Contender Four, Week Seven - (Fight Seven)
Rico Hoye Moves Into The Semi-Finals

By Barbara Pinnella

We had a double-header this week as we learned whom the top eight fighters would be that move on to the semi-finals. But first Troy Ross had to decide where to place his name for that second round, after giving his Gold Team yet another victory. The last tier was empty, which meant he would not know who his opponent would be. There was one other slot left, and that was under Felix Cora, Jr.’s name. After much consideration, Ross chose to fight Cora. When asked why he replied, “I might as well go with the best of the best.” This fight will take place next week, and should be a really good one.

Gold Team trainer Tommy Brooks repeated what he has been saying all along. “A trainer is only as good as his athlete is. If the fighter doesn’t listen to the trainer, then nine times out of 10 you’re going to come up on he losing end.” This was being said to the trainer of the Blue Team John Bray, whose team had lost four fights in a row.

Bray pushes his fighters and explained why. He said that as a fighter, he had, “opportunity after opportunity.” He felt that he blew it every time and never lived up to his potential. He wants his fighters to take advantage of this chance, and that is why he is hard on them.

Due to the Ross victory, the Gold Team once again had the power of choice, made more important because of the fact there were two fights to be made. Rico Hoye decided to call out Mike Alexander, leaving the young gun Ryan Coyne to face the elder statesman, Tim Flamos.

The first fight of the evening was Hoye against Alexander. At one time Rico had been rated number one in his weight division. He felt that Mike could let him dust off the cobwebs and have a relatively easy fight. I’m not sure if Hoye felt that way after the fight.

Alexander came to play, and it appeared that he won the first two rounds. Whether Rico was taking him a bit for granted, I don’t know, but Mike was not going away easily. Hoye came out a lot stronger in the third, perhaps realizing that he better make something happen soon. He kept pressure on for the last two rounds, but Alexander was able to answer back most of the time.

But Hoye was not to be conquered on this night. From the third round on he seemed much more confident, and continued to wear Mike down. When it finally came to the judges’ scorecards, they scored the fight 49-46, 49-47, and 49-46, a unanimous decision, all for the winner, Rico Hoye. Hoye moves into the semi-final round.

When I spoke with Mike later, I wanted his take on the fight. “After the fight I thought I did enough. I thought it should have been a draw, personally. I talked to a few people and they thought I won the fight,” he told me. “I thought it was close, but after seeing it on TV it seemed to me that I did enough to win the fight, too. I thought I won the first two, I lost the third, and the fourth and fifth could have gone either way.”

I mentioned to Mike that I was really surprised at the unanimous decision against him. “That really hurt my feelings, actually. Two of the guys had a three-point difference, and I couldn’t believe that.”

Being on The Contender was kind of like a dream for Alexander. Watching the show, he never thought he’d get the opportunity to actually be a participant. “I wish there’d been a different outcome, but I met some cool guys and it was a great experience.”

He also enjoyed Singapore. “That too was a great opportunity. I would have never had a reason to visit Singapore, and it was a beautiful country. They treated us nicely, the food was different, and it was a nice experience.”

And speaking of food, Alexander likes to cook, and wants to go to Culinary Arts School when he is finished boxing. “I’ve always liked to cook. I’d research stuff like how much fat is in things, and how to eat healthy, and it just caught my interest.”

But don’t look for him to plan any meals any time soon. As of now it looks as if Mike will have another fight sometime in March. “I’m going to try to learn from my mistakes and get in better shape. I was actually shocked that I got tired like I did in that fight, and I never want that to happen again.

“But you haven’t seen the last of me, and I’d just like to thank the Contender people once again for giving me the opportunity, and good luck to the guys fighting in the Championship.”

Congratulations to Rico Hoye, and thanks to Mike Alexander for his time.

Be safe and God Bless,

Viva La Raza,