Even super accomplished people need to keep striving, keep looking to climb mountains even after they’ve ascended Everest, because what else is there to do, but keep on keepin’ on...the alternative is coasting, or resting on laurels, and for super achievers that is akin to dying, we learn in the third episode of HBO’s 24/7 series for the fourth Pacquiao-Marquez fight.
To start, we see Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym, and Manny Pacquiao driving to the gym. Roach says that Manny called him and put off coming to the US to train by two weeks. Freddie says Manny was in shape when he came, so he’s happy. Pacman says training is more intense for this camp than in the previous two. Part of that is Freddie promise of bonus money, a thousand bucks for every guy he knocks down in sparring. "My focus is more aggressiveness, throw a lot of combinations and if I get a chance to finish the fight, why not, I will grab that opportunity," Manny says. He drops a partner, for the first time, and the folks at the gym eww and ahh. Jessie Roman, a sparring partner, says he sees Pacman is fiesty in this camp.
Roach then tries to give Manny the moolah, and Manny refuses. "I can’t accept that, it’s my job," he explains. "He doesn’t gamble anymore, I’m happy," says Roach after putting the green back in his pocket.
Roach says training is different now, in that Manny can tell him what to do. Freddie says he misses the days when he was the boss. (I dare say, this isn’t good news for those hoping for a turnaround for Pacquiao, for a return to 2009 form. It’s exceedingly rare for a boxer with the leverage in the relationship to push himself as hard as the trainer would.)
Back in Mexico City, at the Romanza Boxing Gym, Marquez shows up. He’s been in heavy training since mid October. He says that he started refining himself after their last fight, and will try different strategies Saturday night. Trainer Nacho Beristain says he was nervous last time, because JMM didn’t have the speed...but he found it two days before the fight. This time, the tutor hopes the speed is present earlier.
Team Marquez now bans cameras during sparring, so Team Pacquiao can’t do scouting.
Then Marquez receives cupping therapy, which is supposed to help the body recover. Flame is lit into a cup, which is then stuck on the body. The skin reddens, and blood flows to that area. Not sure how valid it is as a PED, but if he believes in it...
Then, Pacman goes on the Jimmy Kimmel show, his seventh appearance on the program. A clip is seen, and Kimmel notes that the no drinking-gambling-cockfighting Manny lost his last bout...so would he return to his old ways? No way, Manny says.
The posse goes to Manny’s place for a darts and chess party. No booze or pool-playing is in evidence...
In Mexico, Marquez does an early AM workout. Angel Heredia oversees. Marquez says that pairing has been a great changeup. In the mid 90s, Heredia was involved in a PED scandal. "I was young, stupid and impulsive," he explains. He turned states’ evidence in 2005, and avoided prosecution. Heredia said he now advocates to clean up the sport. "Testing is always welcome," he declares. "We’re ready to kick ***!" Marquez says at the end of a track workout.
Freddie Roach, age 52, drives to work as "California Dreaming" plays. He recalls growing up in Massachusetts, thinking he’d be a tree surgeon, like his dad. He pursued boxing, and not the "working stiff’ path. At his Hollywood Gym, mom Barbara talks about her involvement. She says the gym is like home. Roach’s losses with Pacquaio, Khan and Chavez Jr. are discussed. He wonders, he says, if he is losing his touch. "It’s not easy, I sometimes can’t sleep at light, it bugs me," he admits. Dec. 8, he can finish a bad year on a good note. Pacquiao says he "won’t let Freddie down."
We see Manny listening to Freddie, and going back to being the boss. (One of the reasons, maybe the main reason, Freddie is loved, is because he admits he can be introspective, and admits his shortcomings and admits that he errs, and tries to improve. He shows himself to be a fallible human being and thus is relatable to all.)
Beristain loves the routine. He comes back from the gym, and listens to music, and reads. No naps, the 73-year-old doesn’t have the time. He watches boxing film and uses a breathing device; no more cigars for the trainer, who had a bout of pneumonia recently. "I’m OK," he says.
He says JMM has been under his gaze since he was 12, and is a "great human being." The boxer knows that even if he quits, Nacho cannot quit boxing.
In close, we see a montage. The principals are driven to win, to keep striving, to stave off obsolescence, and it is implied, death.
Roach says Marquez has been down four times in three fights, and he thinks he will go down and be counted out, this time. Marquez says, "It’s starting to get personal," and "there’s more anger. That’s how the fourth fight will be."