Truth told, there’s precious little new ground to be tilled.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. has been a professional boxer for 18 years and a world champion in one form or another for all but a small sliver of that period. And he’s well-aware of both facts.
So when it comes to Showtime’s fourth go-round with him on its pre-fight documentary series—which kicked off Saturday night with the premiere of All Access: Mayweather vs. Maidana 2—it becomes a challenge to present the same rehearsed schtick in a compelling new way.
“I’m gonna stay at the top and continue to control boxing,” Mayweather said yet again, in the opening scene of the latest broadcast. “When you’re speaking boxing, you’re speaking Mayweather.”
But it’s not just the champion’s role that’s already been clearly defined.
Maidana is getting a second run-through as the white-hat hero to Mayweather’s black-hat villain, and it’s equally trying to present his heavy underdog, man-of-the-people approach any differently this time than it’s already been treated with Robert Guerrero, Canelo Alvarez or Maidana himself.
Thanks to the perceived closeness of the first fight in May, the network went all in on the “Floyd is vulnerable” angle for Round 2, suggesting the pound-for-pound kingpin took the rematch because of “a singular need to avenge a victory” and to add “unquestioned” to his legacy alongside “undefeated.”
A Quiet Concession
Though Maidana proclaimed victory after the first fight and insisted it was him granting the loser a rematch rather than the reverse, the most revealing snippet of the episode came in a quiet moment between him and Robert Garcia at the outset of their second pre-Mayweather training camp.
“We fell a little short in the first fight,” Maidana said softly, sitting across from Garcia as the trainer wrapped his hands. “Yeah, we fell a little short,” Garcia replied, suggesting that a lack of sparring and the birth of Maidana’s child robbed some of the effectiveness of their springtime training regimen.
It was a stark contrast from the early scenes of the episode—which showed both Maidana and Garcia in nearly constant states of friction with Mayweather on the promotional press tour—during which neither was ever shown hinting at the notion they’d believed the majority decision in May was justified.
“We’re going to get him,” Garcia said, guiding his man through a heavy bag sequence in which he suggested baiting Mayweather with body work before flashing an overhand right. "That’s where we fell short."
Hey, Don’t I Know You?
Back when he was a pay-per-view commodity on HBO, a common element of Mayweather’s appearances on that network’s 24/7 pre-fight series were cameos by rapper 50 Cent—often whizzing through the fighter’s Las Vegas estate on a Segway electric scooter.
To say the two pals have gone through tough times since then would be an understatement.
They’ve recently made headlines as part of the viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge frenzy, with 50 Cent eschewing the cold shower and replacing it with a $750,000 promise to a charity of Mayweather’s choosing if the fighter could read an entire page from any Harry Potter book.
The latter got a mention in the premiere episode when, as Mayweather and his entourage walked the streets of Las Vegas, a fan mentioned the challenge to him. After first suggesting his rival would have to “raise the stakes” to get his attention, he followed with a mocking “50 Cent, does he still make music? I ain’t heard him in a while.”
Fathers and Kids
While much of the inaugural broadcast showed the fighters either sneering face to face or deriding each other from a distance, there were some genuine points of human interaction, too.
Mayweather’s four children have been staples of his All Access shows since they began in early 2013, and they were back yet again on Saturday while accompanying him at press-tour stops and flying on the private jet that he flashily uses to get from place to place.
Maidana’s parental moments on the show focused on his 10-year-old son, Jojo, who came to the fighter’s training camp for several days—and shared a coastal helicopter ride with his dad—before heading back to Argentina in time for the start of the new school year.
In fact, the goodbye scene between the two was the most unrehearsed element of the entire 30-minute collection, with the boy shedding real tears and Maidana looking truly sad to see him go. It was a welcome departure amid the repeated portrayals of arrogant excess in one camp and the over-the-top attempts to make the other camp—which raked in $1.5 million for the first fight—seem common.
Unless otherwise noted all quotes were obtained from Showtime's All Access: Mayweather vs. Maidana 2, Episode 1, which aired on Aug. 30, 2014.