TODAY'S PAPER
Scattered Clouds 37° Good Afternoon
Scattered Clouds 37° Good Afternoon
SportsBoxingMayweather vs Pacquiao

Yes, 'Mayweather-Pacquiao: At Last'

Following an escort on a bicycle, boxer Manny

Following an escort on a bicycle, boxer Manny Pacquiao(C) is joined by supporters and training mates on his morning jog along a city street to a park in Los Angeles, California on April 21, 2015. The Filipino Congressman and world champion boxer will fight Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas, Nevada, on May 2 in what is being billed as the 'Fight of the Century', between the first and only eight-division world champion Pacquiao and undefeated five-division world champion Mayweather. AFP PHOTO / FREDERIC J. BROWNFREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images Photo Credit: Getty Images / FREDERIC J. BROWN

There is a moment in HBO's documentary, "Mayweather-Pacquiao: At Last," when Jim Lampley says, "There is a giant pile of money here, it's unbelievable, how much money there is here. And they're not fighting each other? What in the world is that about?"

For an hour, HBO tried to give you an answer. And while the network did an admirable job, there really is not one simply answer.  

Since late in 2009, the power brokers in boxing had attempted to make the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao fight. It was the usual suspects that prevented this fight from happening for so long - pride, respect and jealousy. All the other issues - drug testing and purse splits - stem from those three.

Fight fans, just be happy the fight was made and on Saturday night, the boxing world will finally get to see who is the better man in the ring.

As for HBO's documentary-style build-up to the fight, it was an archivist's dream. One can only imagine the amount of archival footage sorted through to produce this film. 

HBO had televised the fights of Mayweather and Pacquiao for so long, as well as the "24/7" episodes, there was almost no need to shoot any new footage. They could almost tell the entire story based on their vast archives.

Of course,  HBO did indeed shoot new footage and conduct new interviews with the likes of Pacquiao, Freddie Roach, Pacquiao advisor Michael Koncz, Bob Arum and new HBO boss Ken Hershman.

Here are some highlights from the show, which you can still watch ahead of Saturday's fight on HBO's website or through its HBO Go and HBO Now streaming services.

* Writer Aaron Cohen was at his best. The 14-time Emmy winner from Long Island is clearly one of the top writers in sports television. Here are some examples:

When describing the humble beginnings of both fighters, he wrote of Pacquiao, only, "boxing could turn a man into a miracle."

And of their steady path to stardom, he writes, "From these contrasting origins, in these early years of the 21st century, twin superstars were born," followed by, "This is a story of one man's long path to another."

* Interspersing archival footage of Pacquiao and Mayweather against their common opponents was fantastic. There was one montage during which the footage alternated between Pacquiao and Mayweather fighting Oscar de la Hoya, Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton. This happens again later in the film, when they show Pacquiao and Mayweather jogging over the years. Very well done.

* The footage of a teenage Mayweather is always fantastic to look at.

* Love the clip of Lampley mispronouncing Pacquiao. The thought is inconceivable today.

* Roach remembering Pacquiao's win over de la Hoya, "When the first punch landed, the fight was over."

* Roach recounts a story about how he was once a father figure to Pacquiao. But as the relationship evolved, he felt that they had grown to become friends. Roach was recently watching "Pac Man" play a pick up game of basketball.  Every time Manny scored a basket, he looked over at Roach. An observer pointed out to the trainer, "He still seeks your approval, you are still a father figure."

* There was nice footage of Pacquiao hitting the mitts with Roach.  While showing that footage and writing of the relationship between fighter and trainer, Cohen offered, "In their craft, there is no better form of communication than their fists. In their life together there is no other exercise that could seal their bond so completely."

* Pacquiao tried to a tell a joke that could have been construed as crude. He said that when a man sis entenced to death, he is usually granted a last meal. The condemned man is given anything he wants for that meal. Pacquiao then explained that Mayweather has now gotten everything he wanted - drug testing and  a 60-40 purse split.

* HBO, with the help of Koncz, also explains the much-publicized chance meeting between Pacquiao and Mayweather at a Miami Heat basketball game. The two met courtside at halftime and later back at Manny's hotel. Koncz said, "If you two really want to fight, who can stop it?"

And at the end of the day, that's all it came down to. Both guys really wanted to fight.
 

New York Sports