Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Contender: Episode 7 Review

Rico Hoye (Gold) 20-2 vs Mike Alexander (Blue) 12-2

Tim Flamos (Gold) 20-4-1 vs Ryan Coyne (Blue) 9-0

This past Wednesday was double header night on The Contender, as the four remaining fighters went at it.

Last week’s victory by Troy Ross was the fifth consecutive win for the Gold Team and meant they were still in charge of doing the matchmaking. With only four boxers still to fight, that gave them the final say in both fights.

Former world title contender Rico Hoye stepped up to take the first bout and selected Mike Alexander as his opponent. That left Tim Flamos and Ryan Coyne to do battle in the final match-up of the first round.

When prompted by Tony Danza to explain his choice, Rico said that Mike was the only real challenge left. While that was probably true, I would guess that the Gold Team got together and decided these two match-ups gave them the best chance of seeing both Rico and Tim through to the next round.

As the naturally bigger man, but less experienced fighter, Mike’s strategy was to stay busy, keep the pressure on and not let Rico get into a rhythm. Not being a brawler, this meant moving forward while working the jab. For Rico, the plan was also to use the jab, but to use it as a way of setting up his other punches.

For the first couple of rounds, Mike was able execute his plan and keep things close. He moved forward, used his jab nicely, and mixed in some nice straight lefts

“Keep touching him up!” Blue Team trainer John Bray yelled in approval to his fighter. “Keep the jab working, Mike!”

Tommy Brooks wasn’t quite as enthused with Rico. “You got to let your hands go and quit waiting,” he told his fighter during the break before the third round began. I think Mike’s southpaw style had Rico slightly uneasy, but with only five rounds to get it done, he had no choice but to step it up.

He did just that, and came out for round three with a lot more purpose, and his aggression changed the tone of the bout.

While Mike’s defensive ability wasn’t bad, he just didn’t know how play off Rico’s offense to mount his own and Rico effectively took the fight away from him.

Mike also started looking a little tired, and I’m going to guess that this was likely caused by being too tense in there. To his credit, despite his depleted energy reserves, he came out hard for the final round. He pressed forward, and tried to use his size to brawl it out in close. It was his only chance, and he went for it in what was a real gutsy display. It just wasn’t enough to earn him the victory.

The final scores were unanimous, 49-46, 48-47 and 49-46

The second fight of the night featured the youngest fighter on the show, 26 year old Ryan Coyne and at age 41, by far the oldest in Tim Flamos (pictured).

Fought often at close quarters, it turned out to be a bloody encounter when a nasty gash opened up above Ryan’s right eye after a clash of heads in the second round. With Tim constantly moving forward, and Ryan fighting out of a southpaw stance and having the habit of covering up and falling into a clinch when pressured, this was always a danger.

Despite having a clear edge in hand and foot speed, Ryan wasn’t able to keep the fight at a safe distance. He had John exasperatedly screaming from the corner, “What are you doing!? Move! What are you doing!? Move to your RIGHT!”

John kept trying to tell Ryan that he could make the fight easy, but Ryan either wouldn’t or couldn’t follow his instructions. Meanwhile in the other corner, Tommy calmly told an increasingly tired looking Tim to put his punches together and work the body.

The action was sloppy, but exciting, as Tim kept plowing forward and forcing Ryan to exchange. While this type of fight gave Tim a chance, he never really had the upper hand. Ryan still had the speed edge, and when he let his hands go, Tim was a very east target. There were a few occasions, when he caught Tim leaning in with huge uppercuts.

All in all, it was a closely contested battle and for the first time this season, there was some doubt about who would get the decision.

The final scores were…

49-46 Ryan

48-47 Tim

48-47 Ryan

Ryan moves on, where he’ll face Rico in the final fight of the second round. That’s if his cut heals in time. As mentioned earlier, it looked bad.

The other second round matches are…Felix Cora Jr. vs Troy Ross (next week), Alfredo Escalera Jr. vs Akinyemi Laleye and Deon Elam vs Hino Ehikhanemor

- Andrew Fruman e-mail