At last, the boxing match the world has been waiting for has come along.
Floyd Mayweather will finally put his dukes up against Manny Pacquiao on May 2, satisfying the cravings of boxing fans both rabid and casual alike.
It's a momentous occasion that has brought with it a veritable avalanche of media hype, including two premium-cable documentaries, one of which is produced by HBO and simply titled Mayweather/Pacquiao: At Last.
As a result of the various moving parts and media interests surrounding these two titanic fighters, both HBO and Showtime are putting out documentaries about the buildup to the superfight. Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole has more details:
Showtime has an exclusive contract with Mayweather, and so its preview show, "Inside Mayweather vs. Pacquiao," will focus on Mayweather and will debut on Saturday after the conclusion of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Andrzej Fonfara fight.
HBO has an exclusive deal with Pacquiao, and its preview show, "Mayweather-Pacquiao: At Last," will focus on the Filipino star and will debut on Saturday following the conclusion of the Ruslan Provodnikov-Lucas Matthysse fight.
Plenty of people are going to make plenty of coin off of this fight, but at least it seems fans will get to see both sides of it, even if it's still at a mostly promotional level.
TV Schedule, Preview
According to HBO's website, the documentary will debut at approximately 11:45 p.m. ET/PT, immediately following the conclusion of the Lucas Matthysse-Ruslan Provodnikov card. It is scheduled to run on both HBO and HBO Latino, with a one-hour runtime.
RingTV.com also noted some of the other airings of the show.
|April 19||11:45 a.m., 2:45 p.m.||HBO, HBO2|
|April 20||2:15 a.m, 2:30 p.m.||HBO|
|April 21||3:15 p.m.||HBO2|
|April 22||1:30 p.m., 11:50 p.m.||HBO|
|April 23||2:35 a.m., 11 a.m., 9 p.m.||HBO|
|April 24||8:30 a.m., 10 p.m.||HBO2|
|April 25||9:15 a.m.||HBO|
|April 28||8 p.m.||HBO2|
|April 29||11 a.m., 4:30 p.m.||HBO|
ESPN.com's Dan Rafael reported on March 31 that HBO will also produce another half-hour special about the Mayweather-Pacquiao bout, set for April 26. It appears, however, that At Last is the flagship production, and one that is a can't-miss show for fans of the Filipino legend.
HBO Sports executive producer Rick Bernstein gave fans an idea of what to expect from the documentary, per Rafael:
This is the mega-fight fans have been anticipating for many years, and we are thrilled to chronicle Manny Pacquiao’s path to this defining moment in his career. This special will provide viewers with a narrative of how this fight came to be and spotlight Team Pacquiao’s preparations heading into the biggest challenge Manny has confronted in the ring. It will be a terrific primer for any viewer eager to go behind the scenes in the lead-up to May 2.
Based on Bernstein's explanation and the audio snippets from the above embedded trailer, At Last does appear to be geared mostly toward the behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing that brought this fight into existence.
It's been the fight seemingly every boxing fan has wanted to see for the past five years, and at times it certainly felt as if the chasm between the sides was too great and the in-ring meeting would never come to pass.
From purse splits to drug testing protocol, there have been numerous reported reasons for fight negotiations dragging along and then breaking down in the past. One will hope the HBO series will shed some light on these issues and the major players involved in moving negotiations forward, whether it's promoter Bob Arum, Pacquiao manager Michael Koncz or the fighters themselves.
For some fans, there probably won't be any explanation compelling or reasonable enough to make them forget that this bout is taking place with both Pacquiao and Mayweather well past their primes. However, as an inside look at the world of boxing promotion and what it takes to pull off the biggest bouts in the world, it could prove to be a revealing, entertaining piece of work.
Bernstein's comments also reveal that the documentary will spend time on Pacquiao's training and preparation for the fight itself. Fans of previous HBO boxing specials, such as the De La Hoya/Mayweather 24/7 series, will likely find this an encouraging bit of news, as the up-close-and-personal look at the singular-minded dedication of these prizefighters can make even the best Rocky montages seem flat and uninspired.
Pacquiao is putting pride and legacy on the line May 2 against Mayweather. This documentary will hopefully shed more light on the global icon's preparations and what makes him tick while serving to stoke fan interest in the bout and keep the momentum flowing right up until the moment the two boxers meet in the squared circle.