Fight Night Round 3 is coming out for nearly every gaming platform this year--but the version that has had most fight fans talking has been for the Xbox 360. It's for good reason, too--the game's visuals are simply what next-generation gaming is all about: amazing-looking fighter models, lighting effects that feel at once natural and stunningly complex, and a solid frame rate throughout. But talking about Fight Night Round 3's graphics is simply telling what you already know (besides, the gameplay videos and screenshots speak volumes). Gameplay, on the other hand, is a different story. What is it about Fight Night Round 3 that's so special? What makes it a worthy next-gen follow up to previous games in the series? For the answers, we turned to a person who's been in the trenches of EA Sports' boxing game from the beginning--our created boxer, R.C. Dozier. He's an up-and-comer in the virtual boxing world and, when he's not too punch-drunk from taking stiff shots to the grill, he has agreed to fill us in on the progress of his boxing career, all the way up from amateur status to middleweight champion of the world...that is, if he makes it that far.
R.C., take it away!
Diary of a Contender, Part 1By R.C. "Priceless" Dozier
Undisputed Amateur Champion
Hey, everybody. I'm R.C. Dozier, and believe me, I aim to have a belt around my waist within the next 10 to 15 years. And I don't mean the kind of belt that's there to hold your pants up. No, I'm talking about the kind of belt with some gold on it! Some people may think that my goals are too lofty, my right hook is too weak, and my chin is made of half-melted butter, but they're wrong. At least about the last one. I've taken enough punches to the head to know my butter chin is fully frozen.
Anyway, I'm here to tell you about my career in Fight Night Round 3. Like many of the all-time greats, my fighting career started in the third grade. You see, I've got what the doctor types refer to as "pronounced" ears--they're easy enough to spot in FN3's create-a-boxer mode. They look like two shanks of pale steak attached to each side of my head. Any time some little kid decided to call me a name back in the day, I'd rearrange his jaw for him. Pretty soon, my third grade teacher, Mrs. Purseworth, caught my left jab and told me the words that would forever change my life: "One day, R.C., you'll get knocked out by the best."
So from that day forward I've worked toward becoming a great pugilist in Fight Night Round 3. So far, my career has been an uphill struggle--I've been toiling away in the amateur ranks for a number of months now. I guess that's how all the greats began--Duran, Hagler, de la Hoya--all of them started from humble beginnings. I plan to add my name to that pantheon of greatness. If I'm going to get knocked out, I plan on getting knocked out by the best, just like Mrs. Purseworth said!
As soon as I decided that boxing was my life's career, I gave up my job and started training full-time. Early on, I had to decide what kind of fighter I wanted to be and choose my style. Now, I don't want to weigh you down with too much insider lingo, but one of the most important thing about any boxer is his style or stance. Everyone's got their own particular way of fighting in Fight Night Round 3, and your best bet is to pick a style and really learn its intricacies. Luckily, you've got a number of choices right off the bat. Do you want to be a speedy puncher who likes to throw lethal uppercuts? Or would you prefer to slug it out using a mummy stance? Personally, my style is a bit wild and I rely mostly on my speed. I may not hurt you much if I hit you, but you can be sure my glove is going to find your face. A fighter has to protect himself in the ring, too, and you've got a number of different block styles to choose from right away in Fight Night 3. I went with the "classic" block style, because I like to get as much parrying in as I can. Other fighters go for that cross style that's great for simply blocking punches. It's all a matter of preference--and my preference is to keep my good looks as long as I can.
For my first fight, I had two opponents to choose from: a guy named Maurice "The Butcher" Tillman or some chump named Brevin "Dollar Bill" Daniels. Daniels was 4-0-0 with zero knockouts at the time, and he seemed more like a good fit for me--especially since taking on a guy named "The Butcher" didn't seem like a great way to start off a long career in the fighting biz. If I could beat "Dollar Bill," I thought, it would be just the beginning of the cash money I would see throughout my career.
I was ready for the fight, but it looked like Dollar Bill didn't even want to be there when the announcer called his name. His ring entrance was straight goofball, and I knew that if I stuck to my game plan, I could take this fool down easy. I started off quick, breaking him down with my patented stinging left jabs. Every once in while I tried to nail him with a big haymaker but, to his credit, Dollar Bill had his parrying together. The second time he knocked my hand away and blasted me with a strong right hook, I knew that I'd better stick with my "stick and move" approach if I was going to win the fight.
Heading into the fourth round, I had a couple of knockdowns on Dollar Bill and started getting cocky. But Dollar Bill didn't fold, keeping his defense up the entire bout and even scoring a late knockdown as the bell rang in the fourth and final round. Honestly, it wasn't my body that was hurt from that shot as much as it was my pride. This was Fight Night Round 3, after all. If I was going to make a name for myself, I was going to have to step up my game, big-time.
For my second fight, I knew a few things had to change. The number one priority was to get my training together. If I was going to make it to the upper echelons, I couldn't do it alone. After checking out the list of available trainers, I settled on Jack Stein--a crusty old dude who's got a big mouth and a rep as a guy who turns young fighters on the correct path. Sure, I had my eyes on big-shot trainers like Steve Jones and Mark Poles--guys who could really help my punch power and speed--but I simply couldn't afford them on the measly $100 purses I was winning. Stein may not be much of a trainer, but at least he comes cheap.
With one win in my pocket, I had three fights to choose from the next time out. As much as I didn't want to, I knew that if I didn't beat The Butcher now, I'd probably never beat him. My hand trembling, I signed the contract to take on Maurice Tillman in a four-round bout that would net me another Ben Franklin should I knock him out. I was nervous, but at least I had good old Jack Stein in my corner.
Jack sent me to work the day after the contract was signed. He said that speed in the ring was well and good, but worthless without any power behind it. He put me on a weight lifting routine that felt pretty similar to the system I used back when I fought in Fight Night Round 2. It's all about timing, you see; first the left arm, and then the right arm. Up and down, up and down. You get in a rhythm and the reps just keep coming. Stein may have worked me hard, but I could definitely see the results after we were done. I felt carved out of wood and ready to explode all over The Butcher once we stepped inside the ring.
As it turned out, I really shouldn't have been afraid of The Butcher. As soon as Williams stepped into the ring wearing arctic blue camouflage trunks, I knew he was mine. Memo to boxers everywhere--camouflage trunks do not make you invisible in the ring. I caught The Butcher with enough clean shots to the dome to put him on the defensive for half the fight. At one point, I tried to put myself in his shoes to think about what it would be like to see all these big haymakers coming at my head. It was like his face was inviting my fists over for tea and crumpets, and it wasn't long before my last big shot connected and his face was introduced to the canvas for the fourth and final time.
I was on a roll now. My next fight, I KO'd the guy in the second round! I thought it was time to celebrate a bit, so I headed down to the fight store and started checking out what they had to offer. The Fight Night Round 3 fight store is loaded with good stuff--new trunks, mouth guards, boots--but some the prices are crazy. Come on, $22,000 for a foul protector? I mean, sure it's important to protect your junk, but that's way too much cash for me. The sales guy was really smart, though--he told me that the Everlast gloves I settled on would give me a "5 percent stamina boost" in my fights. How did he know that? Five hundred bucks later, the new blue gloves were mine.
I walked through my next couple of fights, although a guy named "Bam Bam" Diaz took me the distance in a six-round fight that really tested my patience. As the fights have gotten longer in my career, I've really had to lay back and pick my spots, especially with guys who fight my kind of fight--in and out, quick punches, and plenty of side-to-side movement. With my popularity soaring and my account balance getting fatter by the fight, it was finally time to go after my first belt. Some beanpole chump named Ivan "The Assassin" Erickson was the current champ and, even though he didn't look like much, I figured I should scout him first. With a simple press of the button, you can get the whole tale of the tape on your next fight in Fight Night Round 3. The Assassin, it turned out, was your standard slugger, a guy with a balanced style who preferred the classic blocking style. Straight vanilla sucker.
I knew he couldn't stand up to my speed, and boy, was I right. Halfway through the first round, Erickson decides he's outmatched and throws a head-butt at me. Didn't he know we were wearing headgear? Regardless, I sent this guy to a canvas buffet early in the second round and won the amateur belt--my first taste of gold in Fight Night Round 3. As I stood there, soaking up the adulation of the rabid crowd, it came to me--the final piece of my boxing career's puzzle. After all, every great fighter needs a good nickname, right?
Cost of all that training in the gym? Thousands of hours of blood, sweat, and tears. A brand-new pair of Everlast boxing gloves? Five hundred bucks. Winning the amateur championship belt with a second-round knockout? Priceless.
Yeah... That's what they'll call me from now on. Priceless.