Brandon Adams Walks Away As The Top “Contender”
By: Sean Crose
“The Contender” Season Five on Epix concluded on Friday night at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Things started off with a scheduled 8 round middleweight affair between 17-2 Michael Moore and 17-2 Eric Walker. The first round was close, but Walker’s wide stance looked as if it might become problematic. The second round saw Moore seeming unwilling to pull the trigger, his hesitation giving Walker the round. Walker went on to showcase some strong body work in the third.
“I’m really concerned,” said ringside commentator Andre Ward in the fourth, “that Michael Moore has accepted defeat right now.” Ward was right to voice his concern, for Moore’s performance had become listless. Moore landed hard and effectively in the 6th. Walker, however, came on strong at the end of the round. The bell sounded with the two men firing bombs. The truth, though, was that Moore never employed an effective enough attack to earn the victory. Therefore, the UD win ultimately went to Walker after eight.
It was time for the main event. Shane Mosley Jr., the 13-2 son of a legend, faced off in a scheduled ten round middleweight bout against the 13-2 Brandon Adams. The first round was rather cautious and uneventful. Adams landed a sharp left in the second that changed the tempo. Adams continued to control the tempo in the third. By the fourth it was clear that Mosley simply wasn’t being aggressive enough. Adams, on the other hand, was starting to aggressively apply pressure.
The fifth and sixth made it obvious that Adams was the more dominant of the two fighters. In fact, by the halfway point of the sixth, Mosley began to get in trouble as a result of Adam’s blows. At the bell to end the round, Mosley seemed to be in serious danger of being stopped, or – worse yet – getting hurt. In the seventh, Adams was landing hard, accurately, and effectively on Mosley’s head. “I don’t think Mosley wants any more,” said Ward after the round had ended. The look on Mosley’s face said Ward was correct.
To his credit, Mosley tried to get back into the fight in the eighth, but it looked to be too little, too late.
Barring a knockout, it appeared as if Mosley was on the road to losing. Mosley tried to assert himself again in the ninth, but he was simply outgunned. Adams continued to land solidly on his man in the 10th and final round. Needless to say, Adams walked out with a well deserved win, “The Contender” title, a ranking in the top ten, and a cool two hundred fifty thousand dollars.
$250K and a Shortcut to World Title Belt Awaits Winner of Epix Series The Contender
By: Vishare Mooney
Southern California middleweight fighters Shane “Sugarman” Mosley, Jr. (13 – 2) and Brandon “The Cannon” Adams (20 – 2) will face off tonight in a ten round bout at the L.A. Forum in what looks to be an exciting live finale for the Epix series The Contender. The top prize is significant for any fighter: $250,000 and a top ten WBA ranking. The latter effectively gives the winning Contender a shortcut to a world title belt. Current rankings for Mosley Jr. and Adams are 149 and Inactive respectively (Adams had been on a three year hiatus until the show). The co-main event will feature brawler Michael “The Silverback” Moore (17-2) and Contender fan favorite, Louisiana fighter Eric “The Babyface Assassin” Walker (17-2).
Though each fighter was portrayed in the unscripted twelve episode series, as an underdog in their own way, the two finalists may actually have been the most overlooked in terms of their boxing skills. Mosley, Jr. in particular seemed to have the reputation of riding on his father’s name. He was called out by Devaun Lee and Moore, among other fighters, who wanted a win against a Mosley Jr. under their belt. Mosley, Jr. seemed to hold his own and never took the drama bait that often occurred in the house and in reality tv. His demeanor was all business.
At an interview with Boxinginsider, Mosley Jr. spoke of his time at the Contender house. “I try to be true to myself and you know, I want to win so you can’t be involved with the crazy nonsense that’s going on in the house. Of course, you have to adapt a little and be involved in some of the stuff but for the most part you try to find your own space so that you can shine.”
Mosley Jr. soundly bested Devaun Lee in his first tournament fight with two knockdowns in a somewhat sloppy brawl. In his second win against Danny Valdivia, Mosley, Jr. showed impressive jabs and footwork. And in the close semifinal bout with Michael Moore, he impressed the judges with effective aggressive punches which rocked his opponent.
The legendary boxing coach Freddie Roach, who will be in Adams corner tonight, said of Mosley Jr. at yesterday’s press conference, “I’ve seen Shane fight before and I don’t think I’ve ever seen him fight better than he did in the tournament. I think he did raise (his) level.” Mosley, Jr. prior to the show, was training at Roach’s Wild Card gym. “He fought better than I’ve ever seen him before,” said Roach.
And while Mosley, Jr. has been fighting to create his own “Sugarman” legacy and emerge from his father’s shadow, Brandon Adams, has been steadily working, training to emerge from obscurity. As can be the fate of many fighters, Adams had signed with a promoter that produced no fights for him – hence the forced hiatus from boxing until The Contender came calling to give him that opportunity. “This is boxing, anything can happen. I train for the “happen” to happen for me.” Adams and Mosley, Jr. were part of the same gym, Maywood Boxing, years ago and Adams has actually sparred with Shane and his dad.
Adams, in the three years not having a bout, has never stopped training or sparring. “I was sparring, training. I was training as if I always had a fight coming up.” He was more prepared than anyone realized. At The Contender, Adams quickly caught the attention and stole wins from the other contestants. Famed coach Nazim Richardson, who is Shane’s coach for the finals, gave props to Adams, “The names that he faced, were the names that everybody said were going to win.” In particular, Adams had a dramatic win over Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker, the favorite to win the competition. Adams said of Mosley Jr. and tonight’s fight: “He’s grown, he’s a tremendous fighter, he made it to the finals, I’ve grown, I’ve made it to the finals. It’s bittersweet, but we both wanna win.”
As for fight predictions, Freddie Roach calls it even. “This is not an easy fight in the finals. This is a give and take fight. We’ve got two great fighters going against each other. To me, it’s a 50-50 fight.”
Real Time Full Length Bouts, Film Like Quality and Training Camp: “The Contender” a Treat for Boxing Fans
By Vishare Mooney
There is no other sport that produces more profound imagery than boxing. Something about boxing that makes it immune from the staged scenes and story arcs forced upon athletes by reality tv show producers. A fight in a ring is its own unpredictable melodrama. Anything can happen: an upset, a beatdown, a comeuppance. The producers of the revamped “The Contender”, airing tonight on EPIX, understand this well. And in the 12 episodes of the competitive documentary series which feature 16 welterweight fighters in a tournament setting, all the fights will be shown, in full length, with no interruptions. Some episodes will even feature two full length fights. These gorgeously shot bouts are worth tuning into.
The Contender is hosted by the revered boxing champ Andre “Son of God” Ward and fighters coached by the legendary Freddie Roach and acclaimed Philly trainer Naziim Richardson. The show was filmed in an enclosed facility in South Central Los Angeles where all the athletes were housed and all the training and the fights were held. Boxing fans will appreciate the details of the training scenes. The coaches on both sides remind the fighters ad nauseam to “remember the jab! Jab! Jab!” And as the coaches instruct, the fighters take stock of other fighters habits in the ring. They note for future reference who has a high guard or weak chin and legs.
Ward spars with the contenders and one can clearly see as he sports a black eye from a recent sparring session that the guy is into it and he may be more than slightly tempted to make his own comeback.
There is a touching scene where Naziim Richardson, former trainer to Shane Mosely, takes Shane Mosely. Jr. aside on the first day and warns him. “Just by you being a Mosely makes you a target..they all gonna underestimate you. You dig down and give them something different than they weren’t expecting. You whoop their ass.” It’s a storyline worth following.
Freddie Roach, points to Eric “Babyface Assassin” Walker, a fighter from Louisiana, who having spent 14 years in prison, learned to box there. Roach says Walker reminds him of Manny Pacquiao. A look at Walker’s interview reel as he discusses his childhood, he sounds more like Tyson. The media were given only two episodes to preview and it’s already clear Walker is the most exciting fighter in this group.
The show is not without faults. There are still the staged events like family gatherings, that feel awkward. Some of the story lines feel forced. During the fights, the camera cuts to audience expressions that should really be on split screen. All tolerable. The best parts of The Contender, the boxers, trainers and fights, are still the there, even better.