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Sylvester Stallone Finding the Next Rocky

Posted August. 12, 2005 03:04,   


“Boxing has died.”

It’s a rumor that’s been plaguing the world of professional boxing these days. The reason is the dominance of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) contests like K-1, Pride FC, and the like. The violence of MMA that uses kicking, hooking, and other aggressive techniques, has long since overtaken the popularity of primitive boxing. More and more people are becoming attracted to the Mixed Martial Arts. Adding insult to injury, boxing symbol Mike Tyson is even preparing for a K-1 contest. The current professional boxing community is apprehensive on the stars’ absences.

A new program to find the next Rocky has arrived to rejuvenate professional boxing. The producer is none other than the hero of the movie “Rocky,” Sylvester Stallone (49).

The cable channel Super Action will air the reality program “The Contender” (every Monday and Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.) starting August 15. It illustrates the process of Sylvester Stallone fostering amateur boxers. On the program, Sylvester Stallone will round up 16 hopefuls from across America and pit them against each other until the winner is singled out. A 1,000,000 dollar-prize and a chance to debut as a professional boxer will go to the champion.

Teaming up with Stallone is Mark Burnett, director of the number one ratings reality show in 2004 and the face of NBC, “Apprentice,” which selects a CEO for a group of American casino moguls by a survival game method. Aired this March to May, “The Contender” was a fresh breath of air to American viewers withered from reality programs that catered to female tastes, like dating games and cosmetic surgery.

True to his words, “It’s not a simple boxing program, but a humane boxing story,” Stallone emphasizes the heartwarming stories of the participating boxers, as well as the boxing. Glimpses of the efforts of boxers to become the best, their persistence, and their families’ devotion can be seen. A large majority of the athletes on the program are actually boxing their way up from destitute neighborhoods.

Stallone groups the 16 candidates ranging from middleweights to super middleweights in Las Vegas. The contenders have been chosen through a strict screening process and are acknowledged in American boxing. The players are divided into West and East teams and will be classified as winners and losers according to their total record. The winning team will then mark out a player on the losing team for its competitor. The fun of watching lies in the scenes of anxious athletes building strategies to win their bouts.