Monday, April 12, 2010

A Commercial By Any Name: Mosley-Mayweather 24/7 P.1

The drama.

The tension.

The “you know you want to pay at least 50 bucks, 60-plus in HD, to see it” flair of HBO’s 24/7 boxing infomercials is back and it brings its premier talent. Last September, Floyd Mayweather was almost subdued, polite, as he prepared for a showdown with Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez. It wasn’t particularly compelling.

Too much Floyd.

Not enough “Money.”

It appears that won’t be a problem this time.

Black and white stills of the fighters slide across the screen while piano music plays, the voice of narrator Liev Schreiber presenting the narrative of fighters who could have faced long ago and find themselves together by fortune now. “Money” intones that he’s doing Mosley a favor, ‘letting him share the ring with greatness.’

Mosley says Mayweather has to back such talk up.

Schreiber reads some more blah blah melodrama. “This is 24/7: Mayweather-Mosley.”

Cue the music and real-timish recap.

Enter Mayweather in full soliloquy, ranting about viewers who might be judging him and asking that “before you judge me, first look at your situation to see where you at. Clear your problems up before you worry about my problems because I’m okay.”

Grrrr….confrontational…don’t you want to pay to see if he can be beat the camera asks subliminally…

Mayweather is probably referring to questions about financial problems he may have faced, something he’s a wee bit touchy about for a guy who talks incessantly about his cash stash. We digress.

Liev reminds, over images of Floyd working the mitts, that Mayweather was supposed to face Manny Pacquiao but instead has found his way to Mosley. Highlights of the Marquez fight play leading to clips of the post-fight interview interrupted by a Mosley challenge. “You know how these bitches is in the sport; total disrespect.” Mayweather notes. “Kid has no class, no style at all.”

Never before seen film from the locker room after Marquez displays a Mayweather still agitated outside the ring that night. Cutting from Mayweather’s Las Vegas home turf to Mosley’s Big Bear headquarters, Mosley too is agitated but for different reason. He knows he is seen as an impediment to Mayweather-Pacquiao. “Mayweather’s not gonna’ win,” he states of their pending showdown. Trainer Nazim Richardson, who the audience is reminded came on board prior to Mosley’s WBA title winning destruction of Antonio Margarito in early 2009, says he thinks the best of Mosley is enough to win.

It’s the right thing to say.

Trainers who state the best of their fighter can’t beat a pending opponent are in short supply for valid psychological reason.

The scene shifts to a sit down promo for 24/7 filmed with HBO’s Max Kellerman, Mosley shown recounting a story of when a young Floyd, presumably in the 90s when Mosley was a Lightweight champ and Mayweather a rising prospect, once said he wanted to be like Mosley one day. Mayweather, shown at home, states he barely knows “who the f%$^” Mosley is and that he is the face, the cash cow, of boxing.

None of this negates the Mosley story because those things weren’t the case in the 1990s but Mayweather sounds all ticked off so it’s nifty enough. More clips, these of a shoving match at the first press conference, and then some more back and forth about money (actual money thus the lower case “m”) lead to the good stuff.

Juice talk.

Olympic style drug testing (blood and urine) is being used for Mosley-Mayweather. It couldn’t be negotiated for Mayweather-Pacquiao on the Pacquiao side. Mosley was caught up in the BALCO designer performance enhancers trial, testifying to unknowingly taking stuff before the second Oscar De La Hoya fight. Mayweather is shown at a presser stating that one can’t know how many fights Mosley won fairly. Mosley is shown in a personal interview for the show stating that it happened in 2003, seven years ago and is “no more.”

He’s taking the testing to prove it.

Mayweather has never been busted and is in the gym showing off the work ethic which made him what he is. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency shows up to issue the first random drug test to Mayweather. Mayweather talks about how he feels strongly about bringing in stronger drug testing to the sport given the risks of the sport.

It’s a hard position to argue with. Shown having his blood drawn, Mayweather never once looks faint.

Mosley doesn’t either after taking his first test, even having been shown bowling in come close proximity to the tests.

Back in Vegas and Mayweather is shown in Sinatra-esque tuxedo and top hat, hosting a gala for his self-named Foundation. A dance off between father and son Floyd’s takes place among other activities before returning to Big Bear and a breakdown of the Mosley camp characters which include the 38-year old Mosley’s 19-year old son Shane Jr. Richardson’s struggle with a stroke three years ago, which limited activity on the left side of his body is explored. He makes the astute observation that the young fighters of today “grew up watching Shane Mosley. Even Mayweather. They in front of you; they not gonna’ admit it now. They grew up watching you and admiring your work.”

Rocky music (the pre-training montage bells) play as Mayweather and Mosley discuss their motivations to fight. Schreiber ends with “the fight is 21 days away.”

Those reading this review will be happy to know it’s even less by the time of said reading.

Final Thoughts: 24/7 is at its best when it leaves one feeling hyped more than sales pitched. Mayweather-Marquez was the latter. Mosley-Mayweather, the fight, is already so must-see as to naturally flow towards the former. This is a fight over a decade in the making. Just putting both fighters on screen and reminding of when the fight is scheduled is all that is required.

Everything else is a bonus. This first episode was fun in that regard and helped tell the story of these two as rivals. The whole idea that Mayweather fights for cash, Mosley for professional pride, is set. Is it somewhat nonsense? Of course it is. Mayweather doesn’t work his ass off like that without wanting, needing, to win. Mosley doesn’t work his ass off for tips. It feels authentic though because both fighters have who they are, on camera anyways, down pat.

There was even some genuine reality to the show. The drug testing stuff, the visual of how annoying it could actually get and how awkward, was fascinating.

The point of these shows is to reinforce the notion of a compelling fight and help in the anticipation. Check both boxes tonight in what appears already to be the best 24/7 series since Mayweather-Ricky Hatton. Grade: A

Author: Cliff Rold



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