By Cliff Rold
“Last week on Mayweather-Marquez 24/7…” we learned playing craps make the heart grow fonder, Juan Manuel Marquez likes eating birthday cake, Mayweather still rocks classic skates among other “S*&^” that’s paid for (prior to taxes), and HBO can subtitle Spanish profanities fluently.
What nuggets will this week provide?
Enter theme music and real time recap as Marquez, in the great outdoors, is throwing rocks as he works his way up a mountain. At the peak, he screams “Dragooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”
The raw eggs, quail in this case, are there but Marquez is no Balboa. He asks for a spoon. They do their trick as Marquez breaks a speed bag with a lethal left. Power isn’t enough as trainer Nacho Beristain makes clear. “(Marquez) still needs to become a little bit quicker. His current speed isn’t yet enough to beat the best fighter in the world.”
Beristain is right of course, as Marquez has yet to post a win in two tries at Manny Pacquiao.
HBO then transitions into a tribute to the King of Pop as narrator Liev Schreiber reads, “The day began with an embrace of the archaic. It ends with an air of the futuristic.” Viewers are treated to a Marquez trip to a hyperbaric chamber where he breathes pure oxygen in preparation for battle.
Brief aside: Anyone who has ever seen Blue Velvet either just burst out laughing, got the creeps thinking about a young Isabella Rosselini and scissors, or all of the above.
Switching locales from Mexico to Las Vegas, Mayweather is working the mitts and doing sit/stand-ups among other things. Mayweather is adorned in some nice Reebok gear (this is NOT product placement!). Trainer and uncle Roger informs he doesn’t have to tell Floyd how much to train because his nephew works that hard on his own. Then he steps further, saying “(Floyd) needs one more championship to tie with the greatest fighter in the world. That’s Sugar Ray Robinson.”
A mural on the wall of great champions past is, well, it’s just cool. Seriously. Something like it should be in every man cave. “Most people don’t know s&^% about boxing,” Roger states, and then it’s a round of boxing history, again including that Robinson won seven world titles…
Author’s Note…which is true only if one counts a weak Pennsylvania claim to the Middleweight crown prior to his title win over Jake LaMotta. Robinson won the Welterweight title once and the Middleweight title five times. That’s six. But, hey, if Roger is counting Floyd’s IBF belt win over Zab Judah as a real title win, one fight after Judah lost to Carlos Baldomir in 2006, in a fight where Baldomir wouldn’t pony up a sanctioning fee, then Pennsylvania is at least as good.
As has been the case in previous Mayweather (the fighter…the family has been involved in all but one) 24/7’s, sparring is done off camera but there is a look at the aftermath. Mayweather’s sparring partner is a mess and says into the camera, “This is real blood, man. A Mexican type.”
In case anyone is wondering, Mexican blood types come in derivatives of A, B, AB, or O.
Back to Mexico City and stop motion photography indicates people move really fast there. Into the slower pace of the Marquez home, Juan Manuel is tutoring his son in math before settling in for a round of family video game Futbol. Marquez gloats when he scores…and there could be a joke here about self esteem for the kids, but those are some cute kids. Looks like a quality Pops from this side, same as Floyd last week.
Now the scene is at a family celebration with mariachi band in tow. Marquez’s wife states that her husband’s fights make her “nervous and afraid,” which is pretty logical. It’s a tough business. Schreiber recounts Marquez, and brother Rafael, are married to sisters. Juan Manuel’s wife is not alone in her nerves. At least the two seldom fight on doubleheaders; spreads the nerves around.
Must make family reunions easy to plan though.
Back to Vegas and Floyd is getting a manicure and pedicure while advisor Leonard Ellerbe watches.
Mayweather’s past problems with brittle hands brought Rafael Garcia, a hand wrap specialist and sixty-year veteran, into camp. A pan of photos reveal Garcia has worked with the great Wilfredo Gomez, Roberto Duran and, now, Mayweather (and, yes, Mayweather is great. How great is the argument…not if).
Garcia knows it and states, “One of the best is Floyd Mayweather.” After reviewing the process of the wrap, the camera follows Mayweather to the speed bag. He doesn’t break his but he does hit it a lot faster and more often than Marquez. Beristain is right. Marquez is going to need speed.
Might want to chase chickens.
Floyd, following training footage, throws in one of the more honest statements about what makes “Money” tick that one could hear. “I love to box. It’s in me. I fought over ninety fights for free so it wasn’t always for the money. I don’t know nobody else who’s not hungry for an eight-figure payday.”
If anyone reading knows such a person, run.
Beristain is watching footage of Mayweather and Jose Luis Castillo to prepare, noting Juan Manuel Marquez “is different from most Mexican fighters; he’s an excellent counterpuncher. He improvises brilliantly with great results.” So why watch a fight against as classic a Mexican fighter as there could be? A glimpse into why is exhibited in the gym as Marquez spars and Beristain is read saying something about how more than two shots messes with Mayweather’s rhythm.
Off camera, Mayweather is taking notes as basically the entire fight strategy against is him is laid out.
…an empty glass…
…Marquez picks it up…
…heads to the john…
…comes back with a cup of yellow…
Are you freaking kidding? Marquez is not lost at sea or anything, right? The gym is landlocked, correct? Marquez explains this disturbing scene, something about vitamins.
Dude, go to GNC!
At least we know exhaling mightily in the clinches is part of the fight strategy.
By the grace of (insert deity), Floyd Mayweather Sr. skipping rope to the Four Tops is on screen. He tags off to Jr. and Sr. gets served! Father and son compare muscles, virility, and their past squabbles are discussed before discussion of Sr.’s chronic lung disease and the timeliness of reconciliation. Even recognizing the nature of the show to manipulate audience emotional response, it certainly feels like a genuine outcome versus one forced for cameras.
A closing montage plays with training stuff and ‘fighting to make life better’ platitudes…
Final Thoughts: Week two was an improvement on the first as Marquez’s personality got more interesting. Fans got a deeper look at the psychology of his training than has been the case in other of version of this hype show. One thing is certain: piss drinking will get people talking.
The problem is, there is still little to talk about with the fight. What are these guys fighting for? Why does this fight matter? It’s not especially conveyed here.
Mayweather is being shown in a much more positive light in this version of 24/7 than in others, meaning his often self-assumed role as ‘villain’ isn’t coming through. He’s still talkative, but less smug. Even last week, his usual braggadocio was done more with a wink than a scowl.
A less smug Mayweather could mean less incentive for folks who might pay to see him lose. Something Mayweather has shown he knows, Muhammad Ali knew in another time, and pro wrestling has known forever, is people will pay more to see someone they dislike lose than to see someone they like win.
Until this show conveys why the smaller Marquez CAN win (and most serious fight followers assume he can’t and are vocal about it), and until Mayweather turns up the full force of personality that makes many want to see him lose, 24/7 is not selling the fight strong enough.
And make no mistake. This is a fancy commercial. That’s all. The job is a hard sell even if it’s not bad T.V. at the same time. Grade: B
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at email@example.com
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