Recap: The Contender Season 4, Episode 9

Tony Danza's recap covers the history between Akinyemi "A.K." Laleye and Alfredo Escalera Jr., who will meet in the second round tonight. There's also a short briefing on the health of Ryan Coyne, who suffered bad cuts over both eyes in the first round.

Troy Ross, who won both of his first two fights by knockout, says he knows the other fighters will step up their games after seeing those performances. The remnants of the Gold Team don't say it in so many words, but they are impressed. Over in the old Blue Team room, only Escalera and Coyne remain.

Speaking of Coyne, the doctor makes a house call to examine his right eye. It turns out that the cut is infected, and the doctor advises him not to fight. He's obviously disappointed as he packs his things, and Escalera says it could have happened to any of them. Coyne is happy with the fight he did win, but he has no choice but to hang up his gloves and leave.

Danza gathers the remaining fighters to inform them that Coyne is out. Since Rico Hoye is now without an opponent, Danza says one of the defeated fighters has to return. Only three are medically cleared to do so: Joell Godfrey, Erick Vega and Mike Alexander. Danza tells the others to deliberate and decide who they would like to have back.

There is support for Alexander, who lost a very close decision, and Godfrey, since he had the guts to step up and compete in the very first fight of the tournament. Eventually, opinion swings toward letting Hoye pick his own opponent. That doesn't sit well with Escalera, who gets into a heated shouting match with Hoye before leaving.

Escalera reflects for a bit on how he has no allies left. The decision is made to have Godfrey return, and though he's happy to be back, he questions why Hoye would choose him. The spotlight is on Godfrey in training, and John Bray decides Joell is rusty and will need a lot of work.

Fight night arrives for Laleye and Escalera. The consensus is that the fight will pit A.K.'s speed against Alfredo's size. Tommy Brooks warns A.K. to stay off the ropes, while Bray tells Alfredo he needs to impose his will and cut off the ring.

Round one sees the fight develop as expected, with Laleye landing more but Escalera showing more pop. A.K. looks like he wants to stand and slug, which may not be to his favor, and Brooks tells him he lost the first round.

The middle rounds go more in Laleye's favor, as he's able to outwork Escalera in close to make up for his deficiency in jabs. The ref has to tell both men to stop wrestling on numerous occasions. Alfredo looks like he's gassed by the end of Round Four, and Bray tells him he may need a knockout to win.

Both men look like they could go down from one big shot in the final round, though Laleye clearly has more left in the tank. A left hook from A.K. sends Alfredo slumping into the ropes and down to the canvas. The ref tells Escalera he was out on his feet and that it's all over. The official decision is Laleye by KO at 1:51 of the fifth round.

A.K. says he has nothing personal against Alfredo and gives him credit for a good fight. He knows he's in for a challenge facing Ross in the semifinals.

Escalera feels the biggest battle he lost was with himself, failing to keep his emotions under wraps. Bray echoes those thoughts but says he has nothing to be ashamed of, as he battled all the way to the end and didn't look to run or hide. Escalera departs, taking with him the last remnants of the original Blue Team.

Next Week: The second round comes to an end with another doubleheader, with both fights pitting former Gold teammates against each other.

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