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"The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
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pdaj 47 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 02:46 AM (EST)
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"The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"

Well, here's my second attempt to create this thread! I unfortunately "lost" my first post 95% into its creation. Oh well, here I am again. I'm starting this thread because I just finished reading, perhaps, the best Contender-related article I've encountered during the show's existance.

In this article, Wade Paulsen reiterates much of the board's own sentiments by highlighting many of the show's strenghs and weaknesses -- and citing episodes 9 & 10 as perfect examples. I took the time and pleasure in highlighting his main thoughts at the end of this post. You should definitely take the time to read them.

That being said, why is this topic relevent?

Well, as some have expressed prior, there's still a legitimate chance NBC will engulf on another season of The Contender (sometime in July). Being that this show is, indeed, so important to the show of boxing .. can we really allow Mr. Burnett and co. to screw up again?

As this season's progressed, many of the The Contender's structural strengths and weaknesses have been revealed and discussed on this page. As the show continues, I expect even more objectionable variables to be observed .. and would like to discuss them in this thread.

In other words, if The Contender II were to eventually exist, how would you want it to differ from the original? What would you keep? What would you alter? Most recently .. the contributors on this page have discussed disappointment in the editing of the show. Why wouldn't the show's producers try their best to showcase the true transgression of events? Leaving out Mora's "wobble" and the Ishe-Sergio split-decision is inexcusable.

Although there's plenty to love about this show .. there's certainly much that could be done to improve it. The show's ratings would agree. I'd interested in hearing everyone's ideas and opinions. Let's have it!

Here's Wade Paulsen's article:

http://www.realitytvworld.com/index/articles/story.php?s=3441

"In the ninth and tenth episodes of NBC's reality-competition boxing show The Contender, both the good and the bad parts of the show's formula were on display, and not necessarily to the show's best advantage."


"In the two quarterfinal bouts, Sergio "The Latin Snake" Mora (now 14-0, 3 KOs) won a split decision over Ishe "Sugar Shay" Smith (now 15-1, 7 KOs), while Alfonso Gomez, Jr. (now 12-2-1, 4 KOs) dominated Ahmed "Baby Face" Kaddour (now 18-2, 9 KOs) in winning a unanimous decision. However, the boxing was secondary to the surprising rise of a coalition -- the so-called "Gutless Four" -- that changed the competition into a pale imitation of executive producer Mark Burnett's Survivor, while the show once again served up an unsatisfying edit of the actual boxing that is supposedly central to the show."


" As shown in the show's eighth episode, Contender co-host Sylvester Stallone lobbied for the choice of Ahmed, despite the fact that other boxers such as Miguel Espino performed better in their first-round fights. Perhaps Stallone, a veteran of years in Hollywood, was seduced by Ahmed's pretty face.


"Because of the hostile relationship between Ahmed and Ishe, a group of four contenders -- Jesse Brinkley, Peter Manfredo, Anthony Bonsante (who was afraid to fight Jimmy Lange in an earlier episode) and Joey Gilbert -- formed a secret coalition to vote for Ahmed, to the surprise of Ishe, Sergio and Alfonso."


"When the boxers returned to the loft, a confrontation played out between Ishe and Jesse. In two very different edits, the version shown on TV made Ishe look confrontational and almost out of control, while the less-edited version shown on the Contender web site showed Jesse as the instigator of the fracas ..."


"However, Jesse earned the "Gutless Four" nickname for his coalition by choosing to match up Ishe and Sergio, thus forcing one of the potential undefeated finalists out early ... while Jesse chose to make alibis that he needed 'more time' to recover from the group's trip to Las Vegas that was shown in the last episode."


"The fight itself was a war, with Sergio seeming to land more punches and Ishe landing punches with a lot more power behind them. Because only tiny excerpts from the fight were shown, even in the so-called "complete version" on the web site (for example, only about 30 seconds of the three-minute round four are shown -- and no round except for the last one has more than 60 seconds of action shown), it is completely impossible for viewers to score the fight at home -- one complaint that several boxing sites had made about the show after witnessing the first episode."


"In addition, in both episodes, the fact that the fight was scored as a "split decision" -- meaning that one judge scored it for Ishe, while two others scored it for Sergio -- was edited out (although the call is included in the web footage, meaning that the decision to keep it off the air was deliberate. Even the authoritative boxing web site BoxRec.com was misled by Burnett's sleight of hand, incorrectly showing the fight as a "unanimous decision" for Sergio. So much for Mark Burnett's stated goal to clean up boxing."


"However, to completely cover up the existence of such a divergence, as Burnett did in the episode editing, would be considered "going too far" by even such "tainted" promoters as Don King."


"In the tenth episode, the "Gutless Four" coalition was justifiably proud of itself for eliminating Ishe (though the question of whether their gratitude should actually be directed at the two judges in the majority is unclear), but the editing now revealed that Sergio's supposition during the Ishe-Jesse confrontation was correct -- one member of the coalition was manipulating the others. That person: lawyer and Stallone favorite Joey Gilbert, who was busy trying to turn Ahmed against Sergio and Alfonso while they went on a reward with Stallone to a golf course (and thus couldn't do anything about Joey's manipulations)."


"Sergio tried to explain to Peter and the other coalition members how Joey was manipulating them, but to no avail. Peter then lived up to the coalition's "Gutless Four" nickname by becoming the third member of the group to chicken out, choosing to make the match that Joey wanted, Ahmed versus Alfonso. At this point, The Contender drifted dangerously close to 'Jonny Fairplay' territory."


" The previews for episode 11 indicate that Peter fights Joey, which appears to set up an episode 12 bout of Jesse versus Anthony. All in all, as each of the rumors surrounding the show (including the return of Peter after a defeat and the Sergio-Ishe split decision) comes true, the matches appear to be heading toward the rumored finale of Peter versus Sergio."


"In the meantime, as the show continues to founder in the ratings (overnights showed that the double episode actually dropped from the already-low ratings of Dateline NBC), some of the boxers have started to look at life after The Contender. In particular, Jonathan Reid (33-2, 19 KOs), who was eliminated in the second episode, has accepted a 10-round fight on a June 2 undercard in his hometown of Nashville, TN. Looks like the poor ratings may have damaged the plans of Burnett and Stallone to launch their own 'pro boxing federation.'"





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  Table of Contents

  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
 RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... Rebellwyr 04-27-05 1
   RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... jenniferlyn 04-28-05 13
 RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... FFantasyFX 04-27-05 2
   RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... pdaj 04-27-05 3
   RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... AlgeCrumpler 04-27-05 4
       RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... ChicagoTRS 04-27-05 5
 RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... aliemme 04-27-05 6
 RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... PhoenixMons 04-27-05 7
 SecondsOut VegasFightWriter 04-27-05 8
 RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... Captain_Savem 04-27-05 9
   RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... Rebellwyr 04-27-05 10
 RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... finalround 04-27-05 11
   RE: The Contender -- The Good, The ... pdaj 04-28-05 12

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Rebellwyr 34 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 03:35 AM (EST)
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1. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
LAST EDITED ON 04-27-05 AT 03:38 AM (EST)

well first, i simply just don't buy the fact that some of the editing is "inexcusable." If they were so hell bent on hiding the truth, why would the yahoo site differ from the t.v. show? Just doesn't make sense. The show is about entertainment, and all the boxers knew they could be edited at the producer's will, that's part of the deal. Despite what many hard core boxing fans may have liked to see, the producers attempted to give the show broad appeal...watching 15 minute unedited fights probably wouldn't have done that, and the show would have ended up on ESPN 2, or in the can. So, I don't blame the producers for creating stories from what they had....people like the gossip and deal making stuff...in fact, if you've noticed it's generated a lot of discussion on here. Despite all the show's problems i just don't see how it could be bad for boxing whatsoever...worst case scenario boxing gains no new fans, it's a wash...but i highly doubt any existing boxing fans are going to stop liking boxing just because of this show.

With that in mind, these are some off the cuff ideas of what i'd like to see if there was a second season:

1. Control of the rumors leaking out about fight results...maybe the show should be aired as its being filmed, or a much shorter time between fight and air date.

2. All individual challenges, that actually have something to do with training..ie: hill and stairs in ep. 1 and 2 Scrap the teams, i think it'd cause more alliances and even more gossipy goodness.

3. 7 round fights. Still editable and conducive to brawling, but a little more reliable result wise.

4. Breaks in filming between rounds (45 days) to allow more training and chances for injuries to heal...i think this may have been an oversight in the first go around (maybe not,maybe they just didn't care)

5. Boxers own trainers (if they want them) in their corner.

6. More Rocky style shots of them training...i thought there would be a lot more of this stuff..some of the most inspirational stuff in rocky was the training scenes. Training scenes on the show have seemed half #####.

7. Once you're out, you're out...of if they need to bring somebody back at the beginning of a round (a la Ahmed) then they have to vote two boxers back, and the winner advances.

8. Possibly give some highlights of the boxer's prior in the ring experiences...ie: old fight clips if available.


9. Scrap the rewards...or give cars/cash away for winning...that was five minutes of the show i could have done without. With only individual challenges, no need to give anyone else the reward..boxing is an individual sport.

10. More product placement...i think they should be forced to drink sierra mist AND gatorate at all times, while in their toyota truck...

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jenniferlyn 147 desperate attention whore postings
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04-28-05, 09:28 AM (EST)
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13. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
Maybe it's just me, or I've been doing Survivor Fantasy league for so long that I pick up on a lot of Mark Burnett's editing routines, but I noticed immediately that unlike all the other fights, (except for the Migel v Peter fight where they made it clear it was extremely close) the latest between Sergio and Ishe wasn't said to be "a unaminous verdict by the judges" right before they announced Sergio the winner. So in absence of footage showing the entire fight, it's pretty hard to make a determination that Sergio wasn't the real winner. Look at the fight between Alfonso and Ahmed....30 seconds before the bell rang in round 5 Ahmed punched Alfonso so hard, he started to wobble, and it appeared he was on the verge of falling backwards onto his keester, but he caught his balance and then proceeded to beat Ahmed almost to a bloody pulp. That very well could have been the what might have ocurred had the final bell not rung 2 seconds after Ishe's last connection with Sergio's head. The fact is, the bell DID ring, and 2 of the 3 judges deemed Sergio the winner. We weren't there, we obviously didn't see the entire fight, so it's pretty laughable for us to armchair quarterback judges who have in all likelihood have been judging boxing ringside longer than we have been on Sunday evenings from the comfort of our living rooms.
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FFantasyFX 1011 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 04:57 AM (EST)
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2. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
pdaj - You do realize that Wade Paulsen is our very own AyaK, right? I do appreciate the fact that you brought this article to my (and other people's) attention, and it is a pretty good starting off point to discuss what changes we might like to see in the next Contender. One note for the future though - you probably shouldn't copy/paste a whole article. A link and a snippet of what you think is most important suffices.

One thing that I don't think will change is the editing. Burnett is in the business of telling stories rather than making documentaries. And in traditional stories, everything has to make sense in the end. Burnett crafts his storylines from the chaos of the multitude of footage that he shoots, and anything that goes against his major premise has to be cut. There is even an economic incentive here - if I remember correctly, Survivor ratings always slightly dip when there is a winner that is perceived as "undeserving." So, Burnett has motivation to present his winners in the best possible light. I quite frankly think he stepped over the line Sunday, but there really is little we can do about it - he'll keep rearranging things to his pleasure and I'll keep watching his show. I do think it's good for people to know that what he presents on television does not always line up perfectly with what actually happened.

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pdaj 47 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 07:39 AM (EST)
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3. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
"pdaj - You do realize that Wade Paulsen is our very own AyaK, right?"

I had zero clue.

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AlgeCrumpler 39 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 07:48 AM (EST)
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4. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
I don't mind the editting, but they need to do a better job of giving an accurate portrayal of the fight. Hiding the fact that it was a split decision just makes me trust the show less.

I also think the fights should be 7 rounds. There aren't enough knockdowns occurring, and I think 5 round fights allow the lesser fighter to advance in some cases.

I do NOT want to have alternates. I think voting back defeated contenders is still the way to go, because at least they are banged up and have fought. I would hate to see some totally new fresh fighter come into the final 4 for example. But maybe they could vote 2 fighters back, and the winner of those 2 gets to stay.

I'd also like to see them control the leaks. But with that many people witnessing the fights, and all the production etc. I think it would be very hard to do.

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ChicagoTRS 39 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 09:55 AM (EST)
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5. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
The one thing I really do not like about the show is bringing back losing fighters. I am on the side of plugging in alternates. I would have multiple alternates in waiting...in the first round just bring in the first alternate. In the second round make two alternates fight to see who gets brought on the show...evens things out so everyone has the same number of fights under their belt and have absorbed the same punishment. Maybe have an alternate bracket that is an undercard on fight night so whenever you need an alternate one is ready and has already boxed the same number of fights.

I just hate to see the losers get another shot...how is it fair that Alfonso may have to fight Peter again after already beating him. The ultimate goal is to win a million and I do not think it should go to a fighter who has lost.

I don't mind the survivor type strategic play, I did not like the team concept since this is all about one winner in the end. I do not mind the boxers being competitive and back stabbing and exploiting advantages. It is every man for themselves in the end and they SHOULD use every advantage they can to line up better fights for themselves and make it tough on their opponents. Saying that I am still not totally sold how they matchmake the fights and would be open to some other system...just don't have any ideas on what that system would be.

The fight editing and fighter background stuff. I think it is necessary for the show to have any kind of mass appeal. It probably does turn off the serious boxing fan but then again how many serious boxing fans are there these days? I actually like the slo-mo stuff as it is kind of cool to get a good view of punches landing. I do wish they would show more of the fight or at least show the entire fight online. The obvious benefit of the editing is they can edit the fight so any decisions look clean...while any serious boxing fan would have a big problem with this...this is reality TV and it works for the mass appeal of the show. I do not think it would be a positive for this show to have decisions that were very controversial...in fact it could kill the show.

As for controversial finishes and fighters losing by decision there is a simple solution. Win the fight outright...knock your opponent out...take it out of the hands of the judges. Dominate the fight so there is only one possible decision. I always have been taught that in sports...it is not the referee/judges/umpires fault...they are human...they WILL make mistakes...win by a big margin so you can't be beat by a bad judgement/mistake.

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aliemme 12 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 10:18 AM (EST)
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6. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
When I found out that Mark Brunett was the producer of this show I knew that there wouldn't be that much "reality". They are going for ratings and will do whatever it takes to make the show a ratings success. If that means bringing back defeated boxers, they will do it. The show is definetly being manipulated but not just by Joey.

I am definetly not in favour of bringing back the old fighters and agree with the other posters, that alternates should fight it out. They will probably stick with the 5 rounds because that way underdogs have a greater chance. They do not want the top boxer to win every match. Where is the drama in that?

Personally I wish they would edit down the challenges. They seem as long as the fights. And most of the fights were picked before hand anyway, making the challenges useless. I guess they gotta get their Toyota plug in. Why they can't show a full 15 minute fight is beyond me. I don't think that it would turn away non boxing fans because I was one until this show started. I only watched it initially because it came on after a show I was watching. But after one show I was hooked.

I think what they do best is tell the boxer's stories. When they are with their families we really get of glimpse of what they are like. Without this component the show wouldn't be half as successful (in my opinion).

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PhoenixMons 4696 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 10:43 AM (EST)
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7. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
1. The fights should be longer...probably 7 rounds to ensure there are no draws. Five rounds is just not enough considering the format of the show (that the guys may or may not have any say in their own fights and that the losses go on their records), IMO.

2. Lose the challenges. There's got to be another way to set the fights. Maybe using the guys' world rankings to set up close matches in the first rounds (i.e. Peter vs. Ishe) and then from there, go tourney style.

3. Lose Stallone/Sugar Ray audience shots during the fight. Do we really need to see Sugar Ray boxing the air and saying 'oooh' and 'whoa' every 3 seconds during the fight?

4. Lose the editing tricks. Every episode should clearly state the decision if it's to be taken seriously.

5. Devise a better system for replacing injured fighters. Allowing someone who already lost to come back is just silly, IMO. There need to be more alternates for injury scenarios.

6. Make the show 90 minutes so that we can see the ENTIRE fight, without editing. If the attempt is to gain boxing fans and to 'clean up boxing', showing the entire fight is the only way to go. As it stands now, I don't know that I'd watch another season because of the tricks we've seen this season. I'll just stick to FNF where I can watch the entire fight, thankyouverymuch.


Got blog?

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VegasFightWriter 218 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 02:10 PM (EST)
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8. "SecondsOut"
Talking of good, bad, and ugly, here's an article from Thomas Hauser at SecondsOut.com, which examines all three: http://www.secondsout.com/USA/colhauser.cfm?ccs=208&cs=15905
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Captain_Savem 3731 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 02:28 PM (EST)
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9. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
1) "And when you're gone, you stay gone, or you be gone. You lost all your L.A. privileges. Deal?" ~ Marsellus Wallace

Once a fighter loses that should be it. No alternates either. If a bye opens up, make the contenders compete for it, fair and square. I know, I know, what about the fact that you have to have a fight every episode? Well, you just use the episode(s) to showcase the contenders' fight history or something, or do a recrap episode. I think knowing more about these guys IRL would make the show more interesting anyways.

2) "It's not about East and West, it's about niggas and bitches, money and power, riders and punks. Which side are you on?" ~ Tupac Shakur

Pac just about summed up this show. I'm on the side of scrapping the team concept altogether. Really, what's the point? The West could have made it pretty much an All West quarterfinal but they decided to bring back Peter Manfredo Jr. and Ahmed Kaddour from the East team, so much for team pride. There's gotta be a better way to match these fights. Hell, do a roullette wheel or something.

3) "The play's the thing. Wherein I shall catch the conscience of the king!" ~ Hamlet

Show the fights in their entirety. That's 19 minutes of uninterrupted television. Put a big Jordan brand in the ring to make up for it. Part of the fun of boxing is being able to do your own scoring at home. Editing takes the fun out of boxing. Editing a boxing match is like putting ketchup on a steak. It's just not right, and it should be punishable by death.

4) "Location, location, location"

Move the show to a different night. Right now it's going up agains Extreme Makeover Home Edition which is very popular. There's pratically nothing on tv the rest of the week. Monday nights after Fear Factor would be a better spot.


Courtesy of Slice & Dice Chop Shop 2004 All Rights Reserved
"Power concedes nothing.....without a demand. But power won't
even concede to a demand, when that demand comes from a weak
constituency that lacks testicular fortitude." ~ Minister Louis Farrakhan


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Rebellwyr 34 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 02:34 PM (EST)
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10. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
Thanks for the laughs, ketchup on a steak...classic.
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finalround 58 desperate attention whore postings
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04-27-05, 10:47 PM (EST)
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11. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
You hit the nail on the head. I do not expect to see a second season. I do not think any fighters showed be brought back. It is unfair to Alfonso that Peter is back. That is just wrong. If anyone should have been back it should have been Tarick for taking out Juan. Stallone pushed for Babyface for some reason. Maybe he has an endorsement deal just as he does with Joey.

The editing is far too maniupulative. Just like the statement today they released on how fast the final tickets sold out. They failed to mention only 2000 seats (out of 5000) were even sold to the public.

I the 4 cowards, do not realize, that after the show when they try to resume their careers in the ring, they will carry the stigma of being manipulative cowards forever.

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pdaj 47 desperate attention whore postings
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04-28-05, 08:05 AM (EST)
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12. "RE: The Contender -- The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly"
"If anyone should have been back it should have been Tarick for taking out Juan."

You must have expressed this opinion on this board 25 times already. What's your obsession with Tarick? He lost to arguably the worst fighter in the entire competition. Jaun didn't even throw a jab the entire fight! And heck, we aren't even sure Tarick "forced" anything .. Juan probably left the show mostly because of self-awareness. He knew he didn't stand a chance to advance any further.

Once again, the only thing Tarick had to offer to the competition was well-groomed eyebrows. That's all. Allowing him to come back would have been then equivlent to a bye for any fighter fortunate enough to fight him.

If you believe no fighter deserved to come back after losing, that's fine. But just leave it at that. I see absolutely zero justification for bringing back an inferior fighter for any reason.

Now, about the idea of having alternates available, there are many problems:

1) Having boxers that have lost previously be allowed to come back solves one problem. Fan recognition. Bringing in an alternative would cause difficulties because the viewers would have to be schooled on their background, talent, etc. How effective would they be half-way through the show? Part of the appeal of The Contender is knowing these fighters have spent weeks together.

2) Take Jaun's exit as an example. Or say Anthony Bosante had to leave and be replaced in next week's show? If a boxer that has already lost isn't deserving in coming back .. how would an alternative be anymore justified in being part of the Final 8? In fact, he'd be less worthy.

3) I would have been in favor of bringing back two fighters each time .. and having them fight for the privledge of returning to the show. At least they would have earned it .. and their path to advancing afterward would have been more arduous.

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