LOS ANGELES (August 18, 2005) – Mark Burnett Productions, DreamWorks Television and ESPN, Inc. have announced a date, venue and fight card for the first of their three boxing specials.
On Saturday, October 15th 2005, live from STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California, ESPN will televise a fight card packed with Season One Contender fighters as they once again battle in classic East vs. West fashion.
The Contender champion Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora will be defending his Contender belt against rival Peter “The Pride of Providence” Manfredo Jr., whom he last defeated in May. This highly anticipated rematch will take place in Mora's hometown of LA.
“Living together under one roof as long as we did created a bond that isn’t typically found in a solitary sport such as boxing,” Mora said. “Peter and I have a mutual respect for one another, thus allowing this rematch to take place. But this time, he’ll have to come to my hometown, and you can believe the snake will bite again.”
Manfredo replied, “This is make-or-break for me. I refuse to lose twice in a row. I proved that against Alfonso and I’ll prove that against Sergio. It’s time to restore the Pride to Providence. October 15th will be the day I do just that.”
The undercard will feature the exciting match-ups of Alfonso “Superman” Gomez vs. Jeff “The Hell Raza” Fraza, Anthony Bonsante vs. Jesse Brinkley, and Jonathan Reid vs. Miguel Espino.
“As we embark on the next phase of The Contender with our new partners at ESPN, we are thrilled to have a terrific home for our October 15th event in The Staples Center, which has been the site of some of the best world-class boxing in recent years,” stated executive producer of The Contender Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Will Staeger, executive producer, ESPN Original Entertainment, said, “As the event that launches the ESPN era for The Contender, we're scheduling the 'East vs. West' special with an eye toward ratings success – in primetime on Saturday night October 15th following a college football game, a powerful lead-in for a powerful new ESPN Original Entertainment series.”
“Rocky-style, The Contender has improved the televised boxing viewing experience by making millions of fans care about the men who step into the ring. We know their families, their hopes and their dreams. That’s why it works, and will continue to work,” Mark Burnett added.
ESPN will air the event live at 8:00PM (PST) / 11:00pm (EST).
Tickets will be available on August 22nd, 2005 through www.ticketmaster.com and at the Staples Center Box Office.