"With actor Liev Schreiber narrating, who couldn't shed a tear?"
The last time we saw Floyd Mayweather Jr. on HBO's acclaimed reality series 24/7, we were treated to the heartwarming story of the Las Vegas-based fighter bringing his estranged, ailing father Floyd Sr. back into his and his children's lives. With actor Liev Schreiber narrating, who couldn't shed a tear?
But that's ancient history.
This is 2011, where earthquakes plague the East Coast. Floyd and his dad are again on the outs, and their family rage will be shown in living color by HBO's cameras, with Mayweather's myriad legal woes serving as another distraction. Saturday night's debut of 24/7: Mayweather vs. Ortiz (10 p.m. ET) promises to lift dysfunction to a new level.
This is Mayweather's fifth appearance on the series — it began in 2007 to preview the Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya fight, which drew a record 2.4million pay-per-view buys.
"Floyd continues to be must-see TV," says Mark Taffet, HBO's senior vice president of operations and pay-per-view.
"He's got that larger-than-life personality, but it's amazing how generous he is to our camera people with the access and time he's willing to give us in the weeks leading up to the fight. That's what enables us to make the show so special. He brings the viewer into his life, his house and his training camp, and he is incredibly open and allows the viewer to get up-close and personal. As a result, a strong connection is created."
It's not only Mayweather's first fight in 16 months that makes this four-episode lead-up to his Sept. 17 fight in Las Vegas so attractive, it's also the rich back story of his young opponent, Victor Ortiz.
By now, the 24-year-old welterweight champion's story is well known. His mother abandoned her children — Victor, his older sister Carmen and younger brother Temo — when Victor was 7. His alcoholic father, who got Victor into boxing, often beat his kids, then left a few years later; they went into foster care until Carmen became a legal adult and adopted them in 2002. During that time, Victor was dealing drugs.
"He's not only one of boxing's rising stars and one of the great stories in the ring, his story outside the ring really is one of the most touching and meaningful we've ever encountered," Taffet says. "And you can't portray Victor on 24/7 without understanding and showing viewers the special relationship he has with his brother Temo."
Ortiz has no qualms about his life being laid out for all to see.
"Not at all. It really helps me," he says. "I'm pretty confident in knowing people who are there to be good to you and people who are there to not be good to you. I want people to know. The way I came up was not easy, but I'm not stopping for anyone."
HBO's parent company, Time-Warner, in attempting to get as much exposure as possible for what it sees as a mega-event Sept. 17, also will air 24/7: Mayweather vs. Ortiz on CNN two hours later, through all four episodes.