hoped that Pacquiao and Marquez would never have to fight again.
Episode 1 is great for the casual fan who may need to catch up on the history of these two great fighters.
However, I personally would rather see more actual training footage from both Manny and Juan's camps to see just how they prepare for this fourth fight.
In the previous series on their third fight, we saw Juan looking bigger, stronger and sharper than ever.
We saw Juan hitting harder than ever before, destroying a punching bag to the point of it needing a replacement.
This scene stood out in my mind as the most visible evidence that this was a brand new Juan Manuel Marquez, and not the same slow, chubby fighter who was not able to compete with the great Floyd Mayweather in his only other fight at welterweight.
This is the type of footage I would like to see more of in the fourth series. Less talking and more action. More actual evidence that they are indeed going for the knockout, as they claim they will on December 8th.
Also, I believe they made it through the entire first episode without ever once mentioning the fighter that will forever be linked to Pacquiao, his out-of-the-ring nemesis Floyd Mayweather.
Episode 1 was a lot better than I thought it was going to be, but then again my expectations were low to begin with. Loyal, hardcore fans have been down this road three times already, and we would like to see something new.
And, of course, a clear result in the fourth fight, which will hopefully not be determined by the judges.
If you missed 24/7''s Pacquiao-Marquez 4, Episode 1, it will re-air on HBO: Nov. 17 (3:45 a.m.), 18 (10:30 a.m.), 19 (11:45 p.m.), 20 (noon, 8:30 p.m.), 21 (7:30 p.m., 2:05 a.m.), 22 (12:20 a.m.), 23 (7:30 p.m.) and 24 (10:30 a.m.)
HBO2 will re-air it on Nov 18 (12:10 a.m.) and 23 (9:30 p.m.).
It will also be available on HBO On Demand on Tuesday, November 20.
Episode 2 will debut on HBO Saturday Nov. 24 (12:15-12:45 a.m.)
Episode 3 will debut on HBO Saturday Dec. 1st (9:30-10:00 p.m.)
The finale debuts Friday, Dec. 7 (8:00-8:30 p.m.), the night before the big fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Saturday, December 8th, on HBO PPV.
King J is the Bleacher Report Boxing Community Leader and a Featured Columnist.
Follow on Twitter: @KingJ323
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