After stopping veteran fighter Lawrence Tauasa with a deadly right hook in just the second round, Troy Ross brings home an impressive TKO victory, keeping control of the Power of Choice and winning the fourth consecutive fight for the Gold Team.
Back at the loft, Mike Alexander and Ryan Coyne return to their room with broken spirits. “That fight took a little bit out of me,” says Mike. “It took the wind out of all of our sails,” replies Ryan. In private, Ryan goes on to point out that he and Mike are the last remaining fighters still to fight on the Blue Team. With the next fight being a double-header, Ryan vows that whoever he gets picked by on the Gold Team—whether it’s Rico Hoye or Tim Flamos—he’s going to “turn this ship around.”
With his first fight in the tournament just a day away, Tim calls home to his son, Steven. Tim, a blue-collared father of two, admits that, at 41, he feels “he’s getting up there in age”, and every so often thinks it may be time to finally hang up his gloves. All too familiar with his dad’s self-doubts, Steven recites a quote: “Age is no barrier,” he reads. “It’s a limitation you put on your mind.”
The next morning, Gold Team Trainer Tommy Brooks jokingly gloats to Blue Team Trainer John Bray. “4 to 2,” he brags with a grin. “I remember when I was up 2,” says John. “That was way back when,” laughs Tommy. “Hey listen,” says Tommy, steadily shifting to an earnest tone, “you know how it’s won. It’s not on you. It’s on the fighters. If they listen, we’re all right. If not, that’s the way it goes.” In private, John reveals that as a former fighter, he blew every opportunity that came his way and so never realized his own full potential. “That’s why I push so hard for these guys,” he says. “I want them to perform to the highest.”
Later, Tommy sits down with Troy to discuss whom he’ll fight in the next round “What about Felix?” suggests Tommy. With Troy still undecided, Tommy explains in private why other fighters have been avoiding Felix. “He’s coming at you like a runaway train,” he states. “And nobody wants that kind of heat on him.”
Troy later arrives at the moment of truth when he is faced with making his decision in front of everyone at Bracketology. Does he choose to fight last against an opponent yet to be determined or go head-to-head against the formidable Felix Cora Jr.? Having given it much thought, Troy steps up to the plate and puts his name on the board to fight against Felix, thereby, cementing their matchup as the first fight of the second round.
At call out, with only two fighters left to fight on both teams and the Power of Choice in the hands of the Gold Team, Rico steps forward first and challenges Mike, leaving Tim, the oldest fighter in the tournament, to toe the line with Ryan, the youngest.
For the first fight of the night, Rico and Mike step into the ring. In rounds 1 and 2, Mike takes control as he uses his jabs to keep Rico at bay. In round 3, Rico comes out of the corner strong and puts the pressure on Mike, working his jab and throwing hooks and combos to wear Mike down. Rico continues with the pressure in round 4, which pays off at the end of the round when Mike starts showing signs of fatigue. By the close of round 5, Mike’s exhaustion gets the best of him as the weight of his weary hands make it difficult for him to keep up.
In the end, the decision is unanimous, and Rico is announced the winner.
After the fight, Mike graciously admits that he “lost to a better fighter.” But, despite his disappointment, Mike speaks optimistically, saying that a good fighter keeps on going and that the loss won’t stop him from moving forward with his dreams. “It’s not the end of the world,” says Mike as he comes to grips with his loss. “This isn’t the last you’ll see of Mike Alexander.”
In the next fight of the night, Tim and Ryan face-off. Ryan shows his youth and eagerness from the start, maneuvering about the ring with speed but leaving himself open to shots on the inside. In round 2, Ryan, while waiting to strike, gets caught with a head butt to his right eye that causes a new cut to open. Ryan perseveres in rounds 3 and 4 with straight rights as Tim battles back with shots to the body. In the fifth round, Tim emerges from his corner with guns blazing. With one last round to prove himself, Tim engages the crowd in a Rocky-like moment of glory. As he barrages Ryan with a hurricane of punches, the crowd chants, “Tim! Tim! Tim! Tim!,” And with just moments left in the round, Tim’s impassioned performance leaves the crowd in a roar.
Coming down from their excitement, the crowd falls silent as the judges’ scorecards are announced. The first judge scored the bout 49 – 46: Ryan. The second judge scored the bout 48 – 47: Tim. And the third judge scored the bout 48 – 47: Ryan.
Showing their support and still feeling proud of his performance, the Gold Team holds Tim up in the air and rallies the crowd. As Tim exits the ring and makes his way back to his locker room, the chants of fans cheering, “We love Tim! We love Tim!” echo through the hall.
As the loss sinks in, Tim expresses his disappointment. “You always feel like maybe you could have done more,” he says. “Or, you let someone down.”
Tony Danza pays Tim a visit and assures him that he let no one down. Himself in admiration of Tony, Tim admits, “You were one of my heroes growing up, you know.” Touched by this, Tony replies, “Well, now you’re my hero.”
Taking strength from his performance, Tim comes to realize just how much he accomplished. Smiling, he says, “It’s a good feeling knowing you can compete with a guy 15 years younger than you. I think my son gave me some good advice.”
8 fighters remain. Who will be the next Contender?