June 4, 2004
After "The Contender" open call for boxers came to a close recently in Los Angeles, it is becoming more and more clear that this is more than just the premier boxing based reality show, this is a new era in boxing. Thousands of boxers have come to the calls all across the country and shown what they have to offer. From amateurs to seasoned pros; in all weight classes they have come. They are drawn by the million dollar prize, the chance to become a household name and enjoy overnight fame as a boxer, but they are also drawn by the feeling that things are changing.
At the LA tryouts one boxer was very clear how he felt. “The Contender could be the greatest opportunity for boxers in our generation. How long have we been told the sport is dying, the sport is dying? The Contender is gonna put boxing right back on top in the mainstream of American sports. I’m gonna be in people’s living rooms boxing for 16 weeks, on NBC in primetime. It’s about time real boxing and real boxers got the respect we deserve, what we do is hard, we’re gladiators, boxing is like nothing else and The Contender could make millions of people understand that. There’s no way in hell I’m gonna miss my chance to be a part of that. When I look back, no matter how far I get in my career, I’ll be able to say that I was there, I was there when boxing turned around and got back on top.” Another simply said, “I came down here because I knew I’d have to kill myself if I was watching and I could beat those guys on the TV, if I didn’t come out for this I’d have regretted it for the rest of my life.”
As always seems the way in boxing, there are rumors aplenty about “The Contender.” Some boxers had heard they didn’t want pros with more than 8 fights. Not true, the calls are open to all boxers at all levels of experience. Others thought the weight class had already been selected. Also not true, the producers say they will only pick the weight class once they have finished with all their tryouts and have seen every boxer who wants to take part in the future of the sport we all love. Some managers were concerned that somebody was going to steal their fighter away from them. Again not true. The producers of “The Contender” are sensitive to and will respect pre-existing relationships.
Time is running out for you to be seen, don’t let an opportunity to change your entire life overnight pass you by. Get up, get out and get yourself down to one of the last three cities and tryout. If you don’t you’ll have to watch while someone else becomes boxing’s next superstar and who will you have to blame?
The next tryouts will be in Chicago, Illinois on June 8 and 9 from 12:00pm - 8:00pm at the National Italian-American Sports Hall of Fame and in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 12 and 13 at the Richard Steele Boxing Center. Go to nbc.com for more information or call 1-877-BE-A-BOXER. http://www.fightnews.com/668.htm