Jackie Kallen on Boxing: ‘Contender’ Babyface Set For Comeback


By Jackie Kallen

One of the more interesting cast members on the first season of “The Contender” on NBC was Ahmad “Babyface” Kaddour. From Denmark, the Lebanese junior-middleweight was undefeated. incredibly handsome, and charming as well.

As the “Den Mother,” I had a chance to get to know all the fighters in the house. Ahmad was one of my favorites. He always had a smile when he came into my office to weigh-in every morning, and he had an air of confidence that fell just short of cockiness. Added to that, he speaks five languages and has lived all over the world. We got along great.

He was 18-0 when the show started. He was thought to be one of the top prospects of the group and a top pick for winner. That was all changed when he faced off against Ishe Smith. He lost and was off the show.

However, when Juan de la Rosa quit–Kaddour was brought back. He fought Alfonso Gomez and lost again. I could tell his morale was effected. His confidence was gone and he seemed like a beaten man.

His personal life wasn’t much better. On the show, Ahmad’s was engaged to Brandy Collins, an American who sponsored him for a visa. They got married after the Contender, had a son, but soon divorced. The court awarded Brandy their home in Houston. As you can imagine, this did not sit well with Babyface.

Ahmad allegedly tried to enter the home without her permission in June of 2007, and was charged with burglary. On the advice of his attorney, he pled guilty to trespassing and was sentenced to 180 days in jail. Brandy withdrew her sponsorship of him with the INS, causing Kaddour to be deported to Denmark upon his release from jail.

You could safely say that his career–and life–weren’t going well. He didn’t fight for almost three years. Since then he has won three times. He is now 23-2-1.

Earlier this year he moved to the Detroit area. He is now training under the superb tutelage of former lightweight prospect Greg Coverson, whose only two losses were to Howard Davis, Jr. and Hector Camacho. The two seem to be bonding famously and enjoy working together.

“I’ve had great sparring.” Kaddour says, “and I am ready to go for a world title. This next fight is a step in that direction.”

The next fight he is referring to is an 8-rounder against Chris Grays at the Motor City Casino in Detroit on October 6. The main event is a 10-rounder featuring undefeated Vernon Parris vs. Ruben Galvan. Under that fight is another 10-rounder: Darryl Cunningham vs. Dante Craig.

“I want to stay busy. I should be a champion by now, but things didn’t work out that way. It’s never too late, though. I am only 29 years old.”

Jackie Kallen is a boxing manager who has been in the business for over three decades. Her life inspired the Meg Ryan film “Against the Ropes” and she was a part of the NBC series “The Contender.” www.JackieKallen.com, www.facebook.com/JackieKallen

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