A Contender Update: The Boxers Fight The Sluggers

By Tom Donelson
Updated: September 26, 2007


IOWA CITY, Ia.The Contender began with the march of the undefeated as two young prospects tested themselves.

Jaidon Cordrington challenged the previously undefeated Vera and he accepted the challenge.

Cordrington had beaten Vera in the amateur ranks and Vera wanted one shot to revenge that lost. Vera, a pressure fighter, felt that he could get inside Cordrington and damaged the body before finishing off his prey.

Cordrington had the advantages of both height and reach whereas Vera needed to take the battle to the chest of Cordrington. In the first minutes, Vera moved forward and appeared to have the initial advantages.

He nailed Cordrington with a couple of nice body shots but halfway through the first round, Cordrington stunned Vera as he staggered from the sharp Cordrington combinations.

From this point, the fight changed and it was Cordrington’s fight. Vera needed to take the second round and regain control of the fight.

He shot his wad but after the first minute and Cordrington nailed Vera with another sharp combination that sent Vera reeling in the ring.

The referee warned Vera, “You need to show me something,” as Vera regained his footing but Cordrington ended the show as he refused to give Vera any opportunities to get back in the fight.

The fight ended with the referee standing in between the two fighters and stopping the Cordrington onslaught. In the second bout, the undefeated fighter was the boxer and the slugger was the challenger.

In yet another boxer vs. slugger fight, Max Alexander needed to keep moving against the more experienced Sam Soliman. Alexander came into the Contender as a legitimate challenger in the Super Middleweight division, but Soliman was a former title contender and has fought some of the Middleweights elites.

In the first three rounds, it was a tough fight to score as the awkward Soliman proved an enigma for Alexander to solve.

The other problem was that Alexander often thought defensively first and allowed Soliman to score points and never taking advantage of those times that Alexander hurt Soliman with his uppercuts.

While the fight went the distance, the fourth round clinched the fight as Soliman knocked Alexander down to gain a 10-8 round.

The judges gave Soliman the advantages due to his aggressiveness.

And Alexander corner man agreed.

After the Alexander fight, Pepe Correa came into the locker room and simply told Alexander that he lost because he fought too defensively and essentially told him that he needed to be more aggressive.

No excuses and Pepe made it clear that Alexander has to change the way he fights or there is no future for the young prospect. It was an unusual twist as the young fighter came face to face with what is needed to be a champion.

In other past episodes, the fighter commiserated with his family before doing his long, lonely walk out of the gym.

After two weeks, two undefeated fighters lost their zero.

The third match up featured Wayne Johnsen fighting Miguel Hernandez.Chicago based Hernandez, built like a spark plug, came into the match with the height disadvantage and Johnsen took advantage.

Behind a sharp left jab, Johnsen took control of the fight from the very beginning as he jabbed, jabbed, and jabbed a few more.

Pepe Correa, Johnsen’s corner man, kept instructing Johnsen to, “jab, jab and double jab” and Johnsen listened.

As for Hernandez, his only chance was to fight off Johnsen chest and while he occasionally nailed Johnsen with shots, it was Johnsen’s jab that decided this bout. His jab set up the right hand that occasionally acted like a missile that accurately nailed Hernandez’s head.

Going into the last round, Johnsen began the last round as he began the previous four rounds with the jab.

He knew all he had to do was to remain standing and the fight was his.

Sam Soliman, Hernandez’s teammate yelled out, “One minute left” and Hernandez began one last charge as he nailed Johnsen with a left hook that shook the taller fighter.

Johnsen retreated and moved, buying enough time to hold on and win the decision.

Three bouts down and they all had one thing in common; they were matches that featured sluggers against boxers.And so far the boxers won two of these matches.