The opening immediately set the scene for the rematch and HBO's "24/7" series itself.
In their previous fight nearly two years ago, Timothy Bradley scored a controversial decision over Manny Pacquiao. Many ringsiders and media outlets had Pacquiao winning, thus, setting the stage for the rematch April 12, on HBO pay-per-view.
While Aaron Cohen's essay on what should determine the outcome of a fight was the perfect opener, it seemed that HBO spent too much time on the backstory in this episode. Not only was Pacquiao-Bradley I revisited, so were their other fights leading up to the rematch.
Best spoken line, Manny Pacquiao: "I can tell you that I could knock him out. But I'm just nice to Bradley in the ring. That's what happened."
Best spoken line, Timothy Bradley: "I proved myself over and over and over and over. I'm tired of saying this. This dude is not going to beat me."
Best spoken line, Bradley, part 2: "He kind of laid back and just let me work," talking about the first fight.
Best spoken line, Bradley, part 3: "I don't do this to be average. I do this to be great."
Best spoken line, Bradley, part 4: "He hasn't lost any of his ability. I feel that he has lost his fire. He don't have it any more. He's so compassionate, the man is so caring, so loving, he can't even say he's going to knock me out. That type of guy don't belong in the ring."
Maxed Out: Reflecting on the first fight, HBO's Max Kellerman said: "Pacquiao hadn't fought a good fighter in that fighter's prime in a long time. And here he was going to fight Tim Bradley, who's a well-schooled, well-rounded fighter in his prime. That's a dangerous fight." They also aired a clip of Max speculating on the upset while commentating on the actual fight.
Freddie Sez: "Everyone had us winning but a couple of guys. But those couple of guys are the ones who counted." -- Freddie Roach.
Best written line: The opening essay -- "The central appeal of boxing, to fighters and followers alike, is extraordinarily basic. Let the physical elements of strength and skill alone determine superiority. Dispense with anything else that can get in the way of an unquestionable outcome. If only the sport could live up to that ideal."
Scenic View: Loved the way they used the swaying heavybag to fade out at the end of the episode.
Training Days: Bradley on the trampolene with ankle weights and dumbbells. Had never seen that training exercise before.
* Great post-fight footage from inside both dressing rooms after the first fight, particularly the part of Bradley getting into the ambulance.
* It is unfair, but typical of boxing that Bradley did not immediately get offers following his upset win of Pac Man. The business side of boxing dictated that more money could still be made with Pacquiao after a loss than Bradley after a win.
* Pacquiao's advisor Michael Konz made the mistake of saying maybe it's time for "us" to retire. When the bell rings, Pacquiao moves forward, all the other guys climb out of the ring. There is no "us" in boxing.
* Boxers rarely talk about their weaknesses or shortcomings. In their minds, they need to be invincible to be great fighters. But Bradley was refreshingly honest about the Ruslan Provodnikov fight.?