LOS ANGELES – Grady Brewer upset former world champion Stevie Forbes in the Contender finale at Staples Center on Tuesday.
The main event for the second series of the Contender pit Forbes, a very good little man moving up two weight divisions, against Brewer, who usually fights at junior middleweight. The bigger man prevailed with a split-decision after a 10-round welterweight contest for $500,000.
“I thought it was a very close fight,” said Forbes (32-4, 9 KOs) out of Portland Oregon. “I was coming up against these bigger guys.”
Brewer weathered Forbes fast start and began using a stiff jab to keep his opponent off stride. After eight rounds the two seemed to battle evenly. Then Brewer’s strength took over.
With a four-punch combination Brewer forced his opponent to take some steps backward and soon the two began holding and hitting. But Brewer had the advantage in that tactic too.
“I executed what they told me to do,” said Brewer (22-11, 12 KOs) out of Lawton, Oklahoma. “I’m just glad they gave me this opportunity.”
According to Compubox, Brewer landed 176 punches to Forbes 128.
The judges scored it 96-94 for Forbes, 96-94, 97-93 for Brewer.
In the semi-main event, Detroit’s Cornelius Brundage powered through gritty Norberto Bravo (22-13-3, 12 KOs), one of the crowd favorites.
From the first round until the seventh round Brundage found it easy to score straight right hands that continually snapped Bravo’s head back like a bobblehead doll. In the second round a right hand dropped Bravo to his knees. But the Tucson boxer continued to press the action to no avail.
Finally, in the seventh, Brundage – who looked bigger, stronger and faster – landed a continual battery of right hands. Bravo refused to wilt and kept advancing despite the heavy fire. But referee Pat Russell had seen enough and stopped the fight at 2:22 of the seventh.
“He’s got a heart, a big heart,” said Brundage (23-2, 14 KOs) after the technical knockout victory.
New buddies Walter Wright and Vinroy Barrett tossed friendship out the window in their scheduled six-round welterweight bout. In a clash between similar styles, Barrett suffered a shoulder injury in the second round and Wright pounced on him. After four rounds of heavy battering, Barrett’s corner stopped the fight.
“I couldn’t lift my right arm,” said Barrett (21-6, 11 KOs). “I definitely want a rematch.”
Wright felt confident it would have been stopped eventually shoulder or not.
“It was going to be a stoppage,” said Wright (12-2, 6 KOS).
New York City’s Nick Acevedo, a former National amateur champion, took on former European amateur champion Nurhan Suleyman (16-5, 8 KOs) of Turkey in a six-round fight. After six it was evident Acevedo was too quick and accurate in knocking down Suleyman twice en route to unanimous decision.
“I didn’t know who my opponent was going to be and I didn’t care,” said Acevedo (17-2-1), who intends to fight as a junior middleweight. “I was ready for any style.”
Freddy Curiel (16-6-2) out-slugged Aaron Torres (14-4, 6 KOs) in a six-round bout. The judges scored the fight 57-56 on all three cards. Torres was deducted a point for holding
At the post-fight press conference all 16 of the current Contender members stood side to side with Sergio Mora, Peter Manfredo Jr., Jonathan Reid, and Alfonso Gomez for a press photo. As they posed for the numerous photographers, I couldn’t help but think sometime in the near future we could see the first-year Contenders meet the second year Contenders in a mega-showdown.
According to the Staples Center, there were more than 12,000 at the Contender II finale.