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Title: The Contender (2005– )

The Contender (2005– ) on IMDb 7.5/10

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2018   2009   2008   2007   2006   2005  
Nominated for 2 Primetime Emmys. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Series cast summary:
Sugar Ray Leonard ...  Himself - Host / ... 43 episodes, 2005-2007
Jeff Connor Jeff Connor ...  Himself - Ring Announcer / ... 38 episodes, 2005-2007
Alfonso Gomez Jr. ...  Himself - Fighter / ... 32 episodes, 2005-2007
Tommy Gallagher Tommy Gallagher ...  Himself - Trainer / ... 33 episodes, 2005-2007
Jeremy Williams Jeremy Williams ...  Himself - Trainer 34 episodes, 2005-2007
Sergio Mora Sergio Mora ...  Himself - Fighter / ... 34 episodes, 2005-2007
Jeff Fraza Jeff Fraza ...  Himself - Fighter 27 episodes, 2005-2006
Peter Manfredo Jr. ...  Himself - Fighter / ... 26 episodes, 2005-2007
Jesse Brinkley Jesse Brinkley ...  Himself - Fighter 23 episodes, 2005-2007
Miguel Espino Miguel Espino ...  Himself - Fighter / ... 17 episodes, 2005-2006
Tarick Salmaci Tarick Salmaci ...  Himself - Fighter / ... 23 episodes, 2005-2007
Freddy Curiel Freddy Curiel ...  Himself - Fighter 17 episodes, 2006-2007
Sylvester Stallone ...  Boxing Mentor / ... 16 episodes, 2005
Jackie Kallen Jackie Kallen ...  Herself - Manager 16 episodes, 2005
Dub Huntley Dub Huntley ...  Himself - Trainer 16 episodes, 2005
Anthony Bonsante Anthony Bonsante ...  Himself - Fighter 23 episodes, 2005-2007
Brent Cooper Brent Cooper ...  Himself - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Juan de la Rosa Juan de la Rosa ...  Himself - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Joey Gilbert ...  Himself - Fighter 23 episodes, 2005-2007
Ahmed Kaddour Ahmed Kaddour ...  Himself - Fighter 17 episodes, 2005-2007
Jimmy Lange Jimmy Lange ...  Himself - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Jonathan Reid Jonathan Reid ...  Himself - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Ishe Smith Ishe Smith ...  Himself - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Najai Turpin Najai Turpin ...  Himself - Fighter 16 episodes, 2005
Jack Reiss Jack Reiss ...  Himself - Referee / ... 18 episodes, 2006-2009


Hosts Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard give 16 young boxing hopefuls a shot at the big time in this Mark Burnett and Jeffrey Katzenberg reality drama. The Contender will delve into the lives of each of the boxers as they work their way to a million dollar paycheck and a career as a professional boxer. Written by JesusFan

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The only thing standing between them and a dream is each other. See more »



Official Sites:

NBC | Official site





Release Date:

16 August 2005 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Bokszakadémia See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


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See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


On 14 February 2005, 23-year-old contestant Najai Turpin took his own life in his car in Philadelphia. No part of the show was edited to remove Najai. See more »


Sugar Ray Leonard: [Jesse and Joey were racing for a bag and both got it at the same time but Jesse dropped it.] What happened, Jesse? You had the bag.
Jesse Brinkley: I know, I lost it, I fumbled.
See more »


Featured in Favouritism: Boy George's Queerest TV Moments (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

Round Robin Tourney in the Squared Circle. A "Reality Show" or Documentary of the Prize Ring in this, the 21st Century.
23 October 2007 | by redryan64See all my reviews

"Pugilism", "Fisticuffs", the "Sweet Science", "Boxing" or just the plain old "Fights", no matter what we call them, they go on and on, and seem to be thriving now, long after so many pundits had predicted their eradication.

Their brute primativity and link to our primordial past surely must have a lot to do with Boxing's seeming longevity and its appeal. It seems that the more sophisticated and "civilized" our World becomes, the more popular the Prize Ring becomes. And now with the influx of $how Bu$ine$$ Mega Buck$ via Broadcast and Cable TV Revenue$, we find there is more money than ever. As someone had observed, "...and there's even some money left-over for the Fighters!" With the growing popularity of the so called "Reality Shows" the coming of a Boxing Series chronicling all the behind the scenes happenings and preparations leading up to a Prize Fight was bound to come along. These guys on Creator Mike Burnett's team did it! They deserve the credit as well as the fruits of their labour.

Anyone who has been a Boxer or has been around them or known Boxers know just what an exclusive fraternity that they are. A man may have been retired from the Ring for years and years; and yet, when he observes a fight, he is all eyes for each round. His expertise and instincts dissect each bout, round by round; reporting his observations and suggestions for technique and strategy.* The Mike Burnett Production team knew that as little 'Star Power' can mean a lot to a series. So, they went out and sought to bring some very well known Name Performers on board for the shaping of the series. Ideally, they would have recognition in Movies/TV, the Sporting World as well as to the General Public.

The selections of the Multi-time Welterweight & Middleweight Champ, Ray Leonard gave the series a real solid foundation. With his background of accomplishment and youthful, still fit appearance he would be an ideal subject for a Television Host. His pleasing personality, his highly articulate speech all added up to the absolute right man for the right job.

As far as the second half of the co-host tandem, the Producer chose everyone's favourite fictional Boxing Champ, Philadelphia's Favourite (Fictional) Son, "The Italian Stallion"-Rocky Balboa (Himself), Sylvester Stallone. Sly, a life-long, super-fanatical devotee of Athletics, Physical Conditioning and Bodybuilding,was a near perfect companion co-host. Together the pair served as a conduit between the audience and the two camps of competing fighters.

Meanwhile, we are treated to the selection process, the training and the normally off screen occurrences are captured and chronicled by the all-seeing eye of the camera. We see the winning, the losing, the joy and the heart break experienced by the 'Contenders'. To borrow the most famous motto from "ABC's WIDE WORLD OF SPORTS", ".....the Joy of Victory and the Agony of Defeat!"** As far as a good crossover for those who are both into the Sporting World and Movies/TV, "THE CONTENDER" really nails it. It's our favourite (the 'our' being possessive case of the 'Editorial We'.)series of the 'Reality Type.' Here's hoping that it continues for some time.

NOTE: * This writer happened to be working in the Chicago Loop as a Foot Traffic Cop in the mid 1970's. During this Period(1973-78) I had the good fortune to meet and be able to visit with Mr. Leo Rodak, who was a former WORLD'S FEATHERWEIGHT BOXING CHAMPION. Being about the same age as my own Father, I found Leo to be sharp, highly energetic and very fond of telling stories of his Boxing Days and of his experiences in the Army in World War II. But, that's another Story!

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