By Ted Sares
The Contender finalists are now set to rumble. Steve Forbes and Grady Brewer will duke it out in the finals on September 26 at the Staples Center in LA and thank God we will be able to see the bout live .....in its entirety ... The way a boxing match should be seen. Now then, maybe it's just me but the editing of The Contender series seems to have gotten a bit out of hand this season. Cheesy slow-motion? Enhanced sound effects and dumb music? Cutaways to girlfriends/wives/fathers/sons screaming hysterically, "Oh, c'mon baby, c'monnnnn!" or poignant and consoling visits to the locker room after the fight. And the final walk down the street after losing................ugh. Hey, this is boxing. Take a very hot and long muscle relaxing shower, maybe shave, splash on some cologne and talc and take the lady and/or kids out for a steak or some pasta and talk about what went wrong. And if things went right, get the homey's together and let the good time roll. That's reality! Speaking of the contenders, let's take a brief look.
Steve "2 Pounds" Forbes, 32 (9 ko's) - 3. He is younger (29 vs 35), has been a World champion (he won the International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior lightweight title vacated by Diego Corrales on an 8-round TKO over John Brown on Dec. 3, 2000) but has fought just fair opposition overall. His three losses were by UD, TD and MD. He beat Freddy Curiel, Nick Acevedo and Corneilus Bundrage to earn a shot at Grady Brewer in the finals on Tuesday. He has excellent skills and is an excellent counter-puncher, but can also engage if necessary. He is much stronger at 130 pounds than he was when fighting at heavier weights. He started boxing at age 10 and was 57-10 in the amateurs, and was a five-time Washington and Oregon Golden Gloves champion. Among his pro wins, he beat David Santos (37-3 going in) for the U.S. Boxing Association (USBA) 130-pound title on a lopsided 12-round decision. Overall, he is well-schooled with excellent speed, technical skills and mobility, but lacks power. Winning the Contenders Title will remove the "afterthought" label that seems to have been put on him.
Grady "Bad Boy" Brewer, 21 (12 ko's)-11. His amateur career started at age 11 and he won 40 of his 45 fights along with the Oklahoma State Golden Gloves tournament in his weight class. He may be peaking at just the right time. His three contender wins arguably were against tougher guys....Norberto Bravo, Michael Stewart and Vinroy Barrett. And he has fought far superior opposition overall, though he did get Tko'd by tough Marco Antonio Rubio sometime before going into the Contender series. His opposition includes Jermain Taylor, tough Sechew Powell, Anthony Carlos Bojorquez (who beat a shot Pernell Whitaker), former Contender finalist Peter Manfredo Jr, and streaking Kelly Pavlik. One big problem here; he has been stopped six times. Nevertheless less, the non-protected "Bad Boy" is physically strong and crowd-pleasing. And get this, since turning pro in 1999, he has been matched against 21 boxers with a winning record, including eight who entered the ring unbeaten and 19 with three losses or less. Moreover, he has appeared before the hometown fans in Lawton, Oklahoma only three times. His biggest pro win came when he Tko'd highly touted and previously unbeaten Anthony "The Messenger" Thompson (15-0 going in), on Feb. 16, 2004, in Las Vegas. A win over Forbes will remove the label of an “opponent” who has been often selected to fight on short notice.
In summary, this is strength and grit vs. speed and finesse. Both had draining third fights and should be equally worn or (fresh) going in. Frankly, it's too close to call. However, if my back were against the wall, I'd go with Forbes, but by a razor thin margin. "Bad Boy" is on a 3 -fight roll and smells the roses (and money)...but then, so does "2Pounder."
As for the drama part, please spare us Sugar Ray and Sergio Mora leaping to their feet like two trained robots in feigned enthusiasm. We can see the fight for ourselves and don't need the bile-inducing hype. Let's hope the final is about boxing,,,nothing more, nothing less.
"Boxing is just show business with blood." Bruno Frank