Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Contender Finale

The first step is admitting you have a problem. I have been quietly watching the Contender all season, and last night, the season finale snuck up on me, amidst an evening with r., she hate me, and a donald rumsfeld subpoena on SVU. The Contender finale had a great set-up: a live boxing match, the winner of which wins a million dollars. The winner is not determined long beforehand in the mind of some toupeed dopehead, theoretically no one could know the winner until the final round was over and the chips lay where they had fallen. And yet... as I watched East Coaster Peter "Pride of Providence" Manfredo Jr. duke it out with West Coaster Sergio "Latin Snake" (yeah, that nickname makes me very uncomfortable, too) Mora, I started getting this weird feeling in my stomach. It got worse with each round as Manfredo started out strong, cutting Mora in the first round and delivering some pretty devastating blows amidst some wild flailing but punched himself out by round four, while Mora stayed, back to the ropes, occasionally delivering a few nice combinations of his own but mostly just getting his ass pummelled by someone who looked twice his body mass. (Mora has a really dumb game -- he keeps his guard down and relies on his evasion as his defense. Sure, he's in the middleweight division, but all it takes is one power punch and a bad step and Mora would be out for months, let alone for the rest of the fight. He looks a buck-oh-five, and he barely has any power behind his punches, the least he could do is keep his hands up when he evades just in case he's not as fast as he thinks it is. I mean, really, put Mora in a ring with someone like Lamon Brewster (weight classes aside -- Brewster is a heavyweight), and let's see Brewster beat his T.K.O. time of 53 seconds). That being said, Mora did win the fight. Manfredo was dead tired by the end of the fight, and his punch count dropped substantially, and though you could see he had done some pretty bad damage to Mora's face (welts, cuts, bruises, oh my!), you could see he had nothing left by round seven. On the other hand, any judge worth his salt would've had a hard time giving rounds to Mora -- though he did deliver some good combinations with his back to the ropes, a) he was getting pretty hurt and if Manfredo had more endurance, Mora would've been seeing stars by round five and b) it's not like you could say Mora had Manfredo where he wanted him -- Manfredo was basically controlling the fight. Sure, Mora fought back, but he was still being forced exactly where Manfredo wanted him, back against the ropes and preventing him from evading too much of Manfredo's attack. Mora had to resort to pinning Manfredo's arms to stop the attacks. Which is why, when the judges announced Mora's unanimous win with each judge's scorecard giving almost all of the rounds to Mora, alarm bells went off in my head. But this wasn't the only shady part -- immediately when the last bell sounded, the announcer swung right to Mora, and reminded the audience that if Mora won, he promised his mother would never have to work again (a reminder that was delivered no less than three times throughout the finale). What -- like if Manfredo won, he would give the money to al Qaeda? Basically, knowing a little bit about boxing and having watched that fight, as well as the already shady way in which Mark Burnett edited the Ishe Smith/Sergio Mora fight, which was actually a split decision, I think the fight was in some way rigged. It seems like the entire crew knew, going in, that Mora was going to win and they tailored their show to that given. It's like Mark Burnett isn't about "reality" TV anymore -- he's more about power-tripping by moulding reality to the way he thinks things should be, regardless of whether it actually makes good television at all. PS - The Apprentice finale's prizes for winner Kendra was really sexist. The first woman to win the show gets to choose between managing a beauty pageant and re-decorating a mansion? It seems in the end that Trump misogyny prevails over all.


Blogger phillyjay said...

Mora was the better fighter from round one.He just owned that other guy throught the entire thing.At least it looked that way to me.

5/25/2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

i agree, he won, but his fight strategy is foolish. he's too small to not keep his guard up. and it's hard to say he was owning someone when he kept being pushed back against the ropes.

i think the scorecards shoulda been closer.

5/25/2005 11:43:00 AM  
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5/26/2005 04:42:00 PM  

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