Brewer Decisions Forbes in Contender Finale Snoozer

28.09.06 - By Craig Parrish: Unheralded Journeyman Grady Brewer decisioned Steve “2 Pound” Forbes in a fight that seemed to be lifted straight from the playbook of John Ruiz. For 10 agonizing rounds, the fighters clinched, held, and wrestled their way to a split decision. Forbes, a former world champion, was the clear-cut favorite from the beginning of the second season of the reality show. However, he was fighting at a much higher weight than he has been accustomed to during his career. It seemed to make little difference over the course of the show as he used superior skills to out-slick and out-point his opponents.. It was no shock to see him advance to the finals. Brewer, an unheralded fighter from Lawton, Oklahoma, with a record including 11 losses coming into the tournament was a real surprise at 35 years old. Recovering from a shoulder surgery at the beginning of the tournament, Brewer worked his way through the bouts and came back from a first round knockdown from Norberto Bravo in a controversial decision during the semi-finals to fight for the $500,000 purse.

However, the swelling music, selected exchanges, and enhanced sound effects during the season led to a real let down during the championship fight. The crowd was audibly booing through the majority of the match and the fighters had to be separated countless times from their clinches. Forbes appeared shaken several times from big shots of the taller and stronger Brewer. When Forbes would mount the occasional attack, he was clinched and shut down by Brewer in a truly ugly fight. The first season finale between Sergio Mora and Peter Manfredo was a much more entertaining fight, and the Producers of the show must have been let down by the lackluster performance of their Champion.

The undercard fight between Norberto Bravo and Cornelius “K-9” Bundrage was more entertaining but very one-sided. Bravo, who fought fairly well over the tournament and displayed a lot of heart was completely outclassed by the limited arsenal of the heavily muscled Bundrage. Utilizing a jab, right hook, and arm bar, Bundrage shut down and dominated fan favorite Bravo and scored a TKO in the 7th round. It was surprising and almost appeared that either Bravo had under-trained for the fight or simply did not take Bundrage seriously.

It is unknown if “The Contender” will return for a third season. Boxing fans have mixed feelings about the show, some claiming that anything that brings new fans to the sport of boxing, while some believe that the staged, orchestrated look of the show detracts from the true science of the sport. In any event, it has definitely benefited the contestants, who may have spent years or careers toiling on undercards in anonymity otherwise.

Article posted on 28.09.2006

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