Boxing


Does Rahman Deserve the WBC Title?

17.11.05 - By Joe Harrison: As most of us know by now, Vitali Klitschko retired from boxing last week. He hadn’t fought in almost a year due to injuries, and it was after his most recent injury that he chose to retire while still being on top. Therefore, Hasim Rahman was given the WBC heavyweight championship and will most likely make his first defense of the title during the early part of 2006.

It was understood why the WBC board voted for Rahman (41-5-1, 33 KO’s) to become the new WBC champion. After all, he did earn the WBC interim title by getting a unanimous decision over Monte Barrett in their fight last August. Being the interim champion, Rahman was guaranteed that he would get the WBC title if Klitschko dropped out of their fight. So it made sense for the WBC to make Rahman the undisputed WBC heavyweight champion.

If it really made sense, then why do we still get that weird feeling in our stomach? Is it because we never actually saw Rahman defeat Klitschko? Maybe it’s because Rahman’s win over Barrett was one of the most boring fights over the year? Or maybe it’s because we haven’t seen Rahman defeat a top contender since his amazing upset over Lennox Lewis five years ago? Overall, it’s probably because Rahman worked his way up to the title status by defeating a bunch of boxers who were never a true threat in the heavyweight division. Getting wins over names such as Alfred Cole, Mario Cawley, and Terrence Lewis doesn’t exactly send shivers up our spines.

Since defeating Lewis, Rahman has lost every big fight he’s encountered. The last time Evander Holyfield tasted a victory was against Rahman in June of ‘02. When Rahman scored a draw with David Tua, this somehow propelled him into a title shot against John Ruiz. Rahman lost to Ruiz by decision, a man who Tua easily knocked out during the first round in March of ‘96. Rahman and Ruiz also provided the most boring fight of 2003.

So who was it that Rahman did defeat to become the number one contender in the WBC this year? Well, first there was Kali Meehan last November. Meehan gained some respect from going the distance with WBO champion, Lamon Brewster, who was coming off an upset victory over Wladimir Klitschko. Some believed that Meehan defeated Brewster. However, Brewster confessed that it was difficult to perform well over a friend of his in Meehan. So perhaps Meehan got too much credit. After all, he only earned his shot at Brewster’s WBO title from defeating Damon Reed by a sixth round technical knockout. Before that, Meehan only had a pair of knockout wins over Australian Colin Wilson, but also suffered a first round technical knockout loss to Danny Williams. Since Williams took out Meehan so quickly and easily, maybe Williams deserved a shot at Rahman.

Of course, it was the win over the WBC number two contender, Monte Barrett, which sealed the deal for Rahman to become the interim champion. Barrett was coming off a pair of wins over two undefeated prospects, Dominick Guinn and Owen Beck. Since those losses, Guinn and Beck haven't made any progress in their careers. Meanwhile, all Barrett had to do was get past Rahman to have a shot at Vitali Klitschko. Does that make sense? Barrett’s the same man who was destroyed by Vitali’s brother, Wladimir, back in July of ‘00. Evidently, Barrett wasn’t truly a top contender either.

So is Hasim Rahman deserving of the WBC heavyweight championship? Some may not think so, but when you look at the state of the heavyweight division today, nobody seems to deserve their title. The IBF champion, Chris Byrd, provides boring fights and controversial decisions. There’s also the WBA champion, John Ruiz, who is just as boring as Byrd, and has lost his title twice just to get it handed back to him. Then there’s the WBO champion, Lamon Brewster, who wins by finding ways to slip in those power punches after losing multiple rounds. Sounds more like luck than skill.

In the end, we have a bunch of lucky champions taunting us. But we’ll continue to watch their fights, hoping that they either lose, or prove us wrong by revealing their hidden talents. Realistically, we’d prefer to see boxers like Calvin Brock, Samuel Peter, or maybe even Wladimir Klitschko come out on top. We may even settle for James Toney or Audley Harrison. But if these contenders lose to any of the champions, we still won’t lose hope. It’s only a matter of time before the titles change hands. But for all we know, Rahman could defend his title successfully, finally proving that he is a worthy champion.

Article posted on 17.11.2005



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