The undercard of "The Contender" finale on Tuesday at Staples Center provided a varied display of raw determination from fighters who sought to make one more statement in front of a national television and cyberspace audience.
In the third-place bout televised on ESPN.com, Cornelius "K9" Bundrage proved too powerful for Norberto Bravo in the bronze-medal matchup, scoring a seventh-round stoppage.
Bundrage (24-2, 14 KOs) broke through late in the second round with a furious flurry that brought Bravo to his knees just before the bell sounded. Bravo (22-12-3) was able to recover and tie up Bundrage, not allowing him to extend his power. But Bundrage steadily widened his margin on the scorecards with rights that rocked Bravo consistently.
In the sixth, Bundrage suffered a point deduction for wrestling Bravo to the canvas. That seemed to motivate Bundrage to fight harder, rocking Bravo with additional rights to make sure he would not lose the round.
Then, in the seventh, Bundrage dominated Bravo with combinations before the bout was stopped at 2:22.
In the first of two undercard bouts shown on ESPN.com, Walter Wright (12-2) of Seattle scored a TKO against Vinroy Barrett (21-6) after Barrett's corner stopped the bout at the end of the fourth round.
Barrett started strong in the first two rounds but a Wright right hand hit Barrett's shoulder in the third, forcing the Jamaica native to switch to a southpaw stance. Wright, sensing a weakened opponent, capitalized at the start of the fourth, successfully landing his left jab. Wright became more dominant as the round progressed. The fight was stopped after it became clear Wright could no longer continue at full strength.
Next up was Philadelphia's Aaron Torres, who gave Freddy Curiel a run for his money, but came up short.
Curiel (15-6-2), of Vernon, N.J., scored a unanimous decision (57-56 on all three scorecards) in a bout where some rounds could have gone either way. Torres, who accepted fighting Curiel on short notice, recovered after a slow opening round to challenge the charismatic Curiel.
An accidental head butt opened cuts on both fighters in the secon round, but as the bout progressed, Torres appeared to get the better of Curiel after landing just four punches in the opening round. Curiel stood his ground, though, and went the six-round distance for the victory.
"The Contender" finale card got started with Nick Acevedo of New York improving to 17-2 after a unanimous decision over Nurhan Suleymanoglu (16-4) of Turkey.