Before I get started, I would like to make it clear that I do not work for HBO and I am not (unfortunately) getting paid to write this post. If HBO would like to pay me to write this post, they know where to find me! I’m sure you guys, as my fans, know a little about just how good HBO’s sports coverage can be. Despite the 2008 cancellation of Inside the NFL (a Sunday morning staple for 31 years), HBO continues to provide top notch sports coverage, whether it be news or op/ed pieces. HBO’s lineup includes such hits as 24/7 (one of my favorite concepts), Real Sports with Bryant (not Barney) Gumble, and Hard Knocks (tremendous). It seems like the people at HBO, maybe because they don’t have to worry about network standards and practices, are consistently coming up with new and edgier ways to cover the sports world. This brings us, finally, to the point. I really Like Face Off with Max Kellerman, and I think you will too.
Max Kellerman has been around the sports world for almost two decades now, getting his mainstream start as an analyst on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights in the late 90s. I first really got to know who he in 2002, when he became the host of ESPN’s Around the Horn. He’s gone on to do a lot of things for a lot of networks, but has really become the face of HBO’s boxing coverage of in the last couple of years (no disrespect to Jim Lampley).
His latest project is Face Off with Max Kellerman, a fifteen minute show that airs throughout the month preceding all the big HBO fights (PPV too). Max brings in the two boxers who will soon try to beat each other’s brains in, and has them talk face to face for fifteen minutes. The set is as simple as the concept. A small table is situated in a dark room with an overhead light. Max sits in the middle of the small table with the two boxers on either end, just a couple of feet away from each other. The chairs are even facing backwards, so that the boxers have to lean forward over to sit in them, putting them that much closer to each other. Max then asks the two men questions designed to get them to talk trash to each other, make bold predictions and otherwise piss each other off. Pretty cool. No one has come to blows yet on the set of Max Kellerman Face Off, but there’s always hope (I thought Wladimir Klitschko was gonna clock David Haye on their episode).
Wednesday night was the premier of the Mayweather/Oritz installment of Face Off, as they are set to face off in the ring on September 17th. If boxing titles were decided by talking, there’s no doubt in my mind that Floyd Mayweather would never lose. He talks circles around Victor Ortiz. Floyd definitely shows his “money mayweather” personality in this episode, and Ortiz comes off as more quietly (if not awkwardly) confident. That being said, this fight will be decided not at Max Kellerman’s table, but in the ring. I would love to see Ortiz continue his rise to the top by successfully defending his newly won WBC World Welterweight championship against a living legend of boxing like Floyd. On the other hand, a loss by Mayweather may put his long-danced around fight with Manny Pacquiao in jeopardy, so maybe it’s best for Floyd to win. Ortiz still has a long career ahead of him even if he loses.
Either way, it should be a good fight. Ortiz is a stud prospect coming off a big and exciting win against another top young welterweight, Andre Berto. Mayweather, on the other hand, hasn’t fought anyone in over a year. However, he’s still Floyd Mayweather, Jr. He’s still the fastest boxer in the world, and he’s still undefeated in 42 fights. I think Ortiz will finally stop Mayweather, possibly setting up a fight with Pacquiao for next year (at least I hope so). I’ll probably have another post dedicated to this fight alone as we get closer to it, because it should be fun to watch.
Here’s a preview of the Mayweather/Ortiz episode. Full episode is on youtube, but i have a feeling it will be pulled down, so I won’t link to it.
image courtesy of: http://www.harcosokklubja.hu
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