Let me tell you, boxing's enterprise, at the elite status, is all controlled by money and politics. Promoters, who would rather protect their fighters against safe opposition, than to out them in against fellow stars and elite champions in their division.
If you are a promoter, it is much easier to feed a below average Joe Schmoe to your undefeated superstar titlist, who has a substantial crowd appeal, and even worse, feed such a "contest" to fans, who should know better, on PPV!
Undoubtedly, The Contender is clearly intended to be a reality TV show, but it's a bunch of fighters who have had difficult times in their careers and never quite made it to the elite level that all of the top fighters are able to reach. All of these gentlemen have a past in terms of their lives and careers. This show right here is reality, and it can be appreciated.
Not every fighter can ascend to the world championship ranks. Not every fighter makes to the big stage on HBO. One can appreciate this competition for what it is, just as one can follow the big leagues and the championship world class picture.
The drama is great for TV purposes, and so is the fact that they're 5 round fights, which means that these evenly matched (for the most part) fighters have to fight their asses off in that 15 minute period.
I'll tell you right now, I'd rather watch this reality series than 65% of the PPV GARBAGE that promoters try to influence us to purchase, any day of the week and twice on Sunday! Bring me 15 average to below average (but evenly matched) fighters and put them against each other in a reality TV tournament, BEFORE you bring me a protected and undefeated superstar titlist, who is going to defend his title against some bum, who is not even on the level of the guys who fight on this reality TV SHOW! Lord knows I will probably get a better bang for my buck which, considering the fact that it is FREE, will be no fee.
Having said all of that, all of the fights and their results of this second season of The Contender boiled down to an appropriately-matched finale. Not only that, but it was not edited for the TV show. This fight, just as was the case on NBC in the original season, was shown as a real, unedited boxing match on ESPN.
Last night, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA, Grady "Bad Boy" Brewer (21-11, 12 KO's) entered the ring as the underdog (a live one at that) against former IBF Jr. Lightweight Champion Stevie "Two Pound" Forbes (32-3, 9 KO's) for the The Contender Season Two Championship. Both contestants had beaten three fighters each to get to this landmark, with Brewer defeating Vinroy Barrett, Michael Stewart, and Nerberto Bravo. Forbes had beaten Freddy Curiel, Nick Acevedo, and Cornelius Bundrage.
Let it be known, that while polls indicated that most people were picking Forbes to win the fight, I predicted an upset win for Brewer, based on his quality of opposition, rangier style, and size advantage. Perhaps so many folks were favoring Forbes because he was the most skilled boxer in the competition. Many fans also took into account that Forbes is a former world champion and such a reputation, which clearly preceded him in the bouts throughout the competition, would lead to an inevitable victory on his part in the championship match.
Last night not only marked the finale of this second season, but a chance for one of these two fighters to make a major statement by win this entire competition in front of 12,000 fans in attendance and a nationwide audience. Furthermore, the winner would take home $500,000, be featured the cover boy in the following issue of Ring Magazine, and be awarded a brand new blue Toyota Tundra.
Throughout the fight, both knew the stakes of this event and put forth a game effort. Although Brewer was the underdog entering the bout, his quality of opposition was much more impressive than that of the former world champion.
Having fought the likes of current middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, Jr middleweight contenders Sechew Powell and Anthony Thompson, and former Jr middleweight title challenger Carlos Bojorquez, Brewer felt right at home fighting against Forbes, at what felt like a more natural weight to him of 147lbs.
At the end of the day, it was the bigger and rangier Brewer who would prevail via split decision over Forbes. Scores were 97-93 and 96-94 for Brewer respectively, while the third scorecard resulted in a tab of 96-94 for Forbes. Perhaps Forbes will move down to the more suitable 140lb division, as he was just a bit over matched from a physical standpoint against Brewer.
For Brewer, this is indeed a notable achievement on his part. Also fighting as an underdog in all three of his bouts leading up to the finale, Brewer has clearly proven himself to be the Cinderella Man in this second season of The Contender. The victory over Forbes raises Brewer to a record of 22-11. with 12 knockouts. As it stands right now, that may very possibly be the best 22-11 record in the sport.
If the avid fans of the National Football League (NFL), many of them being Philadelphia Eagles fans in the Southern NJ and Philadelphia regions, can appreciate the Eagles for their hard work, and losing efforts in all the playoffs at which they failed to win Superbowl Championships, then yours truly can appreciate Mr. Brewer for his enthusiasm and refusal to give in due the losses he has suffered and adversity he has faced in his professional career.
Mr. Brewer, after seeing your performances as well as the story behind your life and career, you now have another fan. Such praise and envy is coming from a truly loyal boxing fan, expert, and aficionado. From the undisputed champions, all the way to the journeymen, this critic must give credit where credit is due. He showed heart. He showed courage. He showed determination. He showed an unbreakable desire to capture the moment in this finalle and move on to a bigger and more lucrative stage in the sport.
Kudos to Grady Brewer! A job well done.