Category:The Contender (TV Series)

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The Contender is an American reality television series that follows sixteen aspiring boxers from training camp through a series of ring challenges and boxing matches in an elimination-style competition. The driving force behind the series will be the pursuit of the American dream and the natural trials, tribulations and heartbreak inherent in that quest, combined with the drama and tension of the sweet science. The show is much broader than boxing and it will give viewers a first hand look into the real life hopes, triumphs and defeats of the contestants.

The show takes the format of a gameshow with the boxers divided into two teams. In the first season, the teams living quarters were located in the historic Royal Laundry Building on Raymond Avenue in Pasadena, California. The second season saw the living quarters moved to a new facility in downtown Los Angeles. The teams compete for the right to choose which of their team members will fight that week and who he fights against. The hour long show is broken down into two parts with most of the second half of the episode being devoted to the fight. The loser is eliminated and the winner's team is rewarded with a prize.

In early 2005, before the show premiered, FOX, a rival US television network rushed to air a competing show hosted by Oscar De La Hoya called The Next Great Champ. The show performed poorly and after only four episodes, the final six episodes were relegated to a smaller cable network called Fox Sports Net (FSN). In an effort to distance itself from the poor showing of The Next Great Champ, NBC opted to hold airing of The Contender until spring 2005. The first season reportedly cost NBC around $1,000,000 per episode.

The series was cancelled by NBC on May 16, 2005 . On August 11, 2005, ESPN announced that it was picking up the rights to a second season of the show and it began airing on the network in July 2006. ESPN also announced that it has options to renew the series for two additional seasons.

Produced by Mark Burnett, the show is hosted by Sugar Ray Leonard, who shared hosting duties in the first season with actor Sylvester Stallone. Leonard also serves as a trainer on the show, along with Tommy Gallagher and Jeremy Williams. During the first season, boxing manager Jackie Kallen also served as counsel to the boxers. Another change for the second season saw the elimination of the challanges. Not only did the tasks have nothing to do with boxing, but alao the fighters exposed themselves to injury; at least two pulled muscles during challenges. Eliminating the challenges allows the show to devote more time to fights and behind-the-scene activities and the training fighters go through.

The series’ tagline is "The Next Great Human Drama".

The Contender television series was named The Ring magazine Event of the Year for 2005.


Sugar Ray Leonard and Sylvester Stallone
Tommy Gallagher
and Jeremy Williams
Jackie Kallen


Sugar Ray Leonard
Tommy Gallagher and Jeremy Williams


Super Middleweight
Sugar Ray Leonard
Buddy McGirt, Pepe Correa, Carlos Vargas and Romnick Dongiapon

Season3 main2.jpg