Before I kick into gear on this recap, a couple of questions.

Are you guys watching The Contender?

Are you liking it? If yes, why?

If you are not watching it, why?

Now, on to our regularly scheduled program…

This week on the latest episode of the third season of ESPN's reality show The Contender, we see that the cast has dwindled. Sakio Bika, Paul Smith, Donny McCrary, David Banks, Sam Solimon, Wayne Johnsen and Jaidon Codrington are still in the mix.

David Banks auditions for Chippendales out on the patio, impressing no one, least of all Smith, who'd like a piece of him, in a violent, not carnal way.

Four guys haven't fought, so the Blue Team convenes to make the choice of who'll fight who.

Smith chomps at the bit, saying he wants Banks. But Pepe calls an audible, and taps Bika to fight first.  Bika, the Cameroon born, Australia based boxer,  calls out Donny McCrary, from Missouri.

McCrary said he's pleased to face Bika, because a win over someone who's been in with solid foes, like Joe Calzaghe, would mean a lot.

Smith then calls out Smith, and says he'd like to shut up the mouthy stripper.

McCrary, age 25, gets some help from Solimon, prepping himself. Solimon is a lock for a training career after he quits the active status as a boxer.

“Donny has a puncher's chance,” SRL says. He tells Donny to use his best attribute, power, which can't be taught.

SRL tells Bika to work the body whenever he can.

McGirt checks in with Donny, and tells him to cast aside his foe's experience.

Pepe tells Bika that Donny is made to order.

Next, we get monologues from each guy. Donny tells us he's doing what he loves, fighting.

Bika's lady and kid show up. He tosses the kid up in the air and eats up the laughter he hears.

Donny's brood shows up. His fiancee and kids show up. Donny says he'd sacrifice his life for any of them. “I want a new house,” Donny says. “My family and I both need this win.”

No one wants to fight Sakio, McCrary says. “He's a beast, he's got muscles in his eyebrows,” he says.

The beast shows a sharp jab in the first. Donny is a little stiff, and neglects to move his head as much as he should. His hands are a step slower than Bika's so Bika gets off when he wants, and McCrary is a
beat behind. Bika's right uppercut is beastly. It was a close first round. Pepe calls for triple jabs, while McGirt wants straight rights. “You're waiting too long,” Buddy says.

In the second,  Bika keeps the fight at the distance he wants. Both men, though, land some telling blows. This isn't a lopsided pairing. Buddy tells Donny he's waiting too much. “You're getting inside doing
nothing,” he said.

In the third, Bika comes out jabbing meaningfully. He's poppin now, landing  hard rights. Every time McCrary looks like he's contemplating throwing, Bika throws. A right uppercut looks like a winner and then a
cut forms over Donny's left eye. “You giving up on me,” Buddy tells McCrary.

In the fourth round, Donny has more zest. He lands a right, follows with a left hook, and Sakio is stunned a bit. But Bika comes right back, and gets back to work, over and under. The blood trickles again
from the cut. The crowd chants “Donny, Donny,” but there is too much of a skill gap here.

In the fifth round, Donny can't get the needed KO. Bika keeps him at bay with with the jab and piles on the pressure with uppercuts. The ref threatens to stop it, yelling, “Show me something” to Donny. He
shows enough to prevent the stop, but not the loss. The scores 49-45, 50-45, 50-45.

McCrary told me the reason why there aren't more notable fighters from Missouri and surrounding states. There's not much to do there but eff and fight. And too much of the fighting is done in bars, not in gyms.
Makes sense to me. To that I say, make it happen, cap'n.

Buddy, by the way, loves Donny. The boxer told Buddy he was on the show to make money to buy a new snowplow. He already has the gear to cut lawns in the summer and he'd like to be set to do maintenance year
round.