Hasim Rahman must rise above his record

23.03.05 - By Jeff Steward: In a night that has to be one of the greatest of his life Hasim Rahman, in stunning fashion knocked out Lennox Lewis and captured the glorious title of world heavyweight champion. It was stunning in part because few expected it. But, though most expected Lewis to handle Rahman there were those who had voiced concerns about Lennox Lewis's commitment and preparedness for the fight and following the big KO wrote it off as a lucky punch.. Lewis punctuated this view with a comeback dusting of Rahman six months later. Now Rahman has a shot at the current champion Vitali Klitschko and the story is much the same.

Most expect Klitschko to handle Rahman without any major trouble. So why is the man who knocked out one champion given so little credit as he faces another? The answer is in his record and the devil, as they say, is in the details.

A look that concentrates on the six fights that each of Rahman's opponents had leading up to their clash with the Rock reveals a clear picture. Of Rahman's 46 fights, only 17 of his opponents had better than an even win-loss-draw record in their 6 fights leading up to Rahman. Of the opponents with a winning record in their previous 6, Rahman lost to 4 of them.

In his last title shot Rahman lost a unanimous decision to John Ruiz and his comeback trail is littered with confidence builders and record padders. Their combined previous 6 yields an unimpressive 13-14-3. One of his comeback opponents has 1 win in the last 7 years. Of all his opponents 15% were 37 years of age or older and he lost to one of those. And who can
forget his loss to Oleg Maskaev where he was knocked through the ropes or that bizarre lump on his head against Evander Holyfield?

So what chance does Hasim Rahman have against Vitali Klitschko? The same chance he had in South Africa against Lennox Lewis. Rahman has to rise above his record, come in completely prepared and be totally focused. If he executes at the absolute top of his game the entire night he might be able to land the shot that makes the big men in the heavyweight division the most
watched and best paid members of the pugilist community. Oh, and it wouldn't hurt if Klitschko finds some distractions along the way and takes his training lightly.

Article posted on 23.03.2005

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