Exclusive: Catching Up With “The Contender” Star
Leaving the dark winters of Detroit behind him, Stevie Forbes can now call sunny Los Angeles his home.
Best known for Season 2 of “The Contender,” the former IBF and USBA champ is now training at the legendary Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, after moving to the West Coast on March 1.
I caught up with Stevie, who goes by the ring name of “2Pound” (for his birth weight), at last night’s brand new fight promotion “League of Champions,” a live boxing show promoted by George Karambelas and Simon Herrera that was held at the Los Angeles Theatre Center in downtown L.A.
And the fight veteran (35-10, 11 KOs) already has two fights on the horizon. Listed on BoxRec is a future bout versus Ali Funeka for the World Boxing Federation Light Welterweight title. “Are you fighting April 24?” I ask.
“It got pushed to June but I’m gonna fight April 12th here in Southern California,” he replies, happy to be fighting in his new hometown. He previously lived in Detroit and Las Vegas before becoming an official resident of California just a week ago.
And now SoCal fight fans will get a chance to welcome the fighter to L.A. as he plans on campaigning at 140 for his future fights around town.
And in the land of the Lakers and Clippers, Dodgers and Angels, Beverly Hills and beaches, Forbes is fitting right in, immediately receiving new exciting offers. Even Tinsel Town has beckoned. That’s right, folks, he’s already fielding calls from directors and showbiz types contacting him for acting parts and wanting to meet with him. It’s not that much of a stretch considering the pug got used to the cameras during his “Contender” stint, which was filmed in California. Can you say: “I Love L.A.!”
But the bright lights of the soundstage will have to be shared with the spotlight in the boxing ring as Forbes continues his career as a prizefighter. Born weighing just two pounds, the 35-year-old is used to fighting. His last bout was in June against Karim Mayfield but SoCal fight fans will remember Stevie from his 2008 bout with Oscar De La Hoya at the Home Depot Center. Besides squaring off against the “Golden Boy,” the boxer has also faced the likes of Andre Berto, Carlos “Famoso” Hernandez, Demetrius Hopkins, Grady Brewer, Cornelius Bundrage, Francisco Bojado, Steve Quinonez, among others.
Now he’s claiming stake in Los Angeles; and he really fits right in within the local fight scene as well. Stevie says he loves the West Coast and can’t wait to get back in the ring. Before the fights began, a “League of Champions” athlete came over to meet Forbes, who was with a couple of friends including Carlton McGrue, who’s also a boxing trainer in Ventura County. New pro fighter Peter Haro will be making his debut on next month’s card and came over to visit with the group. The young welterweight enjoyed meeting Forbes, who reminisced about his early “Contender” days.
The Theatre Center venue where Thursday’s fights took place reminded him of the set-up where the reality-TV show was filmed. “This is a great building,” I tell the guys. “It’s got that old-school feel to it.” The intimate setting features dramatic steep-tiered rows with good views from every seat, sharp acoustics and a classy, old-fashioned ambiance within the stately theater.
“This really does remind me of where we filmed ‘The Contender’!” Stevie comments, looking around the cavernous seating area. “Before the finale, this is the same type of place we fought in. I love this.”
We continued to talk boxing until the lights dimmed and the fights began.
Looking to make his mark and now back on the West Coast, look for Forbes to be back in the ring soon.
“Welcome to L.A., Stevie!” I tell the newest resident of La La Land.
“Thanks, Michele, for getting the word out that I’m here,” the likable boxer says. “I appreciate it!”
Word has already spread that there’s another “new” face joining the ranks in the SoCal boxing circles.
Wanting to prove he’s still a viable contender to be reckoned with, the ex-champ says he’s here to stay.
Only a week in L.A. and already getting calls for films and fights, looks like there’s a new sheriff in town.
Photos by Michele Chong