The Contender
Gomez/Manfredo

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Zucker Said Knock You Out

Jeff, Brent, Jonathan, Najai, Jimmy, Juan, Peter, Ahmed are East. Sly makes fun of Ahmed's flashy shirt. Hee.

The West is Sergio, Miguel, Joey, Jesse, Ishe, Anthony, Tariq, Alfonso.

We now see that the ring is festooned with sponsors. Toyota! Home Depot! Sierra Mist! More to come, I'm sure. Sly mentions how they've moved the families out here so they can share in this experience, but Sugar Ray counters that what's going to determine the winner is your heart and mind. "If you want it, go for it." Wow. Inspiring. Sly says before they go up to their plush digs above the gym, they should meet, and we see Manager Jackie, who is dressed like the Chiquita Banana lady, and Tommy, the trainer, who will oversee both squads. Sly dismisses them.

The men go upstairs. It's pretty damn nice. A long warehouse with new furniture and low, industrial ceilings. It looks like they've moved into the offices of a failed dot com. "I'm not moving out," says white bald lispy boxer. Jesse, I think. "I'm going to stay." Tommy shows them around. Two guys per room. The teams are separated somewhat. "Youse guys can figure out who you want your partner to be." Yeah, "youse guys" figure it out. Tommy has a porkpie hat and a gold chain and sunglasses. He's from the past. He's from Rent-A-Stereotypical-Boxing-Trainer.com and from the past, too. Tommy says it's a pleasure for him to be around thems guys.

Moving-in fun! Ishe tells us he fought Alfonso years ago and it was the toughest fight of his career. They share photos of family. Ishe foreshadows that the fight changed his outlook on boxing and he never took anyone lightly again. Alfonso's dad was a fighter; we see his photo. Anthony shows us photos of his two kids and then tells us that it's weird living with the other guys, but that when the time comes for him to kick their butts, he can. Peter hangs up a flag (Puerto Rico? Mexico? Ireland?) and tells us he's a threat because of what he fights for, which is for his family to have a better life. And for pie. Boxers receive lots of free pie.

Tommy sends them down to work out; Jonathan drinks a giant Sierra Mist! and thinks about the good ol' days in jail. (I made that up.) He camera-talks that everyone thought it was going to be easy, thought they were going to be millionaires, but then he sees they have some "real mammajammas" in here, like Ishe, Jesse, Peter. "Now, it's a different thang," Jonathan says.

Gym. Taping hands. "Daily training." Jumping rope. Boxing. Boston Jeff says he's small and people are laughing at him and he's going to have to fight "smaaht." He's used to uphill battles, though, he tells us. And getting wicked drunk and stomping some queeahs after a Red Sahks game. Training. Training. Anthony says that you don't normally get to watch your future opponents work out every day and see their strengths and weaknesses. More fighting. Sparring. Peter talks himself up. Young Pharrell-looking Juan tells Sugar Ray, while watching Peter spar, "He hits hard as hell." Peter's sparring partner gets tired and gives up. Sugar Ray ribs Peter. Ishe says he's for real; he himself is, that is. Clear? Crystal. He hurts his sparring partner, too. Alfonso jokes with Sugar Ray and then tells us he wants to buy shit for his family and he's sure the dream will come true. I should just program my F12 button to spit out the words, "Dream, family, integrity, heart," in random order for all these quotes. Ahmed fights. Trains. Tommy and Sly talk about fighters who have impressed him. Tommy croaks that Ahmed can be great; he's arrogant and "don't give a fuck." Ahmed boxes and jokes that the whole gym stopped to watch him box. Tommy thinks Ahmed can even go with "the De La Hoyas of the world." We see him box; he boxes well. Ishe leans out the window upstairs and starts taunting Ahmed. He tells us that he's trying to "kill him psychologically." Ooh, like Hannibal Lecter did to that cum-flinging guy in the next cell! Ahmed starts yelling back. And…sudden commercials. We get a "Coming up next…" thing, but "beep-boop!" I'm TiVo'ing through that shit. Sorry.

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The Contender

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