October 20, 2006 11:37 PM by Christopher Nicholson
Professional boxers, turned reality TV stars, turned back to professional boxers, Jimmy Lange and Anthony Bonsante have much in common. They both built up a national following on the first season of The Contender on NBC. They both were “cast” as the diehard family men that they are in real life. They both were brought back for lucrative fan-favorite bouts. And they both soon found out, after the season wrapped, that reality can be much more brutal than reality TV. Lange went on to suffer a third-round TKO in front of a hometown crowd in his rematch against Contender rival Joey Gilbert last February, and Bonsante suffered a similar fate against Allan Green on ESPN in July.
Photo: Renowned boxing trainer and mentor Tommy Gallagher (left) joins boxing legend Angelo Dundee at the post-fight press conference in Fairfax, Va., following dual wins by The Contender Season I alumni Jimmy Lange and Anthony Bonsante. (Photo by Christopher P. Nicholson)
But the “Back With A Vengeance” name given to the fight card at the George Mason University Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., proved prophetic for both men. Lange brought some Hollywood with him when he made his way to the ring for the main event, trailed by an entourage that included the familiar Contender faces of “First Lady of Boxing” Jackie Kallen, and corner/cut man Tommy Gallagher. But the most recognizable face to boxing fans was that of Lange’s chief second, Angelo Dundee. A boxing legend in his own right, Dundee made a name for himself by joining the teams of great boxers whose careers were in a slump, and then training them back to championship conditionÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬Ã¢Â¢Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Evander Holyfield, and Contender host “Sugar” Ray Leonard, to name a few.
“Having Mr. Dundee in my corner was the experience of a lifetime,” said Lange. “I’d like another chance to work with him, when I’m no longer in awe just by being in his presence.”
Dundee was equally complimentary of his newest protÃƒgÃƒ. “In my profession we’re a little low on role models right now, and we need guys like Jimmy. He’s championship material and he turns the crowd on.”
Unlike with many fighters coming back from a loss, Lange’s father/manager Johnny Lange didn’t want an easy match-up for Jimmy. The elder Lange got his wish with Tommy Wilt, an Altoona, Pa., fighter who set a state record with six amateur titles, and then racked up an impressive 20-5 record as a pro. But it’s unlikely that Johnny Lange foresaw exactly how uneasy an opponent Wilt would end up, as the fight went nearly the entire 10-round distance. While Wilt doled out plenty of punishment, as evidenced by Lange’s two black eyes at the post-fight press conference, Lange showed off a greatly improved jab and an agility in escaping from the ropes, which eluded him in the Joey Gilbert fights. With only fifteen seconds to go in the 10th and final round, Lange scored a TKO.
Anthony “The Bullet” Bonsante had a slightly easier time against Larry “The Gladiator” Brothers. As any student of world history knows, the beginning of the age of the bullet was the end of the age of the gladiator, and history repeated itself. After putting up a spirited defense for three rounds, Bonsante’s body blows began to take their toll on Brothers in the fourth round. When Brothers dropped his hands to cover his body, Bonsante seized the opening and scored a knockout blow straight to the head.
Promoter Joe Hensley has tentatively booked the Patriot Center for another fight card on Saturday, December 9th, and has expressed optimism that both Lange and Bonsante will be back. If this comes to pass, it will actually be Bonsante’s third visit, as he was in Jimmy’s posse during his ill-fated rematch against Gilbert. Not surprisingly, a head-to-head match-up against Gilbert is something that Bonsante would relish. “Joey Gilbert is not a good fighter, and you can quote me on that” said Bonsante to Reality TV Magazine, well-aware of the call-out nature of his comment. “He’s a big fighter and he overpowered Jimmy [in February]. But he has no skill and I’d love to take him on,if he wants to fight somebody his own size.”
The “Back With a Vengeance” fight card was promoted by Major League Boxing, and publicized by BrotmanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬WinterÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬Fried Communications.
Written by Christopher P. Nicholson – Christopher P. Nicholson is a full-time independent writer based in Sterling, Va. In addition to recently finishing his first screenplay, he has written four stage plays, three of which have won awards and been produced in New York City and in the Washington, D.C. area. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.