University of Texas alum/HBO Sports director Marc Payton said the overhead video board at Cowboys Stadium will provide unprecedented viewing for in-house fans because of the close-ups -- particularly in the corners between rounds -- of the Manny Pacquiao-Joshua Clottey fight Saturday night.
Payton will be on hand to direct the pay-per-view ($49.99) fight for HBO.
"I grew up a Cowboys fan, so this is nirvana for me to direct the first fight ever held in Cowboys Stadium," said Payton, who was raised in the Texas Panhandle and has lived in The Woodlands, just north of Houston, since 1982.
Put a 20x20 foot ring inside a 3-million square foot venue and what do you get? A chance for creativity, said the veteran HBO Boxing director of 29 years.
"In terms of how we actually cover the fight itself, not a lot changes from bell to bell," Payton said. "But the stuff between rounds, between fights prior to the main event, now that's where we can really use the stadium to magnify the coverage."
Extra cameras have been added. HBO's Max Kellerman will work with a hand-held cameraman and report from around the stadium.
"For me, it'll be the corner action between rounds, close-ups of the fighters' faces, cuts being treated ... these [are] shots of a fight that you often don't get even seated close to ringside."
Because of the 60x170-foot video board, fans in attendance will get state-of-the-art close-ups from the PPV feed, no matter if they bought a $33 ticket or a $2,730 center ringside seat.
Payton, 62, has directed some of HBO's biggest fights, including all the Thomas Hearns-Marvin Hagler-Sugar Ray Leonard classics as well as Buster Douglas-Mike Tyson from Tokyo in 1990.
He directed Sunday Night Football on ESPN through the 2000 season and Sunday Night Baseballthrough 2001. For 22 years, he worked at HBO and ESPN until, as Payton put it, the travel became too much.
Now he has a fight practically in his own back yard. It's only a 230-mile drive from The Woodlands to Arlington.
Author: Ray Buck