Lem Satterfield

Rahman bides his time for last shot at heavyweight belt

Former heavyweight beltholder Hasim “The Rock” Rahman says that he will win his next on the scales.

“It’s about how serious you take this. It will be all said on the scales,” said the 38-year-old Rahman, who weighed a career-high 284 pounds for his last fight, a sixth-round knockout of Galen Brown in June.

“When I come in there to win the title at 235 pounds, 236, 237 or 238, you’ve got a fighter. Now, you’ve got ‘The Rock.’”

Rahman (50-7-2, 41 KOs), who shocked the world by dethroning Lennox Lewis as undisputed titleholder by fifth-round knockout 10 years ago, has knocked out his past five opponents since being stopped himself by  Wladimir Klitschko in the seventh round of their 2008 encounter.

Rahman said that he had little time to prepare for Klitschko.

“I only received 38 days of notice for that fight against Wladimir Klitschko. That’s not enough time to get prepared to be a world champion,” said Rahman.

“Right now, I’m away at pre-camp before I start to really get into serious training. I’m doing everything that I need to do. I’m eating right, I’m training hard.”

Rahman is rated No. 1 by the WBA ahead of former titleholder David Haye (25-2, 23 KOs) and Robert Helenius (16-0, 11 KOs).

Klitschko (56-3, 49 KOs) is considered the organization’s “super champion,” and Alexander Povetkin (22-0, 15 KOs), it’s “regular” champion.

Rahman is next in line to face Povetkin, and defends the “regular” belt as a legitimate crown.

“I think that this is the best thing that they can be doing with the WBA title. There’s no way possible that a champion can be undisputed and make all of his mandatory defenses,” said Rahman.

“We’ve seen Lennox Lewis give up titles because of that type of thing. This keeps Wladimir from getting stripped, so I still consider Povetkin to be a legitimate champion.”

Rahman is among the last Americans to hold a heavyweight belt.

No U.S.-born fighter has held a title since 2007, when Shannon Briggs briefly wore the WBO’s strap. In 2006, Rahman wore the WBC belt while the IBF title was held by Chris Byrd. Puerto Rican-American John Ruiz was the first Latino to have a belt when he became the WBA champ in 2005.

Klitschko’s 40-year-old brother Vitali Klitschko (43-2, 40 KOs) wears the WBC belt, and has an 11-fight winning streak that includes nine knockouts.

Wladimir Klitschko is slated for a defense opposite 39-year-old former cruiserweight titleholder Jean Marc Mormeck (36-4, 22 KOs) on Dec. 10.

Mormeck has won three straight heavyweight bouts since being dethroned as WBA and WBC cruiserweight beltholder in November of 2007 by Haye, whose 15-bout winning streak, including 13 knockouts, was ended by Wladimir Klitschko by unanimous decision in July.

It also appears that the 32-year-old Povetkin will face 48-year-old four-time titleholder Evander Holyfield (44-10-2, 29 KOs) on Dec. 17 in Zurich, Switzerland.

Povetkin is coming off of a unanimous decision victory over Ruslan Chagaev (27-2-1, 17 KOs) that was on the undercard of a ninth-round stoppage by the 6-foot-6 Helenius over Sergei Liakhovich (25-4, 16 KOs) in August.

The win was the 10th in the past 11 fights for Helenius.

Holyfield, who turns 49 on Oct. 18, once defeated Rahman by eighth-round, split-decision in June of 2002, resulting from a large, softball-sized hematoma over the left eye of Rahman that forced the fight’s early ending after an accidental clash of heads.

Rahman knocked out Lewis in the fifth round to become WBC and IBF beltholder in April of 2001, only to lose that crown by in their rematch seven months later by fourth-round stoppage.

Rahman owns a seventh-round knockout over Corrie Sanders that was accomplished in May of 2000 over one of the three men who have stoppage victories over Wladimir Klitschko.

Sanders stopped Klitschko in the second round in March of 2003, Ross Puritty knocked out Klitschko in the 11th round in December of 1998, and Lamon Brewster knocked out Klitschko in the fifth round in April of 2004, the last time Klitschko suffered defeat.

“I don’t have a date yet, but that’s my next fight. I’m the WBA’s No. 1 contender and the mandatory. I’m going to let my promoter, GCP [Greg Cohen Promotions] handle it, but that’s what I’m waiting for,” said Rahman.

“I’m going to have my weight down and I’m going to be in shape. This is it. This is everything. I feel like this is my last shot. But I’m ready. I’m ready to win the title for the third time.”

 

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com

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