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Thread: New Contender contestants / Thoughts on the series

  1. #1
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    New Contender contestants / Thoughts on the series

    Nick Acevedo (15-1, 9 KOs)
    Gary Balletto (29-2-2, 25 KOs)
    Vinroy Barrett (21-4, 11 KOs)
    Norberto Bravo (20-10-3, 12 KOs)
    Grady Brewer (18-11, 12 KOs)
    Cornelius Budrage (21-1, 13 KOs)
    Rudy Cisneros (8-1, 7 KOs)
    Michael Clark (35-3, 16 KOs)
    Freddy Curiel (15-5-2, 6 KOs)
    Andre Eason (15-4, 6 KOs)
    Ebo Elder (22-2, 14 KOs)
    Jeff Fraza (17-2, 10 KOs)
    Steve Forbes (29-3, 9 KOs)
    Micheal Stewart (38-4-2, 22 KOs)
    Aaron Torres (14-2, 6 KOs)
    Walter Wright (10-1, 5 KOs)

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    Re: New Contender contestants

    first name that jumps out is gary balletto who has not fought in almost three years.

    anybody understand the selection process here?

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    Hafnarfjordur, ICELAND

    Re: New Contender contestants

    If Steve Forbes doesn't come out victorious I'll be shocked. Acevedo shouldn't be embarrassed by losing to a crafty guy like Vince Phillips, but his stylistic Shane Mosley impression gets old real fast. I will say there are a lot more guys this season that I've seen before. Last time I'd seen Jonathan Reid, Ishe Smith, Ahmed Kadour, Sergio Mora, Peter Manfredo and Jimmy Lange. Now it's Acevedo, Gary Balletto, Grady Brewer, Cornelius Bundrage, Michael Clark, Freddy Curiel, Andre Eason, Ebo Elder, Jeff Fraza, Forbes and Michael Stewart. I still think Mora and Smith edge out any fighter from season 2 except Forbes in terms of quality.

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    Critically Acclaimed Series, The Contender Premeiers On Espn July 18





    The sixteen welterweight boxers vying for this
    year’s title of “The Contender” include:

    NICK ACEVEDO – Age 30 – New York, NY – Pro Record
    (15-1), 9 KO’s
    A former International Boxing Association (IBA)
    Intercontinental titleholder, Acevedo retired
    succumbing to the pressure of his rising status. Now
    back after three years, he sees The Contender as his
    shot to redeem himself.

    GARY BALLETTO – Age 30 - Johnston, RI – Pro Record
    (29-2-2), 25 KO’s
    A former International Boxing Union (IBU) Champion,
    Balletto witnessed the death of his friend Bobby
    Tomasello in the ring more than five years ago. This
    caused him to help unionize the sport so fighters gain
    benefits, health insurance, and future jobs outside of

    VINROY BARRETT – Age 30 - Negril,
    Jamaica/Nashville, TN – Pro Record (21-4), 11 KO’s
    Vinroy “Slick” Barrett was born and raised in Jamaica.
    Since turning professional, Barrett has made a name
    for himself, garnering the World Boxing Federation
    (WBF) Americas Welterweight title.

    NORBERTO BRAVO – Age 34 - Tucson, AZ – Pro Record
    12 KO’s
    Norberto Bravo was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona.
    Also known as “El Gallito” (“The Fighting Rooster”),
    Bravo describes himself in the ring as unrelenting and
    willing to fight till death, if necessary.

    GRADY BREWER – Age 34 - Lawton, OK – Pro Record
    12 KO’s
    Born and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma, Grady “Bad Boy”
    Brewer started boxing at age 11 and went on to become
    a state Golden Gloves Champion and win 40 of his 45
    amateur fights.

    CORNELIUS BUDRAGE – Age 32 - Detroit, MI – Pro
    Record (21-1), 13 KO’s
    Cornelius “K-9” Bundrage was born and raised in
    Detroit. As his alias suggests, Bundrage has a
    reputation of being a dog inside the ring, mauling his
    opponents with ferocious combinations and vicious
    uppercuts. In 2005, Bundrage won the United Boxing
    Association (UBA) Intercontinental Light Middleweight

    RUDY CISNEROS – Age 24 - Chicago, IL – Pro Record
    (8-1), 7 KO’s
    Chicago native Rudy “El Cachorro” Cisneros has
    traveled the world, garnering an extensive record with
    more than 100 amateur fights. He was the two-time
    Chicago Golden Gloves Champion, winner of the silver
    medal at the United States Championship and bronze
    medal recipient at the 2004 Olympic Trials.

    MICHAEL CLARK – Age 32 - Columbus, OH – Pro Record
    (35-3), 16 KO’s
    Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Michael “Cold
    Blood” Clark is a former International Boxing Council
    (IBC) World Champion. Clark credits his self-described
    versatility to his distinctive upbringing.

    FREDDY CURIEL – Age 30 - Vernon, NJ – Pro Record
    (15-5-2), 6 KO’s
    Born in Vernon, New Jersey, Freddy Curiel, a.k.a.
    “Furious Freddy,” started boxing at age 14. After a
    lucrative amateur career, Curiel entered the
    professional level at age 17. In 2002, Curiel decided
    to temporarily leave boxing but after a four-year
    absence, The Contender marks his comeback to the ring.

    ANDRE EASON – Age 30 - Brooklyn, NY – Pro Record
    (15-4), 6 KO’s
    Growing up on the tough streets of Brooklyn, Andre
    “Daredevil” Eason found himself in fights at school
    and on the street. During his brief time as an
    amateur, Eason earned the New York Golden Gloves

    EBO ELDER – Age 27 - Atlanta, GA – Pro Record
    (22-2), 14 KO’s
    Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Ebo “The X-treme Machine”
    Elder followed in his father’s footsteps and started
    boxing at the age of eight. He enjoyed a long,
    illustrious amateur career with 139 wins before
    turning professional in 2000. Elder is currently
    ranked as a top 10 contender by all major boxing

    JEFF FRAZA – Age 28 - Boston, MA – Pro Record
    (17-2), 10 KO’s
    Massachusetts native Jeff “HellRaza” Fraza is back for
    season two of The Contender. Having become ill with
    the chicken pox in season one, Fraza was forced to
    drop out of the competition. This time around, Fraza
    is ready for his shot and eager to use this second
    chance to prove his worth.

    STEVE FORBES – Age 28 - Las Vegas, NV – Pro Record
    (29-3), 9 KO’s
    Currently ranked 11th in the world, Forbes holds an
    International Boxing Federation (IBF) title and sports
    a record of 29 wins with three knockouts and three
    losses. With his ranking making him a target in the
    tournament, Forbes welcomes the chance to show what
    makes him a true Contender.

    MICHEAL STEWART – Age 28 - New Castle, DE – Pro
    Record (38-4-2),
    22 KO’s
    Originally from Columbia, Tennessee, Micheal “No Joke”
    Stewart distinguishes himself from the pack with his
    thick, raspy voice and blue-collar appeal. He is a
    building aficionado who works as a union construction
    laborer by day and has aspirations of becoming a
    general contractor.

    AARON TORRES – Age 26 - Philadelphia, PA – Pro
    Record (14-2), 6 KO’s
    Aaron Torres grew up on the rough streets of
    Philadelphia. As an amateur, Torres maintained an
    impressive career, having fought in more than 100
    fights and winning all but 10. Turning professional
    in 2000, he describes his boxing style as “moving
    poetry”: graceful with his footwork and intense with
    his jabs.

    WALTER WRIGHT – Age 24 - Seattle, WA – Pro Record
    (10-1), 5 KO’s
    A native of Seattle, Walter “2 Guns” Wright possesses
    the heart of a champion and a positive outlook on
    life. An alternate for the United States boxing team
    at the 2000 Olympics, Wright boasted a successful
    amateur career, winning ninety of his 102 fights.

    The Contender Season 2 Trainers include Tommy
    Gallagher, a lifelong New Yorker who won a Golden
    Gloves title in 1959. He has worked as a trainer in
    boxing for over 40 years and has four children and
    nine grandchildren. Jeremy Williams is a professional
    cruiserweight boxer with a record of (45-5-1) with 38
    KO’s. Williams is a member of the Golden Gloves Hall
    of Fame and resides in Northridge, Calif.

    ESPN, Inc., Mark Burnett Productions and
    DreamWorks Television announced today the contestants
    for the second season of the critically acclaimed
    boxing series The Contender. The unscripted drama
    follows the lives, fears and hopes of 16 professional
    boxers as they compete for the chance to change their
    lives and the lives of the people they love. Produced
    under the ESPN Original Entertainment banner, The
    Contender will debut Tuesday, July 18 with a two-hour
    season premiere on ESPN beginning at 10 p.m. ET. The
    network also plans to make additional content
    available across its multiple platforms, including
    ESPN.com, ESPN360, ESPN Motion and Mobile ESPN.

    Each episode culminates in a five-round
    professional bout where the winner moves one step
    closer to the grand prize and a shot at the title of
    Contender Champion. The series will conclude with a
    finale from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on Tuesday,
    Sept. 26 and aired live on ESPN.

    "ESPN is a perfect fit for this show and we are
    excited to offer this compelling content over all of
    our media platforms,” said John Skipper, ESPN
    executive vice president, content. “The fights are
    extremely competitive, and we couldn’t be happier with
    the group of contestants that Mark Burnett and Jeffrey
    Katzenberg have put together."

    Executive Producer Mark Burnett said, “We are
    back with another incredible season of Contender. The
    lives of sixteen welterweights are about to change and
    millions of ESPN viewers will be along for the ride to
    be both entertained and inspired by these remarkable

    Executive Producer Jeffrey Katzenberg said, “We
    can’t express enough how happy we are to be
    collaborating with ESPN. This network is the perfect
    place for this show. The Contender is a great
    combination of sports and entertainment, so what
    better place than the ultimate sports and
    entertainment network, ESPN.”

    Boxing legend and five-time world champion Sugar
    Ray Leonard will serve as host and mentor, guiding the
    boxers through the most intense training of their
    careers and the most challenging experience of their
    lives. “This group of 16 contestants is the strongest
    group of fighters I have seen in a long time,” said
    Leonard. “They have the heart, determination, and will
    to do anything. I think that the battle to become the
    next Contender will be a fight to the finish.”

    ESPN Original Entertainment

    Launched in 2001, ESPN Original Entertainment is
    ESPN’s award-winning original programming banner. The
    EOE brand spans ESPN's sports-themed original movies,
    scripted and unscripted dramatic series, daily talk
    and debate series, documentaries, game shows,
    groundbreaking televised events such as the X Games
    and The ESPY Awards, and is delivered across multiple
    media platforms. With theatrical releases such as
    Through the Fire about basketball phenom Sebastian
    Telfair and Once in a Lifetime about the 1970’s New
    York Cosmos, EOE continues to plant itself firmly on
    the cutting edge of sports and entertainment
    television, and event creation. Also, EOE's daily
    lifestyle and entertainment-themed series Cold Pizza
    and Quite Frankly are cornerstones of ESPN2’s
    programming lineup. With many new scripted and
    unscripted projects in development, EOE serves both
    the passionate sports fan and the more casual viewer,
    and strives to expand ESPN's already industry-leading
    offerings in live events and sports news & information

    Mark Burnett Productions
    Mark Burnett Productions (MBP) is a leading production
    company in the world of
    primetime non-fiction television. MBP revolutionized
    television with hits such as Eco-
    Challenge, Survivor, The Apprentice, The Contender,
    and Rockstar:INXS. MBP
    also successfully reintroduced product placement as an
    integral part of each of its shows
    and has garnered a total of 24 Emmy nominations since
    2001. Mark Burnett was listed
    as the #1 Most Valuable Player by TV Guide and in Time
    Magazine's Top 100 most
    influential people in the world today.

    DreamWorks Television
    DreamWorks Television is a division of DreamWorks SKG
    which was founded in 1994 by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey
    Katzenberg and David Geffen. DreamWorks Television is
    currently in production on season three of the hit NBC
    series “Las Vegas” as well as season two of the
    critically acclaimed FX drama “Rescue Me,” and the
    upcoming ABC reality series “The Miracle Workers.”
    DreamWorks Television recently produced “Into The
    West” for TNT, which was the highest rated mini-series
    for the season with 81 million unique viewers. Other
    DreamWorks Television projects include: “Spin City,”
    “Band of Brothers,” “Taken.” “Father of the Pride,”
    “Freaks and Geeks,” “The Job,” “Boomtown,” and

  5. #5
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    TV Rating's For "The Contender" Sky Rocket To New Heights

    TV Rating's for "The Contender" Sky Rocket to new Heights
    from Dog House Boxing

    Everlast(R) Worldwide Inc. (Nasdaq: EVST), manufacturer, marketer and licensor of sporting goods, apparel, footwear and other active lifestyle products under the Everlast brand name, is proud to announce The Contender reached 20 million viewers nationwide across all airings on ESPN and ESPN2 just ten days since the second season of ESPN's critically acclaimed boxing reality series premiered. The series, which moved to ESPN for this, its second season, is produced by ESPN, Mark Burnett Productions and DreamWorks Television under the ESPN Original Entertainment

    (EOE) banner. The Contender, which chronicles the lives, fears and hopes of 16 professional boxers as they compete for the chance to become Contender champion, is aired every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. PST / 10 p.m. EST on ESPN.

    Through two original telecasts, The Contender's 1.2 rating has increased 31% from the corresponding 10-11 p.m. time slot last year. In Particular, key demographic groups are showing even larger ratings increases from 2005:

    Males 12-17 - up 106%
    Males 18-34 - up 87%
    Males 18-49 - up 71%
    Males 25-54 - up 62%
    Females 18-34 - up 265%
    Females 18-49 - up 153%
    Females 25-54 - up 105%

    In response to the increased viewership, Seth Horowitz, Chairman, President & CEO of Everlast Worldwide Inc. explained, "We are all very pleased with the viewer ratings for this new season of The Contender. The show gives Everlast a tremendous branding platform to reinforce our strength and authenticity and displays a wide variety of our products to the core ESPN consumer. The series' renewed success is great news for Everlast as well as all the parties involved, and we are very proud to be the exclusive supplier for the show."

    "The strength of these results thus far demonstrates that our viewers appreciate the compelling nature and inherent drama of The Contender series," said Ron Semiao, ESPN senior vice president, ESPN Original Entertainment.

    Executive Producer Mark Burnett said, "We are back with another incredible season of The Contender. I have always believed there was a solid core audience for this series and am glad to see so many viewers flocking to see this season's The Contender."

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    Re: TV Rating's For "The Contender" Sky Rocket To New Heights


    Being new here I have been surprized to see no posting on the Contender .
    what is the CBZ's overall view of the show.

  7. #7
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    Re: TV Rating's For "The Contender" Sky Rocket To New Heights

    Personally I think it's a wank ... BUT, it's boxing on TV & it's getting good ratings & perhaps bringing new people into boxing's ever shrinking tent.

    So yeah, absolutely it's a good endeavour & potentially great for boxing. It's just that it's not my personal cup of tea.


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    Re: TV Rating's For "The Contender" Sky Rocket To New Heights

    recently saw wright at the emerld queen casino where he came into the the ring to say a few words to the crowd...very personable young man. it would be hard to NOT root for him... especially after reading a little on his life. overcoming his father being in prison and then overcoming his FATHER period and also now representing my adpted home state....well, hell yes...i hope he takes the whole thing...rattling off 10 straight wins to get a chance to be on the show is most impressive.

    as far as the ratings boost. not really surprised by the jump in the young female viewing. working these casino fights lately i have also noticed a rise in female attendance. look at some of your old fight tapes and all you see is guys in suits and hats. now it is hard to keep your eyes on the action in the ring. boxing as changed more outside the ring than it ever will inside it. ringcard girls tossing gifts from the ring, loud music and ultra cool emcees have given rise to a different atmosphere amonst the fans. i used to go the olympic in L.A. ....watch the fights , drink a few beers and go home. now coming out of these casino fights i feel like i have been in one...they are rockin' affairs catered to a computer, video game indulged audience...the pace of these shows has quickened. no more chatter or betting between bouts because you are google eyed watching girls in bikini's tossing t-shirts to the crowd.

    for me i think it is a limited attention span worry that causes the contender to show only highlighted segments of the bouts enhanced by thudding sound effects...i hope they get popular enough to show the whole fight.


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    Re: TV Rating's For "The Contender" Sky Rocket To New Heights

    I find the contender show pretty corny and not showing the entire fights along with sound effects is ridiculas. I would like to see more of the training and sparring with these guys as well. I could care less about how many kids they have, their wives etc.
    They should also have bigger fighters at least light heavys, these light weight classes, 5 round fights makes for no knock outs which what would bring more viewers.
    However I get freinds of mine who never watch boxing calling me while its on and ask me if I';m watching it. They get all pumped up for it and their wives are watching with them and are into it as well. So hopefully its at least making some new boxing fans

  10. #10
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    Re: TV Rating's For "The Contender" Sky Rocket To New Heights


    I find your assesment spot on! I find it to be real cornball also. & the soap opera side of it does nothing for me. BUT, apparently showing the wives & kids & the back stories of the fighters lives really does appeal to women so who am I to argue if it brings in new fans?


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    Re: TV Rating's For "The Contender" Sky Rocket To New Heights

    being a new fan it would be great to see more training and not corny stuff like throwing tires in the truck . I watch with my wife and kids . They love it . The back stories and in fighting make it easy to pick a fighter to root for. I fear though each show they pile the wife and kids on more and more , and show less and less fighting . Also hard to get a good feel for a fight when they break it up so much . Hope they find some middle ground .

    If I were in the business of boxing I would give this show a serious watch . Many great ideas on making a boxer a fan favorite . Why not steal some ideas from the media experts .

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    Thoughts on the Contender series

    Hi all,

    Is anyone watching it? What do you think of it?

    I think it is great. Anything that gets boxing onto tv is a plus in my eyes.

  13. #13
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    Hafnarfjordur, ICELAND

    Re: Thoughts on the Contender series

    It also gives people false impressions of what boxing is about, especially due to the cinematic fights and the weight differential between contestants. Those are jr. welters fighting jr. middles.

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    Re: Thoughts on the Contender series

    It's a good series. A good thing for boxing. Although it is over dramitized and it pisses me off how they won't show the complete fights without the sound effects. But they have a solid bunch this time around. Reall solid pro's that can truly be called a contender once it's all over.

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    Re: New Contender contestants / Thoughts on the series

    It's much better than it was last year. The fighters are better and it's just a better production overall. Getting rid of Stallone actually seems to make it better and I'm a Stallone fan.

    It's much simpler now. You've got a yellow team and blue team. They fight each other. Whatever side wins gets to pick the opponent for the next fight. No more silly challenges or any of that garbage. Last night each member of the winning team got a $2,500 watch. Since I'm a watch guy I thought that was pretty damn cool.

    Grady Brewer and Gary Balleto and some of the rest are good fighters despite their records and lack of fame. This crop is a lot better than last year's IMO.

    I haven't missed an episode yet.

    I hear it's Steve Forbes vs. Grady Brewer in the final fight on September 27th at Staples Center in L.A.

  16. #16
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    Re: New Contender contestants / Thoughts on the series

    Sugar Ray Leonard's Making An Offer
    by David A. Avila from Sweet Science

    You can’t compare guys like Sugar Ray Leonard to normal human beings. He probably has enough medals, trophies and championship belts to fill three wings in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

    The now retired Leonard has new duties that still encompass the world of boxing and he takes it very seriously. You might call him the godfather of boxing. He’s going to make an offer you can’t refuse.

    As the voice and soul of The Contender, the television reality show on ESPN every Tuesday at 7 p.m., the extremely successful Leonard has decided to pull the sport he loves into another direction with the help of Hollywood’s Mark Burnett, Sylvester Stallone and a myriad of boxing hopefuls.

    “I love boxing,” says Leonard.

    Last year The Contender began with mixed reviews from the boxing world. But soon that changed when the likes of Sergio Mora, Peter Manfredo Jr., Alfonso Gomez, Ishe Smith and others began showing what they could do inside the ring.

    But first time viewers of boxing found a warmth and humility from the participants that grabbed their attention. Across America, mothers, grandmothers and family members who never watched boxing were captivated by the personalities of the prizefighters.

    “My husband and I just love Sergio Mora,” said Catherine Smith, who works at a concession stand in a baseball stadium in Southern California. “We got hooked. Sergio Mora is such a nice kid.”

    Millions of others across the nation have followed the show that has moved from NBC to ESPN. It can be viewed several times a week.

    “Because people watch the show they sort of care about the boxers. They pick one of those kids they say, ‘He reminds me of my kids or of myself when I was young.’ I hear it all of the time,” said Leonard, who is in his second year with the program.

    Mora, who became The Contender’s first champion and is currently ranked as a middleweight, remembers making a casual comment during the taping about loving to read books.

    “People mailed me books from all over,” Mora said. “It made me emotional knowing that there were people out there that cared about me, some kid from East L.A.”

    Other viewers fawned over the blood and guts of the underdog Gomez who captivated fans with his “never say die” attitude and humility in defeat. He still receives letters and requests for autographs.

    Manfredo’s popularity enticed thousands of fans from the East Coast to Las Vegas and Los Angeles when he fought Mora last year.

    This year it’s a little different with the television show concentrating more on the fighter’s personalities, histories and mental makeup. No more team sled contests.

    “The big difference between last year’s first season was it was more Hollywood. They (the fighters) would run hills, push trash cans, it was pretty funny and animated but it was not boxing,” said Leonard. “Now they rest before a fight which is essential. It’s more boxing specific because we also introduce fighters to the public.”

    Leonard, one of the great superstars of the sport, feels today’s boxing promoters concentrate too much on championship belts and big events.

    “What promoters do today is promote the fight, they don’t promote the fighters as they did when I was fighting on Wide World of Sports with Howard Cosell,” Leonard said. “Back then the personalities were strong, they were mainstream. People knew the fighters.”

    When Leonard fought in the late ‘70s and ‘80s, the nation saw many of his contests on regular network television. Millions saw him win the gold medal against the more favored Cuban fighter in 1976. He soon became the most recognized fighter in the world who attracted millions who loved or hated him.

    Leonard wants this for his Contender fighters.

    “This particular season the guys are in their 30s. One is a former world champion named Steve Forbes, he’s fighting at welterweight. All of the fighters know this is the last hurrah. They’ve received a lot of exposure and it feels good. More people know the Contender guys than the actual world champions of the world.”

    In a show aired two weeks ago a fighter named Walter Wright emerged the winner of a contest with Andre Eason. The resemblance to Tommy “Hit Man” Hearns was stunning.

    “The way he threw his jab, the way he looked, I even said it on the air,” said Leonard who fought Hearns in two monumental fights in the 1980s. “It was shocking how much he resembled Hearns. I kind of got nervous.”

    A recent guest on the show was Sugar Shane Mosley, a former three-division world champion who sparred with the participants and gave some advice.

    “People are going to be surprised. They have some real good fighters,” Mosley said.

    It began with 16 participants and now has been whittled down to eleven prizefighters seeking that million-dollar payday and recognition as the season two Contender champion.

    “Some of those fighters,” said Leonard, “their careers have changed. They are more recognized. They get the press and adulation from the fans and it’s good to see that. It’s a breath of fresh air for boxing. It shows the decency and determination of these young fighters.”

    Leonard’s seen his sport receive a death notice before. When Muhammad Ali no longer could fight and finally retired, many said the sport would die without The Greatest. Then along came Leonard. When Leonard finally retired in the ‘90s, the same death notice was heard, but boxing still commands million dollar gates.

    Now the former great helms a boxing show that seems destined for a long run.

    “For me it’s déjà vu. I was one of those boys, one of those guys once upon a time,” Leonard said.

    It’s personal and it’s business.

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