In the recap of the first episode of HBO's "24/7" for Manny Pacquiao vs. Timothy Bradley Jr., I wrote that there was too much back story. It was surprising to see that in episode 3, much of the same ground was covered in the opening. In fact, two of Max Kellerman's quotes were used again in this episode.
HBO tried a new studio format with this episode. Here are some thoughts on the show.
Best spoken line, Timothy Bradley: "I'm actually thankful it happened. I'm actually thankful that people hated me and didn't want me to succeed... I moved forward. I don't care what people think of me now. I'm a great fighter. I know who I am." He was talking about the controversy that followed the first fight.
Best spoken line, Manny Pacquiao: "What happened?" After hearing the decision after the first fight.
Best supporting cast: Filipino journalist Dyan Castillejo, who has covered Pacquiao for more than a decade.
* Liked appearances by Michael Buffer, Dan Rafael and David Greisman in the opening review of the first fight. However, as previously stated, too much time was spent on the first fight. Cover it once, not twice in three episodes.
* Kieran Mulvaney was a nice addition to the show. He also made two interesting observations. He said that the controversy from the first fight "washed off Manny Pacquiao within a minute of the decision being announced," and that Bradley, the winner, has more to prove.
* Boxing is serious business. Men get hurt inside the ring. It's never a good idea to poke fun at that. Too bad trainer Joel Diaz laid face down on the canvas in the same position as Pacquiao after he got knocked out by Juan Manuel Marquez. Diaz has generally come off well in these episodes but he used poor judgment there.
* Nice moment on the bus with Bradley and his daughter.
What has set "24/7" apart thus far has been beautiful footage, incredible access and smart writing. HBO's "24/7" slogan has long been "Step inside their lives before they step inside the ring."
Fans of this series need not worry about Thursday night's format change being permanent.
That episode - the third and final installment on the rematch between Timothy Bradley and Manny Pacquiao - featured Jim Lampley as a studio host taking viewers through different segments of the show. That was a departure from the behind-the-scenes access and the narration of Liev Schreiber.
"It's not a sea change," Raymond Stallone, HBO's Vice President of Media Relations, told Newsday. "After 33 '24/7' episodes starring Manny Pacquiao, the producers made a decision to try something different. It was a change of pace. We wanted to mix things up. Liev is still our narrator and the show will be back. It doesn't mean that we won't try something like this again, but the fans of the show shouldn't worry about a format change."
Pacquiao has been featured on "24/7" more than any other fighter and it was obvious during this series that the story lines for the Filipino fighter just weren't there. The "24/7" series will return for the June 7 showdown between Sergio Martinez and Miguel Cotto at Madison Square Garden.
The reality-type series debuted in 2007 to promote upcoming pay-per-view fights on HBO. It has long been critically acclaimed and has garnered numerous Emmy awards.