The hype hurricane is nearly over. The time for talking is almost over, and we are a day away from boxing's World Cup, a fight that has landed the fading game back in every sports section in every paper, in every language you can name.
We've had so much talk, now comes the time to see who walks the walk. HBO presented one final round in their four-part Oscar/Floyd reality series, “24/7,” on Thursday night, one again narrated by a man who could read the phone book and keep me enthralled, Liev Schreiber.
Here's a synopsis of our “real world” peek at May 5th's principals.
Oscar's eight weeks in Puerto Rico in training have come to a halt; he's jetting to Southern California and gets in his final sparring sesh before Saturday.
PBF's camp is in Vegas so he doesn't have to pack up and relocate.
“This is my job, there's no pressure on me, I know what I gotta go out there and do, I know what it takes, I'm not even worried,” Floyd assures the camera. “I'm still the king of the throne.”
Floyd's been in camp two months, and he thinks the jump in weight, from 147 to 154, won't be a hindrance.
Oscar is seen doing some stretches at the Rose Bowl, preparing to do some cardio. He bends over to limber up, and lets out a hellacious fart.
“Ahh. Get that on 24/7,” he says. “He's human!” an off camera voice declares. And some of you out there think this reality show isn't the whole truth and nothing butt–this gas attack dispels that theory.
Oscar hits Jay Leno on Monday and Leno quizzes him if he's been gettin' any. Oscar tells Jay his coping mechanism to keep Millie at bay.
“I put pillows in between but you're hoping she touches your leg or something,” he says, grinning.
Hotel workers and hopeful gamblers are asked who they think will carry the day on Saturday and the masses are split.
PBF shows up for a press conference in Vegas, and then Oscar comes to the event. The crowd goes ga-ga for the Golden Boy, who's battled 25 times in Sin City. He's more popular in Vegas than Gambler's Anonymous meetings.
At the MGM Grand Arena, Oscar takes a tour. He and his toddler looked at the ring, and Richard Schaefer bragged about all the celebs that will show up. He said Marc Anthony will sing the anthem–what, Oscar couldn't convince JLo to do the honors?
Oscar and the toddler get in the ring and Oscar tosses punches at shadows while the boy trods on the soft canvas.
Floyd is seen in the ring during a media day in camp. PBF says that he's in the mix with SR Robinson and Ali, and says Oscar's name is mentioned in the same breath with those icons. “I'm the best, you talk about 24/7, he's boring, extremely boring, who the fuck wanna hear about cappuccino, who wanna hear about some punkass dogs, they wanna see some controversy, this is America,” he says. “Our family being wild and crazy is exciting to us, we don't mind.” And we, the media, surely don't mind. This is Jerry Springeresque behavior and we can indulge in this schadenfreudistic voyeurism while indulging our boxing Jones.
Floyd Senior is seen tutoring Joan Guzman.
“My son is in top shape,” Dad says, “but at this time it's the good guy bad guy fight and we know who the good guy is and we know who the bad guy is.”
On Tuesday night, Oscar breaks a sweat at an out of the way gym, in private, owned by Tony Rila. The fight is four days away now.
“Boxing needs this,” Oscar says. “I've accomplished a great deal in my boxing career. Come May 5, I'll put on the best performance of my life.”
On Wednesday, Senior drives to the final PC. “He's acting like a jerk, I still love him,” Junior says. Floyd is seen laughing it up backstage; this guy is loose as can be, the the nerve-wracked fighter Oscar says (hopes in the face of contrary evidence?) he is.
Floyd takes the mike and thanks God, his team, the media.
“I want the fight so bad. May 5th you're going to see the best Floyd Mayweather,” he says, short and uncharacteristically sweet.
“We're ready for this fight, I'm expecting the best of the best, all the attention will be on boxing on May 5th, now it's up two us two fighters to fight as hard as we can, I don't expect any less and I know on my part I'm gonna fight as hard as I can,” Oscar says.
“I'm good at what I do man, you got to respect it, I'm gonna smack the shit out of him, if he's a real man he gonna smack me back,” Floyd says in an earlier sit down chat.
“It's your life up in that ring,” Oscar says in a sitdown, explaining the stakes to the uninitiated.
“I can beat him with one hand, I can beat him with two hands, I talk the talk and I can walk the walk,” PBF boasts.
The last word in this four part series goes to Mayweather.
“Right now I'm gonna pay to see that kid get his ass kicked. Say what you want to say about me, I been calling Oscar out for years, and shit, May fifth, here it is,” he says, grinning.
Both fighters emerge from the series with their reputation intact. Oscar kept himself in scripted mode more, save for the fart, and that's the businessman/politician in him, always controlling message. Floyd's stock perhaps rises in my eyes, after all is said and done, as he paraded his pottymouth and behavior tics, like a rampaging gambling habit. He keeps it real, to use his vernacular. He admits that he's playing up his schtick, to maximize the usefullness of his villain turn, but he seems, to use Oprah vernacular, more authentic.
NEWSBREAK: Jason Gonzalez, one of the three TSS staffers on site, reports in on Friday night from the weigh in: Oscar is 154 on the dot, and Floyd comes in light, at 150. The crowd to see the weigh in was the biggest of all time, event heads say.