The Contender Season 4 Finale Live Blog

The MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods is the site for the live finale of Season 4 of The Contender. Nick Charles and Wally Matthews are calling the action, and the host of the show, Tony Danza, is also on hand.

First up is the so-called bronze medal bout between Rico Hoye and Akinyemi "A.K." Laleye. Matthews says Hoye brought in one of the top resumes of any fighter on the show and is big for a cruiserweight. He thinks Laleye will have to outhustle Hoye to win, which he is capable of doing.

Danza narrates a look back at how A.K. got to the semifinals, defeating Erick Vega and Alfredo Escalera Jr. before losing to Troy Ross. He was the smallest man in the tournament.

Hoye beat Mike Alexander in a close fight and Joell Godfrey but lost to Hino Ehikhamenor. He has plenty of experience but was out of boxing for a while thanks to some legal trouble.

This will be an eight-round fight. The tale of the tape shows Hoye with a solid advantage in height and weight, though reach is almost even.

Laleye comes to the ring first, followed by Hoye. John Vena handles the introductions.

A.K. is giving up plenty of size, but he takes it right to Hoye in the first round. Hoye can't keep him at bay with his jab, and Laleye scores with several short, sharp hooks.

Hoye is trying to line up a big right hand but Laleye has done a good job of avoiding it. The ref wanrs both men for holding, and Hoye slugs his way forward with multiple power shots in the last 20 seconds of the second round.

Danza talks to Hino about the fight going on now and the upcoming championship fight. Ehikhamenor calls it the biggest opportunity of his life.

Laleye keeps trying to smother Hoye, but the bigger man stuns his foe with a left hook and a body shot halfway through the third. Both men seem more than happy to trade, and they are swinging wildly as the third round closes.

Charles and Matthews are critical of Laleye's corner for offering him little advice between rounds. With a minute left in the fourth round, Hoye lands several consecutive head shots, and Laleye has to dig deep to survive the onslaught.

This is the first time A.K.'s mom has seen him fight, and she can't like what she saw over the last two rounds. CompuBox had Hoye throwing 100 punches in Round Four, which is pretty crazy for a large cruiserweight. A.K. loses a point for holding, then basically shoves Hoye through the ropes, and the ref lectures both men. Hoye smokes A.K. with a left hand late in the round.

Danza gets a chance to talk to Ross about his thoughts. He says he feels great and is ready to let his hands fly.

There isn't anything in the sixth or seventh rounds to make it look like A.K. can pull off a knockout, but that's what he's probably going to need heading into the eighth and final round. he deserves credit for standing in and exchanging all the way until the end, but he's eating at least as many as he's landing. Both guys make it to the final bell, and we'll go to the scorecards.

Past Contender champions Sergio Mora, Grady Brewer and Sakio Bika are all in attendance.

All three judges score it 79-72, all to the winner by unanimous decision... Rico "Suave" Hoye.

CompuBox showed Hoye throwing about 300 punches more than Laleye and landing a lot more as well. Matthews talks to the winner, who says he got caught with some good shots early on, but he stayed relaxed and listened to his team. Hoye also admits to being disappointed in not being in the final, but he's not looking back. Asked about the final, he favors Hino but says it should be a great fight.

Posted by The Franchise

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