This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Contender

This is one, if not my very, favorite show on television.

This says a lot because I am a TV addict. DVR is my best friend. I have two of them and I can fill them both up. Like books, there are just too many to enjoy. And I don't have the time to devote to books and TV, but fortunately, books will not go away and DVR keeps my shows until I can watch them (technically, if everything works just right).

In time, I may reveal my other favorites shows...maybe, but The Contender is, to me, one of the best in the reality/docu-dramas.

It first appeared on one of the national networks a few years ago, with none other than the fake boxer, Rocky -- aka Sylvester Stallone -- hosting the show. It was hokey, but good. There were stupid boxer tricks they had to do to "win", like a bunch of guys pulling a truck full of tires.

There was more focus on each fighter with their family. A great hook. But what really impressed me was the human element. These boxers are not people who are hollywood wanna-bes that want to try boxing. These are men who are bonafide boxers, most who who work another job for a living and then box on the side FOR THE LOVE OF IT. Their dream is to be a great boxer and a great person -- a dad, a son, a brother, whatever.

They are not rich and yet they devote their time to this 'sport'. I am NOT a boxing fan or aficionado. I did not think this show would be that good. But it caught me by surprise and for the most part, I am tense throughout the match.

These men have elements that I think is missing from other mainstream sports: integrity, pride, respect, endurance, commitment, and passion.

Maybe I read to much into the show, but it truly moves me. These guys talk crap to another and then box to win. Whoever wins usually ends up speaking well of the opponent. The one who loses does the same thing. They both talk about how the other was a great fighter and put up a great fight. Amazing. Truly amazing.

The first season produced Sergio "The Snake" Mora, now a well know boxing figure. Along with Alfonso Gomez. The second season was just as good and now, the third season, which appears on ESPN.

It was canceled from national TV for low ratings, but thankfully, ESPN picked it up and took out the stupid human tricks. What they show now is more documentary with a slice of reality TV in it. We learn about each boxer and they're background. We know thier current records, or if they've been on hiatus for a bit.

The only showmanship come from the coaches, or the shit talk they have before a match. Everything else is training, perspective and then, boxing.

America does not vote for the winner. The winner is who beats the opponets they need to beat to get to the final round. I end up rooting for one and then feeling bad for the other, because these men both have a lot of heart.

Give it a try. you can find past episodes on ESPN, but the new episodes come on Tuesdays at 10 PM.

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