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Jorge's Corner
The Voice of Boxing in Central and Northern California


The Contender
First Episode
March 7, 2005

The first episode of The Contender premiered Monday night. I was skeptical after Oscarís De Hoyaís bomb.   I am happy to report Sugar and Sly knocked it out of the ballpark. From the first moments, it was clearly miles ahead out of Oscarís and Fox, K-Mart Blue light special.  The show was simply better done.

Being a professional sports writer, Iíve had the chance to meet many great fighters, former champions and up and coming balls to the wall gung-ho wannabes.  The Contender clearly demonstrated superior planning, investment and concept.  It was bad enough that Oscar and Fox TV allegedly stole Slyís idea, it was so poorly done, it actually hurt boxing.  I still canít get the image of tattooed, crybabies balling their eyes out on national TV. Talk about suffering from a loss of face. Youíd of thought the editors would have cut those scenes out. They shouldíve.

Iíve met Oscar on several occasions, I wanted to like him, but I gotta say he didnít impress me.  Honestly, if heís not fighting, I got no use for the guy.  As far as Iím concerned, outside the ring heís just another Cinderella story. I am by no means minimizing his accomplishments, which are many, but Iíve never been a groupie.  Iíve met hundreds of guys from East LA, theyíre pretty much the same.  Every single one I met believed they were special. Iíve heard all their stories, real and make believe. Iíve got nothing against them; I mean I like good bullshit.  It may be entertaining, and it might even be funny, but when itís all said and done, its still bullshit. Having spent twenty years in the Military, Iíve had many opportunities to hear real-make-believe stories in the barracks and in combat zones.  Oscarís The Next Great Champ was one of those real-make -believe stories.  Iím not saying heís not a good human being, he might be a great person, but the fans, including myself, will never have reason to care.  Iím glad he decided to enlist his former opponent, it was a good move.  Like they say if you canít beat 'em, join Ďem.  As far as Iím concerned, I only relate to him whenís his fighting. I was disappointed Oscar allowed Fox to use his name, his face, and his career to launch a badly written, badly planned, and terribly edited, phony boxing realty show.  I love this game, and I dislike anyone who would trash it. I mean the people inside of boxing do a pretty good job of it themselves.

The Contender demonstrated it was a cut above The Next Great Champ within in minutes. The introduction by Sly, the setting, the challenge, the participants, and the editing was superior.  I was disappointed, and very surprised Oscar would permitted so many Americans of Mexican decent to be portrayed as cry baby wimps, so emotionally off balance, they would actually cried on national TV.  I was embarrassed for them.  Who ever is responsible for the editing should have his ass kicked.  Coming from a tough neighborhood myself, those guys are gonna catch hell.  I canít believe those guys made it past the screeners.  Were they looking for crybabies, wannabe tough guys?  Their boxing skills stunk.  Iíve actually seen several of them fight afterwards, and they were terrible. The guy who won the whole thing has no fundamentals, and the dyed blond haired, tough guy wanna be from Sacramento was so bad, the audience booed him when he fought at ARCO Arena. His bout was called, a  ďnoveltyĒ fight. It should have been called a tragic comedy.

Iíve not met Sly, although I have met Sugar Ray.  I was more impressed with Slyís behavior, and his demeanor.   Heís probably a down to earth guy, who honestly happens to like boxing.  I tip my hat to Sly for acknowledging he did not know enough about real boxing to produce this kind of show.  I congratulate his efforts. Right On Big Guy.  Boxing fans were happily surprised the participants are actually licensed boxers with note worthy records, not wannabe tough, tattooed phony baloney crybabies.  I tip my hat to Alfonso Gomez who demonstrated so much courage it goes off the charts. His challenge and defeat of a more experienced, supposedly (Peter Manfredo Jr.) better boxer has set the stage for what appears to be a great boxing realty show.

The idea of splitting the group of professional fighters into teams was a great idea.  As these guys will begin as friends, and end up as opponents. The first challenge was also much better than anything Oscarís/ Fox show came up with.  I look forward to the next episode on Thursday. I would suggest the editors go back and re-edit the filming so as to give viewers more of the fight, and less of the drama afterwards. Everyone knows loosing sucks. Yet, someoneís gotta loose. Once again, I sent a shout out to Sly for his courage and willingness to risk his name.

If you see Sly, give him a pat on the back for me. Oh yea, tell Sugar he did ok too.

Life Iíve said a millions times before. Thank God For Boxing.

Always in Your Corner,

Jorge A. Martinez