Team Rabah Present N'dou with Juicy Rematch Option

08.03.07 - By Harry Summers Jnr.: One wouldn’t have blamed transplanted Australian (Tunisian born) "Chocolata" Naoufel Ben Rabah if he stepped away from the fight game after a career-reducing battle with fellow transplanted countryman Lovemore "Black Panther" N’dou. On February 4 the two top-tier 140lbers waged war in a grudge match that even with its considerable build-up exceeded all expectations (it's a shoo-in for Australian fight of the year), with the 45-8-1 (30 KOs) veteran N'dou winning a true battle of attrition via stoppage in the 11th round. The fight was initially billed as an IBF eliminator, but with ex-champion Ricky Hatton opting not to fulfill his mandatory obligations next up, N'dou was upgraded to titleholder..

It was the second consecutive disappointment for the smooth-boxing Rabah (24-3, 13 KOs), who boxes out of the Craig Christian-headed Harry's Gym in Western Australia. Previous to the N'dou showdown, Rabah had emphatically outboxed and outlanded hard-nosed Colombian Juan Urango in a clash for the vacant IBF 140lb title (ESPN's Teddy Atlas had Rabah ahead 117-111), yet the judges scored the fight unanimously for Urango. There was a robbery of monstrous proportions in Hollywood, Florida's Seminole Hard Rock Arena that night.

But the 29-year-old Rabah keeps fighting on. He's considered walking away following both these recent setbacks, but thereafter realized there's still that fire within him. That desire to step inside that chamber of truth and someday hold aloft a world title; the one he rightfully should've attained and had opportunity to flaunt to family and friends last June.

Rabah is a competitor. He doesn't particular want tune-ups at this stage. He's screaming for another shot at N'dou. His conqueror. He acknowledges N'dou was the better man in February, but is confident he'll equalize if and when they face off again. Many Australian fight enthusiasts would salivate at the thought of a rematch between these two African-born warriors.

The 2000 Olympian's management team put out a "substantial" offer to the Black Panther earlier this week for a June 3 rematch. In Australia. Site to be determined, but likely in Sydney. It would present N'dou with a career-high payday, and reportedly top the purses recently offered to him by American promoters.

The ball is now in N’dou's court. Team Rabah respects his decision, whatever it is.

Article posted on 08.03.2007

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