If you answered yes, then take my advice -- watch the replay at 12:30 EST on ESPN2, if you can, or at least set your TiVo or your archaic VCR or your DVR or whatever else you have that can record a television program. Because if you're a boxing fan, and you like a good no-BS, bomb-throwing, war of wars, then the Jaidon Codrington-Sakio Bika fight was for you.
I jumped in to score this one late -- I always keep a running tab in my head, even if I'm not here doing the fight. But the first three rounds -- including knockdowns on both sides in the opening frame -- were so good that I knew I had to get this down so I could put it on my silly top 10 scored fights of the year list. If you peek over there, you'll see it at No. 6, behind the two Marquez-Vazquez fights, Barrera-Marquez, Taylor-Pavlik and Cotto-Judah.
Codrington-Bika was that good.
And, oh yeah, Sakio Bika won the fight, so he's the Contender champion. I still don't like the weekly format they have -- look, sign a B-team pair of commentators. That Gladiator music shit does not work for me.
There was not a single bum fighter in the group this season, which helped. The lineup was exceptionally strong for a show like this, and compared favorably to what UFC has done with their fantastic Ultimate Fighter series. Sam Soliman is aging and undersized, but when he winds up being the third-best fighter? Yeah, maybe a step up from a tournament that's been won in previous years by Sergio Mora and Grady Brewer.
If ESPN tweaks the format just a little bit more -- and honestly, just having commentary would help a ton -- then I think you're talking about a really good show. They can get quality fighters for this setup. Losing on The Contender is not a death for any career -- ask Alfonso Gomez or Stevie Forbes.
But, again, a great fight that I encourage everyone to try to catch. It will probably make its way to ESPN Classic this week, too.