58° Good Afternoon
58° Good Afternoon

HBO '24/7' Episode 1 recap: Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez 4

Manny Pacquiao, right, of the Philippines, hits Mexico's

Manny Pacquiao, right, of the Philippines, hits Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez during a WBO welterweight title fight Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, in Las Vegas. Photo Credit: AP

Let's start with boxing fans and the boxing media. When the fourth fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao was announced, there seemed to be a collective groan. It had less to do with these two fighters, and more to do with the absence of a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight.

We get it.

There remains a lingering disappointment. It's time to let it go. If you want boxing to be like the good old days, well, this fight is as old-school as it gets. Two great champions, future Hall-of-Famers, meeting for a fourth time? That's vintage Pep-Saddler or Robinson-LaMotta.

It's time to get on board and accept that it will once again be a great fight. These two guys know no other way. With that, let's jump into the first episode of HBO's 24/7: Pacquiao-Marquez 4.

Best Spoken Line, Juan Manuel Marquez: "People say, why Pacquiao? I want to prove who's better and I want the referee to raise my hand."

Best Spoken Line, Manny Pacquiao: "I thought ... It's over." After the third knockdown in the first fight. I think we all did.

Freddie Sez: Roach throws down the challenge to 24/7, "We need a new twist, not sure what we are going to do yet."

Freddie Sez, part 2: "I never wanted to see them fight again."

Best Supporting Cast: HBO's Larry Merchant. He was very eloquent in describing the three previous fights. Particularly, "I thought both fighters deserved to win, neither one deserved to lose. That's a draw for me."

Scenic View: Aerials of NYC and establishing shots of Mexico City

Best Written Line: "There is an expectation in boxing that even the most storied, the most ferocious, the most competitive of conflicts can be settled over the course of a trilogy. But for Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines and Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez, 36 rounds over the past eight years have not been enough."

Other thoughts:

-- Loved the footage of Pacquiao from 2004, what a great smile.

-- Bittersweet to hear Emanuel Steward's voice on the call of the previous fights.

-- An important segment was done on the fact that referee Joe Cortez could have, but did not, stop the first fight after the three knockdowns. Had he ruled a TKO, the course of history for both fighters changes.

The show opened with promoter Bob Arum defining rivalries. He started with Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, talking about their three epic fights and stating that the fighters were world class and how that's an important part of any good rivalry. Then it segued to Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti. It appeared Arum prefaced that rivalry by saying the fighters were "evenly matched" and he then talked about their fighting hearts. It was a subtle, but smart move because Ward and Gatti were not world class the way Ali-Frazier and Pacquiao-Marquez are.

New York Sports