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"The Contender"
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Reviews & Ratings for
"The Contender" More at IMDbPro »

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9 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

The best reality show i've ever seen!

Author: r287 from United Kingdom
12 March 2005

Unlike a lot of reality shows this one is brilliantly made and edited and is very classy, Stallone and Sugar Ray combine to make a truly great piece of entertainment. The show has had to face a lot of adversaries such as the awful copy-cat attempt - the next great champ, also it has been delayed and put in a very difficult time-slot and lets be honest boxing is not what it used to be, what's more one of the contestants even committed suicide a few months after filming for an unknown reason. However the final product is worth everything they have put in and the program is a visual spectacle with the fight at the end of every episode being the highlight. Luckily it doesn't just focus on boxing, even those who don't watch boxing will love it as it is concentrated on the moving stories of the boxers and their families.

Great Stuff!

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Finally, there's a point!!

Author: rockstar78 from toronto
8 March 2005

Usually, I can't stand "reality" shows. I don't care to see average people go through anything to get on television, not to mention the fact that the presence of cameras totally contaminates their behavior. I can survive on an island for over a month, I can eat cattle eyes, and I could cheat on my girlfriend. I just don't think any of it is worth it just to be recognized(for a little while). I know, the money doesn't hurt either but greed isn't any more noble than vanity.

So, on to the point. "The Contender" buries all those other shows for a few reasons. First of all, these guys are doing something most of us can't. They are professional fighters. Getting punched hurts, staying in peak physical condition all the time takes way more discipline than the average north American can muster in their dreams. I'm a big sports fan and part of the appeal is athletes(with the exception of some baseball players) are as close to super human as you can get. The second reason this show stands above is because their behavior wouldn't change much without the cameras. The only exception is there would be no Sly, but don't forget, he's just an actor anyway. And finally, at there is a fight at the end of each show, again, I'm a fight fan so knowing there will be a professional boxing match with elimination on the line is really exciting to me.

My only criticism is the cheesy over-dramatization, but it's network TV and they would jump off a building before presenting something at face value(think Superbowl).


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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

Reality Shows the Way they Should Be.

Author: adogg90 from Uptown
15 March 2005

'The Contender' is a show with a genuine reality to it. It doesn't try to create drama- there's enough of that in the ring. It just follows a bunch of lower-class boxers trying to make it in the business. Basically, looking to be the next Rocky. With Sly Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard training, along with other professionals, they help these guys try to make a dream come true. In the end, the final two boxers will compete for $1,000,000. This show is possibly the greatest reality show in a long, long time. You have the humble, young boxers, like Ishe or Juan, and you have the cocky punks, like Ahmad. It can sometimes be the fight between good and evil, but this time, you don't know who's gonna win. This brings all the entertainment possible: Fighting, shouting, and human emotion. I like it, and so will you.

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A Triumph for Boxing Fans

Author: klstumpy
8 May 2005

Anybody who is a fan of boxing should love this. It will also appeal to non-fans because the stories of the boxers themselves are heart-warming. It really gets into the heads of the fighters and shows what drives them, be it honor, fame, family, or God. I don't care much for the little athletic competitions they use to pick who fights next, but the fights, while only 5 rounds long, are action-packed and full of drama. Even if the fights are taped and edited, you'll be on the edge of your seat, and none of the hard hits, huge comebacks, and saddening defeats lose their impact. And since you get into the heads of these boxers and appreciate where they're coming from, when they fight, sometimes it's hard to choose who to root for. These guys are all winners*.

My only problem with the show is it is a little too over-packaged and edited. But, that's network TV for you. It doesn't matter too much in the end, because this show is still great, and one of two current shows I follow with great zeal (the other show being "Lost").

*With the possible exception of Ahmed Kahddour. Cocky bastard.

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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful:

Great fun watching marginal boxing

Author: SnoopyStyle
13 September 2013

This is reality show from Mark Burnett and Sylvester Stallone. It aims to bring boxing back to prominence with a compelling TV competition show. Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard give 16 young hopefuls a shot at a million dollar paycheck.

The reality part with the personal lives isn't that great. The games they play are of little interest. It is the boxing match that makes this show. It's not simply a sports boxing match like all the rest. They've Hollywooded it up with slow motion, and selective editing to amp up the adrenaline rush. The boxing matches are a great watch worthy of any big time movie. As for the caliber of the boxing, that's very much in dispute. But that may not be the point. We're watching the beauty of 2 men in competition, but not necessarily finding the next champ.

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this is as real as it can get

Author: koenigt2 from Romania
2 February 2008

if you want to see a real reality show , The Contender is what you want to see. It has it all , bravery , honor ,camaradery , the spirit to fight, real determination ,great show , great fights , great guys. Even thou men these days are not men anymore because of pollution( it affects testosterone level)but there still are men out there who haven't been affected by pollution and they haven't turned into pussy , those men that like to watch box they are real MEN. It's not about being violent it's about being the best at everything . This show really lifts my spirit up , it awakens the competitive side of me , so If you're real MEN have a competitive spirit then this is something you want to see. It might not have the budget or the script writers that other serials have , but it sure packs a punch for it's money , facts not words makes someone great unless you are in showbizz , or in this polluted world we are living now .

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Round Robin Tourney in the Squared Circle. A "Reality Show" or Documentary of the Prize Ring in this, the 21st Century.

Author: John T. Ryan ( from United States
23 October 2007

"Pugilism", "Fisticuffs", the "Sweet Science", "Boxing" or just the plain old "Fights", no matter what we call them, they go on and on, and seem to be thriving now, long after so many pundits had predicted their eradication.

Their brute primativity and link to our primordial past surely must have a lot to do with Boxing's seeming longevity and its appeal. It seems that the more sophisticated and "civilized" our World becomes, the more popular the Prize Ring becomes. And now with the influx of $how Bu$ine$$ Mega Buck$ via Broadcast and Cable TV Revenue$, we find there is more money than ever. As someone had observed, "...and there's even some money left-over for the Fighters!" With the growing popularity of the so called "Reality Shows" the coming of a Boxing Series chronicling all the behind the scenes happenings and preparations leading up to a Prize Fight was bound to come along. These guys on Creator Mike Burnett's team did it! They deserve the credit as well as the fruits of their labour.

Anyone who has been a Boxer or has been around them or known Boxers know just what an exclusive fraternity that they are. A man may have been retired from the Ring for years and years; and yet, when he observes a fight, he is all eyes for each round. His expertise and instincts dissect each bout, round by round; reporting his observations and suggestions for technique and strategy.* The Mike Burnett Production team knew that as little 'Star Power' can mean a lot to a series. So, they went out and sought to bring some very well known Name Performers on board for the shaping of the series. Ideally, they would have recognition in Movies/TV, the Sporting World as well as to the General Public.

The selections of the Multi-time Welterweight & Middleweight Champ, Ray Leonard gave the series a real solid foundation. With his background of accomplishment and youthful, still fit appearance he would be an ideal subject for a Television Host. His pleasing personality, his highly articulate speech all added up to the absolute right man for the right job.

As far as the second half of the co-host tandem, the Producer chose everyone's favourite fictional Boxing Champ, Philadelphia's Favourite (Fictional) Son, "The Italian Stallion"-Rocky Balboa (Himself), Sylvester Stallone. Sly, a life-long, super-fanatical devotee of Athletics, Physical Conditioning and Bodybuilding,was a near perfect companion co-host. Together the pair served as a conduit between the audience and the two camps of competing fighters.

Meanwhile, we are treated to the selection process, the training and the normally off screen occurrences are captured and chronicled by the all-seeing eye of the camera. We see the winning, the losing, the joy and the heart break experienced by the 'Contenders'. To borrow the most famous motto from "ABC's WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS", ".....the Joy of Victory and the Agony of Defeat!"** As far as a good crossover for those who are both into the Sporting World and Movies/TV, "THE CONTENDER" really nails it. It's our favourite (the 'our' being possessive case of the 'Editorial We'.)series of the 'Reality Type.' Here's hoping that it continues for some time.

NOTE: * This writer happened to be working in the Chicago Loop as a Foot Traffic Cop in the mid 1970's. During this Period(1973-78) I had the good fortune to meet and be able to visit with Mr. Leo Rodak, who was a former WORLD'S FEATHERWEIGHT BOXING CHAMPION. Being about the same age as my own Father, I found Leo to be sharp, highly energetic and very fond of telling stories of his Boxing Days and of his experiences in the Army in World War II. But, that's another Story!

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The Contender 2007

Author: Sharisons25 from United States
12 January 2007

I have enjoyed watching the Contender for the past 2 seasons and expect a third season, Could you please inform me of when can we expect the third season to begin. Everyone in my neighborhood and surrounding areas keep updated on the Contender status. When it comes on around our neighborhood everyone makes sure that they take care of what needs to be taken care of for that day so we are home in time for the Contender. Everyone has their own fighter. It is fun to keep up with the Contender as well as watching the training/fighting events. I would greatly appreciate if anyone related to the show/series email me with the dates of when I can expect the third season of Contender. Thank you.

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Author: Nirav Modi ( from United States
25 August 2006

If you box this the perfect show for you, if you don't box its still a perfect show for you. Mostly males don't get caught into reality TV but me and six of my friends watch it together every week with some chips and soda. This show brings the troubles boxers go through in their life. Their dreams slowly turning into reality. There is nothing missing from this show, you see everything you would expect. You see them evolve,and like real life there is betrayal, deception, hatred, friendship,sportsmanship, love, Heart, "Swagger", etc. The fighting, camera angles, music is very good. No regrets on the trainers, sparring partners? Its a great show for anybody Period.

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Reality television with a Rocky movies feel

Author: stuart-463 from United Kingdom
19 August 2006

I, like a lot of people, felt I could not bring myself to watch another reality television programme. I was sick of seeing normal people acting up in front of a camera or even worse minor "celebrities" that are mostly famous for doing nothing fighting for even more exposure as they try to get a career in television. You can imagine my surprise when I saw the first series of the contender. Driven young fighters given a chance of a lifetime to be trained by the best trainers in state of the art facilities. Finally this is what reality TV was meant to be about. Sure there were plenty of ego's on show but at the end of each show it was put up or shut up. And how many times was I wrong about who would be the final one standing (too many times to count). It was never any better than when a boxer would be selected to fight because his opponent thought that he was "out of shape" only to see a "surprise" result. The highlight of the programme is, of course, the fight at the end of each programme where it is a mixture of real time mixed with slow motion sections when big punches are landed. Think fight night meets Rocky. It certainly raised the excitement of watching the programme. Needless to say I am a fan and am happy to say that the second series is looking to be almost as good as the first.

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