Boxers aren't like you and me.
Sam Solimon beat Max Alexander in last week's installment of The Contender, and in yesterday's episode, we see him in celebratory mode in the locker room following his win.
The Aussie doesn't burn a stogie, or sip some Dom. No, he immerses himself in a hot tub filled with ice cubes. The temp is 45 degree Fahrenheit btw.
The man has some cajones, even if they're hiding in his belly after that ice attack.
Solimon got a visit from Sugar Ray Leonard, and a hug, too. He congratulates Sam and the Aussie answers, “Thanks, Sugs.”
Back at Contender Crib, Sam gathers congrats from the remaining gang.
The Gold team has the power of choice.
We get teased: who's gonna fight later? Miguel maybe?
We see Pepe give his boys in blue a Pep talk. “It's been years and years since I lost a fight,” he told them. “Let's go bust a little bit of ass now.”
Sakio may get the call. He says he's prepared.
Smith takes the day off, and scouts. He's not impressed by Banks, and neither is banks' coach, McGirt. “You gotta move your hands,” he tells him.
Wayne Johnsen says Donny, Banks or Miguel are all good matchups for him.
Next, we get an interjection of real world emotion. Jaidon's brother calls him, and tells him their father has died. “I think it's the best thing for me to stay out here,” Jaidon says, tearfully. The boxer
tells viewers that his dad was hard on him early on, but as he grew older, they grew closer.
Leonard then talks to Jaidon, and relates to him that Howard Davis'mom died while he was getting ready for the 1976 Olympics. He stayed, and won a gold medal. “I definitely have more of a reason. If I stay
here then I better make it happen,” Jaidon says.
Bang, we move on, back to the task at hand.
Leonard shows the big board, with the fighter rankings. Jaid is at No. 1, Sam is No. 2. SRL tells Pepe that he's concerned he'll need therapy if his squad loses again.
We see the teams discussing choices. Pepe tells Banks that he's not in go mode, so he won't fight. He tells Donny that his weight is too high, so there's just one choice…Miguel Hernandez, the Chicagoan who
was booted before fights started for being short, but who came back when Sugar Poo jetted for personal reasons.
Jaidon then told Miguel to get it done with a catchphrase I will be incorporating into my lexicon: “Make it happen, Cap'n.”
Miguel called out Wayne Johnsen. It's Chicago against Jersey, long and lean versus stuffed sausage frame.
Nobody thinks Miguel will make it to the last round.
Then, it's the day of the fight. Buddy tells Miguel to keep the heat on the foe, go to the body.
Pepe tells Wayne that the fate of the Blue team is on him. No pressure he tells him!
Miguel's family shows up. Three boys and their mama. “This is an honor to have them here with me,” he says. He watches a cell phone video of his grandma, blessing him, and his opponent. Got to love technology,
Wayne's fiancee and daughter show up. She has a big rock, we see.
Pepe says he'd like Wayne to KO his foe.
To the fight…
In the first, Wayne pops the jab. Miguel looks dry, and slowish. This is Wayne's round, as he lands the best punch of the round, a right cross. Buddy yells to Miguel that he gave away the round, and that he
must get inside and rock and roll.
In the second, Miguel lands a sweet right upper that wakes Wayne up. He starts to dig inside, too. Wayne lands solid right lead that jars Miguel. Close round, at least of what we saw. “Stop playing with this
guy,” Buddy yells. Pepe calls for a jab-a-thon.
In the third round, both men start with urgency. Miguel is working inside. He lands with an overhand right. Wayne then flurries but Miguel responds and has him in trouble. Wayne holds on as Buddy tells
him to step on the gas, press the advantage. They continue a bit after the bell, drawing a warning from the ref. Miguel drew a warning from Buddy, too, for mugging to the crowd.
In the fourth round, it was even-Steven for much of the time. But Wayne used the ring wisely, keeping the shorter man at bay. Buddy wasn't pleased. “You need a knockout, you understand me. What the hell
are you waiting for?” he screamed.
In the fifth and final round, Miguel had his moments, the more significant power punch hits. He closed the gap, and worked Wayne's body. Wayne was actually holding on, looking gassed, and then
Miguel landed a smart left hook. Wayne grabbed for dear life, as the bell sounded to close the round. It's on to the cards.
Caiz had it 48-47, while Mendoza and Werner saw it 50-45…to the man from New Jersey, Wayne Johnsen.
“You are the savior of the Blue team,” Pepe told Wayne after.
Wayne lauded Miguel for having a big heart afterwards.
Miguel's family still loved him afterwards. And Buddy said he did good.
The boys tell dad he did good. “That's boxing, guys. We went to war,” pop told the boys. “I hope they're proud of me,” he told the viewers. They were, and are, pal. Hey, boxing can be OK, sometimes, you know?
This show could be dismissed as cheesy but sometimes to got to see that chedda is betta. Those Velveeta moments always get me, anyway.
I talked to Buddy McGirt a few days ago and he said he was a bit bummed that Miguel lost focus. “I'm not gonna say I'm disappointed in him, I'm proud,” Buddy said. “I'm a little upset cause he could've won
the fight.” Buddy also said it's probably a good idea to fight at 160 pounds, instead of 168.
SPEEDBAG My theory: Buddy digs Miguel cause he's a good dude, obviously but also because they sort of have the same type frame.