Former undisputed heavyweight world titleholder Hasim “The Rock” Rahman said that he will continue to bide his time as the mandatory challenger to newly-crowned WBA “regular” beltholder Alexander Povetkin of Russia, who will make an optional defense against 42-year-old Cedric Boswell of Atlanta, Ga., in Helsinki, Finland, on Dec. 3.
The 32-year-old Povetkin (22-0, 15 KOs) won the vacant belt with a unanimous decision over Ruslan Chagaev (27-2-1, 17 KOs) in August.
Povetkin-Chagav took place in Germany on the undercard of a ninth-round stoppage by the 6-foot-6 Robert Helenius over Sergei Liakhovich.
Povetkin chose Boswell (35-1, 26 KOs) over Rahman (50-7-2, 41 KOs) and 49-year-old Evander Holyfield (44-10-2, 29 KOs), the latter of whom was sitting at ringside for Povetkin-Chagaev and was in negotiations with Povetkin’s camp to make a bout in Zurich, Switzerland.
Rahman shocked the world by dethroning Lennox Lewis as undisputed titleholder by fifth-round knockout 10 years ago, only to lose their rematch by fourth-round stoppage seven months later.
“I’m not sweating it at all. I have a lettter from the WBA saying that Povetkin has to defend the belt against me by Feb. 27,” said Rahman, a Baltimore native who will be honored by the Maryland Boxing Hall of Fame on Nov. 10.
“I’m just going to continue to concentrate on getting my weight down and getting into great shape so that I can knock this man out when my chance and my opportunity comes.”
Rahman is among the last Americans to hold a heavyweight crown.
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 by dethroning Holyfield.
Rahman weighed a career-high 284 pounds for his last fight, a sixth-round knockout of Galen Brown in June. The victory was Rahman’s fifth straight stoppage in as many consecutive victories since being knocked out himself by Wladimir Klitschko in the seventh round of their 2008 encounter.
Rahman also owns a seventh-round knockout over Corrie Sanders, one of the three men who have stoppage victories over Wladimir Klitschko.
“It’s about how serious you take this. It will be all said on the scales. 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,'” 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 firstname.lastname@example.org