The Contender Live Coverage 1.9 & 1.10 (04/24/05)

Last week, NBC pulled a fast one and actually tried to build suspense before telling us who will be brought back this week to replace the Contender’s second quitter (the youngest sap, Juan) until this week. While I respect the ploy, does any one really care which of the losers will come back to most certainly lose again (especially when there is apparently no chance of man being my favorite, Brent, the biblethumping country singer)?

More importantly, who will win the first of the second rout bouts in what seems like an endless tournament (what with all those returning losers) for a cool million?

Votes are cast for the guy to come back in.
Ahmed receives most of the votes. Nobody WANTED him back but decided to take him back for the sake of the challenge. Sugar Ray talks about the need to stay poised and how it matters in being able to stand up and face the challenge.

There were new shirtless Contender banners all up over the new arena. The boys talk about how exciting it is to see their photos up around the walls of Vegas. I don’t think these guys could handle fifteen minutes of fame.

Ahmed was brought back to get under Ishe’s skin and screw up his game.

The boys whine about rankings and challenges and how tough they are. Jesse is excited to find out what it would be like to face Ishe, and see if he can put his money where his mouth is.

Jesse is gunning to get Ishe out (because he can’t stand his way) and a fight almost breaks out in the common room.

Ahmed is one of those types of losers that still thinks he’s a winner after being defeated.

Manfredo is turning into a ghetto animal the more and more the show wears on. Ishe doesn’t seem to happy to see the “crazy good fighter” that Sergio can’t understand has been brought back to the game.

The first challenge of the second round, and for a shock, the game is now about individual challenges . The winner of the challenge can either pick the next fight or choose his own opponent from the rest . Winning gives you a commanding strategic advantage.

There are three legs to this agility-based challenge. The boys must wear boxing gloves and run some medicine balls across an obstacle race of balancing beam, carrying two at a time. Pairs get progressively eliminated. In the second leg, Sergio, Ishe, Jesse, and Joey compete across a track of tires and stumps carrying three medicine balls. The editing seems to have returned to its low-budget serviceman quality.

After Sergio and Ishe are eliminated. The boys continue, having to toss two balls into basketball nets and Jesse is able to pull through.

With Jesse declared the winner, he is asked to stand into the ring. Will Jesse stay true to his “honor and pride” and pick Ishe for himself to battle. He pulls Ishe out to apologize about having lost his temper and decides to have Sergio come out and fight him. The goal is to lose one of the men with a strong record. it may not do anything for his reputation, but it’s at least some strategy.

Ishe’s wife is the kind every man dreams about. She’s loyal and dependable and will always be there to support him. Mind you, at about 200+ pounds, I doubt there really is any risk that she won’t be.

Sun goes down in the city and the nighttime ring practice focuses this time on Sergio.

This fight is an exciting prospect with two undefeated fighters ready to take it to the next level.

One hour to the fight, we get to spend time with Ishe and Sergio in their own personal locker rooms. Sergio sees Ishe as having weakness of heart. Even though he hits hard, as long as Sergio hides the pain, he’ll come out winning.

Ishe’s wife offers some prayers for a win from God (but clearly they didn’t overhear Brent’s futile prayers to God).

In the arena, it looks just as empty and free of celebrities as the last few episodes. Sergio is told that nobody can do it like he can.

The first man to the ring is Ishe feeling like to Michael Jordan taking his last shot and that this will be his big taste of greatness.

Sergio wants to ensure that Ishe thinks to himself that he can’t win. He too seems ready for greatness. (but in reality, winning the Contender really only ensure mediocrity)

First round: Ishe takes the first hit. Sergio seems to have a bit more speed. He eyes down his opponent and goes in for the kill. However Ishe is able to eat the punches.

Second: Ishe’s annoying wife orders him to keep on him. Ishe is coming back strog and pounding a fury of blow s into Sergio, making the loved ones cup their hands around the ol’ face. Sergio was obliterated in this round.

Round three, Sergio’s punches are not accomplishing much and Ishe is destroying Sergio’s smaller frame. Ishe is knocked back towards the end and even to the ground, but he easily won the round.

Round four, Sergio needs it or it’s over. There is a tight grapple to start things off. Sergio lands in some harsh uppercuts. And wails on his abdomen. Ishe is powerless to stop the onslaught of Sergio.

Again, the last round is the deciding match. For the fifth and final round. Ishe seems to be in control of this one, until Sergio finds an opening and lays a fury on him. Ishe tries to grapple and Sergio gives his best bring it on face. Sergio winds up and launches some hard hits into Ishe. The snake has officially claimed its second victory.

Scorecards are in. And the first winner of the second round (and even Sugar Ray looks excited for this decision) is Sergio, who did seem to have a mastery over the spirit of this match.

Ishe is nothing but intense power, but “he’s used to hitting things”. Sergio is cocky and new he took down Ishe. Despite Ishe’s 110%, he fought and he lost. He gave it his all and had it taken away from him. The strategy to bring back Ahmed was certainly a smart strategy (do Jesse and Sergio have a little Contender alliance?)

But Ishe doesn’t have to worry, his loudmouth wife is still there for him.

On the second episode aired right after this one (another great sign of the Contende’s success and NBC’s goal to have it over as soon as possible). The focus after Sergio’s win seems to be on the Babyface, so Ahmed will most certainly be the next fighter. Sergio helps read Ahmed a letter from his loyal wife, because he English illiterate (but apparently bright, as he knows five other languages).

For individual reward, Sergio gets to go play golf with Stallone and Alfonso (yawn). Just get to the next fight! It’s the only reason we watch this stupid show.

Joey wants to see that proper matches are made, that he’ll fight Jesse or Manfredo. He doesn’t want to face Ahmed (which should mean that that’s who he will end up facing). He thinks Alfonso could get rid of the loose cannon.

Because of lacking footage, the show goes back to more of the bland golfing antics.

In the lamest challenge of this entire show, the challenge this time is a race around the track jockeying family members. Luckily, those with ginormous mothers can opt to pick one of their less obese children instead. Mind you, there seems to be a disadvantage for guys like Joey who insist on bringing their big pops. Before the next round, there is a momentary break with Gatorade.

For the final round, it’s Jesse and Joey and Manfredo. Jesse quits first. And his wife takes his place pulling the cart. Even though Joey dominates, he decides to forfeit it to Manfredo, who’s shocked because he’s never received anything in his life.

So who will an honourable loser like Peter Manfredo pick. Anthony took out his handspring during the race. But he tells us that to take him out of the game, he must be in a bodybag. Anthony will not be able to fight the next day.

Joey likes that Anthony’s injury is poetic justice for the Brent Cooper incident.

Sergio thinks that Joey’s strategy was not very bright. That he can not win this tournament.

Peter loves Joey for what he did and he know he is awesome for what he did, but there can be only one winner.

Manfredo decides to be a matchmaker. He calls out Ahmed and he knows he is ready to go. Anthony is surprised that they didn’t pick him (when if he were in their position, he would’ve fed himself to the sharks). Manfredo changes his tune and DOESN’T pick Joey because of the car. but theoretically Joey could’ve just match-made instead, so obviously there is no real strategy in this.

Ahmed chooses the game and he is here. He is going to be a warrior, because that’s what he is. Stallone thinks that Ahmed will do good because he is wiser, and he wears red so he is on fire (wow, Sly. Lets leave the clever insights to Sugar Ray).

Alfonso has been training and sparring and he knows that he will be the one with his hand in the air, and send the babyface packing (for the second time).

Alfonso’s shirt has a giant ‘S’ on it. What does the S stand for, you ask?

Ahmed wants the boys to know they brought a champion and that Alfonso will be his meat tonight. He will take him raw. I think Ahmed should consider changing his sexuality. Perhaps then comments like this one will be more appropriate.

Brandy and Ahmed share some kisses during the prerequisite pre-match jitters.

So who will between the immigrants?

Seeing his family brings Mexican Alfonso back to reality (he’s here to bring them a better future). Ahmed was born to be here on this second night. He blows Brandy a kiss on the way to the ring.

First Round: Alfonso is more technical. It’s pretty much an onslaught on the Babyface and the real prettyboy Jesse is loving every second of it.

Round Two: Ahmed lays in some dirty, but effective hooks. But Alfonso is much more piercing and is nearly knocking out Ahmed. Brandy wonders what is happening to him.

Something gross is happening to Gomez’s face but his jabs are unstoppable. Jesse says bye, bye to the cocky babyface. Ahmed is told to use his reach, but it’s pretty much over, whether he likes it or not. There’s a reason he didn’t make it to the second round fair and square.

Ahmed gets sloppy and dirty, but the tactic seems to be working. Alfonso is getting tired, but no matter, I think he’s already won it (unless the judges are as bad at arithmetic as Ahmed is with English). Either way, it’s a commercial break before the fifth and final round!

In the final round, it’s all Ahmed on Alfonso, who stumbles back in almost full near defeat. Suddenly, however, Alfonso comes back with a fury. Either way, the clear winner is Alfonso. And Ahmed is sent home for the second time. But he is not dead. “I will be back. I promise.”

The problem with Ahmed is that he doesn’t have the conditioning. Or the logic, or sense of reality, or functioning brain.