Few things in this world so perfectly mirror the struggles and triumphs of life more poetically than sports. This is especially true of boxing, a brutal ballet which serves as the perfect metaphor for overcoming any obstacle and standing tall and proud in the face of your toughest adversities. Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have given their lives to the sport of boxing, and the sport has given meaning and definition to their lives in return. As a lead-up to their epic showdown - which was billed, quite rightly, as the most anticipated fight of this generation - HBO Sports conceived an immaculately produced documentary on these two legends of the ring titled Mayweather/Pacquiao: At Last.
"The most beautiful truth of the sport is that it reveals everything about the men who engage in it," announces smooth-voiced narrator/actor Liev Schreiber. This is clear from the first frame of the film as the narrative opens in Kibawe, Bukidnon in the Philippines. These are the poverty-riddled streets that gave birth to Manny Pacquiao. At a young age, Pacquaio discovered the key to transcending his humble origins may lie in his fists. The career that ensued, and the heights he would eventually reach as one of boxing's most popular and beloved champions, is a testament to Pacquiao's strength of character and unconquerable drive.
Mayweather was raised in the most American of cities: Detroit, Michigan. He was practically born with boxing in his blood, and his father served as his major inspiration and personal trainer. His meteoric rise as the unbeaten world champion is marked by his undeniable power, and an Ali-esque braggadocio and swagger. He has every right to boast. After all, Mayweather is the highest paid athlete in the universe.
A dual portrait of these sensational boxers is a study in contrasts, but one central theme unites them both. Through sheer determination, talent and willpower, they both reached the top of their professions. The epic showdown between the two fighters is now a part of history; Mayweather was judged the winner by unanimous decision. But even with the knowledge of that outcome, watching Mayweather/Pacquiao: At Last only deepens a viewer's appreciation of what it takes to be a champion in and out of the ring.