Contender Four, Week Eight, Round Two -
Ross Goes Two For Two

By Barbara Pinnella

We have moved into the second round of The Contender. There are no more teams now; it becomes every man for himself. This first fight of round two will be between Felix Cora, Jr. and Troy Ross. But first, some other happenings.

Ryan Coyne, who was cut above his right eye due to a head butt in his fight with Tim Flamos, was sent to the hospital to have this new cut sewn up. It is still unclear whether or not this will prevent him from fighting in round two against Rico Hoye. Trainer John Bray stated the obvious when he said that there have only been two cuts, and Coyne has suffered both of them, one in sparring and now this one. He is a former football player, and was told to quit leading with his head.

This week brought back memories of the other seasons of the show. As a reward for moving on to the second round, the fighters were taken on a tour of the beautiful city of Singapore, and went out for a nice dinner. When they returned to the loft all of the pictures that had been on the walls were changed. In their places were pictures of all the boxers in their first round fights. They really seemed to get a kick out of that.

To add another nice touch, each man was surprised to find a letter from home, which included pictures of their family. Probably the most excited was Rico Hoye, after finding a copy of his wife’s ultrasound, and realized that his new baby will be a boy. I have to say I have enjoyed the show a bit more this season without all of the family interaction, but this one episode was pretty easy to take.

Cora also shared another letter that he had received with Alfredo Escalera, Jr. That letter told Cora that due to the length of time he had been gone, he was now terminated. So, after losing everything in Hurricane Ike while he was gone, he had to now accept that he had lost his job as well.

If this was a movie script we could figure out just how it would end. Cora would be losing his fight, dig down deep, struggle at the end, and come out the victor. But we can’t write life’s scripts.

In 2:38 of round one, Ross caught Cora with a sound left hand and Cora went down. As he struggled to his feet at the eight count, the referee had him walk toward him, and then waved the fight off. Just that fast, it was over. Felix was yelling “No!” to the ref, and even pushed him a little in frustration, but to no avail.

Boxing is a tough sport. This type of thing happens all the time. As a journalist, I might feel badly about an outcome, but it ends there. I have to admit however, at the risk of sounding way too dramatic, that I was momentarily saddened by this. No, not because he lost the fight, but for the mere fact that everything was over so quickly for him.

But then I remember that boxing, as with all sports, is riddled with disappointments. Cora has lost three of his last four fights, all by TKO. A trend? Who knows? And I am not making light of the fight that Ross fought. He did just what he needed to do. He is the only fighter in the tournament to have not one, but both of his victories by TKO, and has not fought past the second round. In his career he has but one loss. That was back in 2005, and that loss was by split decision. A very polished and coolheaded fighter is Troy, and I look forward to seeing him in action in the semi-finals.

This article is a bit shorter than normal because there is no exit interview this week. Super Bowl Week has drawn all my contacts away.. Next week I hope to speak with both Felix and the man who is defeated in that second fight.

Be safe and God Bless,

Viva La Raza,