The Big Knockout Boxing ring is a small, low-slung circle with no ropes.

The fighters who step into "the Pit" are expected to trade flurries of big punches in two-minute rounds until one is flat on his back.

Middleweight Bryan Vera thought the concept was a bit strange, but the DirecTV-backed promoters offered him enough money to try it Saturday night in Las Vegas.

When his trainers taped out the dimensions of the 17-foot diameter circle in his home gym, the old-school brawler realized he might excel at this new variation on an old sport.

Flaunting its violence and essentially promising big finishes, Big Knockout Boxing attempts to punch its way into a crowded combat sports marketplace at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.