In Tuesday’s season finale of “The Contender,” NBC’s boxing reality show, Sergio Mora defeated Peter Manfredo Jr. in seven rounds, winning $1 million. But viewers were treated to a pummeling of their own during the blow-by-blow commentary, as Sylvester Stallone and Sugar Ray Leonard repeatedly called for a sequel.
“I know the fight’s not even over yet,” Mr. Stallone said roughly 15 minutes into the bout, “but I gotta start thinking about a rematch.”
“I think it’s natural, Sly,” Mr. Leonard replied. “Rematch is natural.”
Given the show’s absence from NBC’s recent presentations of its fall lineup, were their calls for a rematch a coded appeal to television executives to give the show a second chance? Mark Burnett, who created “The Contender,” insists they were not.
“It was just natural exuberance from Sly and Ray – the fight was so close,” he said in a telephone interview late last week, adding that he expected to announce another fight this week and that a rematch of the two fighters is a strong possibility. “You’ve got to remember,” he said, “we don’t consider ‘The Contender’ to be in the reality TV business. We’re in the boxing business. Our business plan all along was to continue along with these fighters.”