In what some are calling “The Fight of the Year,” former United States Olympic Education Center (USOEC) boxer and NMU student Jaidon Codrington, fell to Sakio Bika in the eighth round of the season finale of ESPN’s “The Contender”.
“The Contender” which airs Tuesday nights, featured 16 boxers who competed in a single elimination tournament to become the contender champion and a win a purse of $750,000. The final showcase was Codrington vs. Bika, a former Olympic athlete from Cameroon.
“It’s going to be fight of the year, mark my word,” said Northern USEOC boxing coach Al Mitchell. “It’s the best bout I’ve seen on TV in a couple years.”
The first round of the fight was a toe-to-toe battle with both contestants scoring a knock down in the opening minutes.
“That first round is one of the best rounds I ever saw and I’ve been around a long time,” Mitchell said. “I will get the tape and watch it over and over.”
The fight continued in the second round when Bika hurt Codrington with a barrage of punches. In the fourth round it was another even square off as both fighters punched back and fourth.
“(Codrington) is younger but [Bika’s] strength really showed in his form during the later rounds,” Mitchell said.
In the eighth round Codrington was using more of emotion then his technique, Mitchell said. Bika hit him so powerfully that he knocked Codrington to the ropes and the matched was called before Codrington could fall.
“At that level, Jaidon was the younger athlete, but that was a man he was boxing,” Mitchell said.
After the bout the show’s host Sugar Ray Leonard said, so much heart and so much determination was displayed tonight that he was truly amazed. Both Jaidon and Sakio showed what real fighters, real warriors and real contenders are.
Codrington trained at Northern from 1999-2004. While training with the USOEC he won the Golden Gloves Amateur boxing title in 2002. Codrington is 23 and originally from Bridgeport Conn. and turned professional in 2004. He has an overall record of 18-1 and is known for fighting with his toughness.
“[In the fight] you knew somebody was going to get knocked out. You just didn’t know who,” Mitchell said. “[Codrington] fought more with his heart and not with his brain and that was what hurt him.”