While the glory days of boxing are long gone and MMA has gained more mainstream appeal, the most compelling show on television is HBO’s boxing series, 24/7. 24/7 is without a doubt the best sports series and possibly the best show overall besides Mad Men. HBO has used the 24/7 series to promote their huge PPV fights since beginning back in 2007 for the De La Hoya/Mayweather fight. Each fight gets a 4-episode series that covers the fighters’ intense training, enormous entourages, and their compelling backgrounds. It offers an unparalleled inside look at a sport that has been tainted by mainstream public cries of pervasive corruption, extreme barbarism, and being too exotic. The show covers great depth stretching from the inner thoughts of the fighter to the personalities of the little guys in each fighters’ football team-sized camps. The scenes of Manny Pacquiao training in the Philippines while his country is ravaged by typhoons and deadly mudslides are particularly poignant as Pacquiao balances his role as fighter/Philippines #1 social service provider. It is fascinating to watch the normally taciturn Miguel Cotto show he is more than a powerful bruiser through the often comedic and bubbly interactions with his grossly obese best friend/assistant Brian Perez.
The Pacquiao/Cotto series lacks the starpower of a De La Hoya/Mayweather or and Cotto cannot match the personality of Ricky Hatton from Pacquiao/Hatton, but it is far and away the best fight the series has ever showcased with both fighters in their primes and putting their legacies at stake. Cotto is trying to get back to his elite fighter status after suffering a huge upset loss to Antonio Margarito in July 2008 in which Margarito may have cheated. Pacquiao is attempting to become the first fighter to win a title in 7 weight classes and catapult himself into the discussion of greatest pound-for-pound boxers of all time. This is undoubtedly going to be a very special fight on November 14th.
Prediction: Cotto is going to make it tough for Pacquiao with his size, but ultimately Pacquiao quickness will be too much for Cotto. Pacquiao wins in a decision.