The most important rule I’ve learned this week is that, when you’re training to be a fighter, it’s absolutely essential to choose the right headgear.
I’ve also learned more about life from these fine, sweaty gentlemen. Like what? Like:
• Uttered in the boxing ring, the phrase ‘touch ‘em up’ means something completely different to what I’m used to in real life.
• Referring to yourself in the third person is awesome, as demonstrated by Daniel. “It was a very close fight for Daniel MacKinnon”, he says. I’m totally adopting that so that I, too, can sound tough, hard, and a bit like I’m updating my own facebook status. “Jo is walking to the corner shop”, I shall say. “Jo is trying to secretly pull her undies out of her arse-crack without anyone noticing”. Magic.
• As Sonni shows us, tense situations can be diffused by singing selected bars from The Lion Sleeps Tonight and strumming your abdominal muscles like a ukulele. A-wimba-way, my man. A-Wimba. Way.
• It’s totally possible for your god to come to you in a dream and tell you he wants you to fight, provided your god is AWESOMELY BUFF like Pradeep’s.
This week’s challenge requires the lads to run to the top tier of ANZ Stadium, search through the cheap seats for cylinders containing puzzle pieces, run back down to the grass and construct a puzzle which contains three ‘motivational words’.
• Josh finds the challenge difficult, because (as he so eloquently puts it): “I’m scared a heights. Keep that in the dark”. Gotcha. You want to keep it a secret. Maybe just tell the cameraman, the sound guy, and everybody watching the show, then. Shhhh. He continues with “I’m shittin’ meself. Gimme five punches in the head to some bloody walk across the bridge any day”. I’m guessing from his diction and silken command of the English language that he’s about eight or nine punches to the head in credit at this point.
• Sonni’s command of English doesn’t seem to be much better. Perhaps in the Congo, the phrase for ‘You’re sitting this one out’ sounds similar to the phrase meaning ‘If you wouldn’t mind, please sprint behind us hooting into a megaphone’. Who can say.
• Junior cracks the secret to the whole challenge when he lets us know that running downhill is easier than running uphill. The motivational word inside his hidden cylinder is “Der”.
The Ladies And Offspring Of The Ring.
• Nader’s wife Amira is well dressed, calm, dignified and articulate. THAT’S NOT HOW YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO WORK IT AS A BOXING WAG, LADY. Still, if it wasn’t for the fact that she’s married to my husband, we could totally hang out.
• Ladies. Take your Boxing Wag lessons from Les’s missus Shauna, whose facial moles I am way too frightened to mention. Let’s see:
Four kids and one on the way? Check.
Boosies-out frock for maximum applause-wiggling? Check.
Animal print enswathing one’s person? Check.
Multiple pieces of dangly gold jewellery? Check.
Screaming out the phrase “C’mon, smash ‘im!”? CHECK AND MATE.
KOs and OKs
• Sonni, listen - the guy who invented the phrase ‘my man’ wants his royalty cheque. You take note too, Garth – every time you impersonate Sonni, the cash register goes ching.
• Charlotte. Lady. You’re wearing a button-down shirt made of... what is that, cotton?! Unless your underwear is woven from the mane of unicorn, the fashion industry is going to be very upset with you.
• I hear Nader is writing a book entitled How To Be Both Awesomely Noble And A Red-Hot Spunk At The Same Time. It’s the sequel to Step Up, Ball Up, Man Up, but with more pictures.
• Pradeep doesn’t so much train as dance, or Shake His Lovely Prady Lumps, as it were. Trainer Mr Beardy (I’m terrible with names, but it’s the one who isn’t The Trainer Who Talks Like He’s Drunk) calls Pradeep a warrior. He’s not a warrior, Mr Beardy. He’s a BOOGIE FIEND. Apparently the guy trains for seventeen hours a day. I can only assume that he spends the other seven shopping for sunglasses.
• Victor performs a ‘Russian Moonwalk’, coincidentally several years after the first American did. Oh, the postmodern irony!
• Oh, you know I’mma talk about Sonni and his photo now. It is a comedy in three acts, and I have bought a season ticket.
- Act One, In Which Sonni Critically Scrutinises The Finer Points Of Contemporary Photography.
“Is it me? Is it me? Serious? Maaaan, I saw myself every day in de mirror. I never know I was pretty like that. You know sayin’? I really pretty, man. It’s perfect, look at that. Perfect body, perfect every-ting. Perfect eyes, you know, to see beautiful girl around. Perfect lips, you know, to kiss. Maaaaan. Let’s try to compare”.
- Act Two, In Which Sonni Holds Up His Muhammad Ali Printed Man-Bag To Compare Two Kinds Of Beauty.
AND DECLARES HIMSELF THE WINNER.
- Act Three, In Which I Totally And Utterly Lose My Goddamn Shit.
“My Man! Jungle! Aaaah, you the man, man! Can’t wait to see you in action”.
I need an ambulance. Seriously. This awesome show hurts me.
This week, Nader and Les put on their dressing gowns, daub on their Vaseline and go head to head. They spend a little bit of time punching, a bit more time dripping in slow motion, and the vast majority of minutes just having a bit of a cuddle. In the end though, it seems that whoever has the studliest chest hair wins. JUST LIKE LIFE.
Nader wins because the universe is as it should be. Except for that whole seeing-Les-naked-in-the-shower thing. Pull your socks up, Universe.
I would like to dedicate this episode of The Contender to whichever member of the crew has been hired to record the grunts. Awesome job, dude.