So after that long intro, we get another long intro, the official one. This one is more slickly produced and not tacked-on after homeboy killed himself and Sly felt they needed do to even more humanizing. Chariots of Fire triumphant music starts full of chime-hits and slinky, tension-building strings, as we get overly-saturated shots of running, boxing, hand-wrapping. Sly! Sugar Ray! And then the "East" team. Jimmy. Jeff. Juan. Peter (Cavenose). Then Sly and Sugar Ray walk in a park. More boxing shots. Najai (dead guy), Brent (cowboy), Ahmed. Jonathan. More goofy music and editing. Caesars plugs. Now the "West" team. Jesse. Sergio. Anthony. Ishe. Alfonso. Miguel. Tarick. Joey. Then a crazy-looking older lady named Jackie, whom also crazy-looking older lady Meg Ryan played recently in an unwatchable movie. Then the faux Burgess Meredith, Tommy. Someone raises a championship belt. And that's the opening credits. Wow. I hope we don't have to sit through that again. What time is it? Like, a million.
The music continues, only this time even more triumphant and tense and family. Shots of the fighters packing and leaving their houses and getting into cabs. Sly voice-overs that sixteen of the most promising professional boxers in America are packing to go to The Contender training facility near downtown L.A. Nice gym. Along with cool gear, it also gives them "access to six-time world champion Sugar Ray Leonard." "Access"? Like, they can fuck him? Shots of Sugar Ray then and now. Quick shots of the trainers and "cut men" and sparring partners. Plane. Airport arrivals board. "The sixteen Contender hopefuls are…" Wow. More introductions. All right.
Cowboy Brent is a born-again Christian from Tennessee. Tariq was once ranked fourth in the world, is coming out of retirement. He greets Brent, standing alone in the gym. Najai is a street kid from Philly fighting for a better life for his family; will go on to kill himself; won't make a better life for his family. Jeff is from Boston; he's small. Sergio is 14-0; "The Latin Snake." Joey is undefeated and learned in college and went to law school. Alfonso is Mexican; trying to prove that he belongs. Alfonso tells us he's a new breed of boxer and knows two languages and can be a role model for kids. Yeah, kids who like to beat the shit out of each other. Jimmy is a Catholic from Virginia. Miguel is smiley. Anthony from Minnesota is a single dad. Outside, Ishe kisses his wife and kid. He is world-ranked from Las Vegas; fears God; hates the lack of integrity in boxing. Peter is ranked third in the world. Juan is a young Texan phenom; is eighteen; looks like Pharrell from The Neptunes. Jesse is a farm boy who arrives on a motorcycle. Ahmed is European; lives in Texas; goes by "Babyface"; is undefeated; wears a loud shirt that the other boxers make fun of and which causes them to ask if he just got done shooting a movie. Yeah, a really tacky movie about bad shirts and too much hair gel. Outside, Jonathan kisses his family. He's a seasoned pro with a checkered past. He likes checkers? Oh, I think maybe that's code for "went to jail." Wow, it's going to take me a while to get all these names.
Guy who looks like Cris Judd talks about sizing the others up. Single Dad says they got top-notch guys who will be tough to beat. The men stand around. Finally, Sly and Sugar Ray arrive. The fighters smile. Jimmy camera-talks about the two icons. Sly and Sugar Ray stand in the ring. They welcome the fighters. The sixteen "middleweights." The rules. They'll be fighting middleweight, 158 pounds. Each week two fighters will fight, and the winner stays, the loser goes home. Sugar Ray says this is five rounds and professional and the results of the fights goes on the fighters official record. Sly mumbles that their fates are in their hands, counting something off on his fingers; he loses count and just mumbles. He then says that they'll be split off into two teams based on geography, East and West. Fuck. More names rattled off.