By Mike Nosky
The hit reality series ‘The Contender’ has jump started a few careers and added on to the careers of some others and is now looking to be restarted itself.
Although nothing is official and no one seems to want to say anything on the record, it looks as though ‘The Contender’ will return later this year and will be aired on VERSUS. According to someone who should know something about it, “probably” was the best answer he would give me when I asked about constant rumors that VERSUS was the next stop for the show.
The Contender first aired in 2005 on NBC. From season one, Peter Manfredo, Jr. and Alfonso Gomez have gone on to fight for world titles and Sergio Mora, the winner of the first season, will become the third fighter from the class of ’05 to fight in a world title fight when he enters the ring at Mohegan Sun on Saturday night.
Days before the live finale of Season 1 between Mora and Manfredo in May of ‘05, NBC announced that it would not be picking up the second season of the show. It took only three months for ESPN to pick up the series and that’s been The Contender’s home for the last two seasons.
But on April 10 of this year, ESPN let the word out that it would be canceling the series.
This is where VERSUS comes in and rescues the die hard fans of the series. The network has been airing live boxing since 2006, culminating in last week’s world title doubleheader featuring world super lightweight champion Ricky Hatton and IBF titlist Paulie Malignaggi in front of over 55,000 fans in Manchester, England.