Boxing


Rahman/Maskaev II: Expert Predictions

01.08.06 - Las Vegas, NV – America’s only current world heavyweight champion, Baltimore-born Hasim Rahman, will defend his world title for pride, honor and country when he takes on hard-punching No. 1-rated contender and mandatory challenger Oleg Maskaev of Kazakhstan, at the Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, on Saturday, August 12. Promoted by Top Rank in association with Dennis Rappaport Productions, Caesars Palace and Wynn Las Vegas., Rahman-Maskaev II will be broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View..

Rahman is the last remaining American to hold a world heavyweight title in a division dominated by natives of the former Soviet Union. Can The Rock hold America’s last line of defense or will Maskaev complete the sweep, leaving the heavyweight division without an American world champion for the first time since 1999 when Lennox Lewis and Vitali Klitschko reigned as WBC/WBA/IBF and WBO champions, respectively? Read what the “experts” had to say:


“No more flukes. I can't see Rahman losing this one and repeating the mistake he made in the first fight against Maskaev in 1999. Rahman wins this rematch and he wins it big.” Carlos Arias, Orange County Register

“Hasim Rahman will be too strong and too fast for Oleg Maskaev. Rahman by KO.” David Avila, Riverside Press-Enterprise

“Maskaev TKO 11 - In theory Rahman should win this fairly easily and he may well do that. He is the superior boxer and probably the bigger puncher. Maskaev's chin is also suspect and this could be a blow out in the other direction. But, and with Rahman there's always a but, Rock has never fought well when he felt pressured or when he felt his opponent might be as good as he is. That could easily be the case with Maskaev, who knocked him out of the ring in 1999 when last they met. Therefore, I'll go with the upset special here.” Ron Borges, Boston Globe 

“Rahman should win by knockout this time over Maskaev in the later rounds.Rahman is a better fighter, he has the experience, the power and determination to prevail and remain the American heavyweight champion of the world.” Oscar Borras, 20 de Mayo

“Rahman to win. But don’t hold your breath or the back page.” Freddie Burcombe, News of the World (UK)

“Provided Rahman doesn't underestimate Maskaev like he did seven years ago - which he might, given Maskaev's subsequent three devastating KO defeats - he should win this fight with a conclusive knockout around about the seventh round. The battle of jabs will be hard-fought though, and Rahman's power punches will need to be thrown with precise economy.” Dominic Calder-Smith, UK Boxing News

“I like Rahman by decision...” Tim Dahlberg, Associated Press

The obvious pick is Rahman, but I can't remember the last time he looked good in a fight. You might say the same thing about Maskaev, but I've got a hunch that if Maskaev can get past the fifth round, and I think he will, he'll wear Rahman down and either stop him late again or win a close decision.” Bill Dettloff, The Ring

“Rahman, unanimous decision.” George Diaz, Orlando Sentinel

“Take the odds while they're hot (Rock a mere 2-1 favorite!). Rock took Maskaev very lightly six years ago, and was still pitching a shutout before getting clipped. The only thing that has improved regarding Maskaev since then is his management and their matchmaking. Rock remains hit or miss in terms of maintaining focus, but avenging a KO loss that never should've been is all the motivation he needs for this one. Rahman by TKO 6.” Jake Donovan, Fighbeat.com

“I think Rahman learned his lesson the last time. There is nothing like being knocked out and waking up in Jim Lampley's lap to motivate a fighter to never again have that happen to him.” Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times

"Rahman is a faded version of the average heavyweight he was five years ago but, if he’s trained as hard for this as he did for his bout with James Toney, he should be able to win this one late or on points.” Ant Evans, Boxing Monthly/SecondsOut.com 

“Rematches often are replays of the originals, but I can't see Maskaev knocking Rahman out (of the ring) twice. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since Rahman took a wrong tack and went sailing in Atlantic City. The USA prevents a total lowering of the Iron Curtain in the heavyweight division. Rahman by stoppage in seven rounds.” Bernard Fernandez, Daily News (Philadelphia)

“Rahman by mid-rounds KO. (The Rock has finally matured inside and outside of the ring.)” Dougie Fischer, MaxBoxing.com

“In a rematch, I usually give the edge to the guy who won the first fight. It's a mental thing. But Maskaev beat Rahman almost seven years ago, and Rahman has come a long way since then. Maskaev, meanwhile, has since lost to guys like Lance Whitaker and Kirk Johnson. Rahman's recent draw with James Toney proves he can be pretty tough when he wants to be. If Rahman comes in with his head on straight, I seem him retaining his title. Rahman by decision.” Rick Folstad, TheSweetScience.com

“Hasim Rahman in a mid-round stoppage. By now, the word is out. The Russians have arrived. Rahman has been forewarned. He’ll be prepared. If he isn’t, he’ll be embarrassed.” Norm Frauenheim, Arizona Republic

“I believe that Oleg Maskaev is going to win by stoppage in the late rounds. Maskaev defeated Hasin Rahman by kayo in his first meeting, and knows how to fight the actual champion. However, Maskaev is older than Rahman, but is hungrier, still dangerous and has not lost in his last ten fights.” Ramiro González, La Opinión

“I have observed Hasim Rahman training in Las Vegas and he has found a renewed determination and dedication for boxing. He has trained harder then I have ever seen. He looks to be in the best shape that he has ever been in. With these factors I believe that Rahman will exact his revenge on Maskaev and win by late KO.” Butch Gottlieb, BoxinginLasVegas.com 

“Rahman has a class edge -- if that isn't a strange word to use with him -- because he has faced far better competition and held his own. Every top flight fighter Maskaev has gone up against has beat him. Recently, he has been in with club fighters.Edge to Rahman on experience, his KO loss to Maskaev notwithstanding. This is Rahman's last chance to prove he is not a one-punch, one fight wonder. Rahman by unanimous decision.” Nat Gottlieb, TigerBoxing.com 

“Hasim Rahman is younger, much more accomplished, has been fighting elite competition and is motivated to avenge a bad loss on his record. Oleg Maskaev has been climbing up the WBC rankings by beating second- and third-tier opponents and through attrition. Rahman should dominate and stop Maskaev around the ninth round.” Tim Graham, Buffalo News

“Everyone remembers the huge knockout that left Rahman sprawling on the floor, but at the time of the KO, Rahman was dominating on all 3 scorecards. Rahman is the better boxer and has been in with much stiffer competition recently. Barring another bomb, I see Rahman out-boxing Maskaev in the early rounds... then taking him out in the latter rounds. Rahman 8th round knockout. David Hall, KVVU-TV (Las Vegas)

“An intriguing matchup, as both men have matured considerably since their first meeting. Rahman figures to be highly motivated and in top form physically. He'll get his revenge with a ninth-round TKO.” Jeff Haney, Las Vegas Sun

“With three Europeans holding versions of the world title, Rahman is fighting for US pride as well as his own. Rahman getting KO'd by Maskaev seven years ago can't be ignored but I expect him to get his revenge with at least a convincing points decision.” Colin Hart, The Sun (London)

“Rahman confidence level soaring. Wins by decision.” Dan Hirshberg, The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ)

“I'm going with Rahman, stopping Maskaev in eight. Besides motivation from his embarrassing showing the last time vs. Maskaev, Rahman has been serious and more workmanlike in his recent fights. He should prevail unless he slips back into old bad habits.” Mike Hirsley, Chicago Tribune

“Rahman by decision.” Richard Hoffer, Sports Illustrated

“All Rahman needs to do is listen to his trainer, Thell Torrence,who will tell "The Rock" to use his jab and stay patient rather than smother his punches (as he did against Kali Meehan) by being overly aggressive. Maskeav is fine against unskilled bangers, but good big men who can box--like Rahman---are his undoing. Rahman will easily outbox Maskaev and, if he listens to Torrence, will stop his nemesis within eight rounds.” Mike Houser, Nevada Appeal

“Rahman TKO 10. Simply the better fighter and he won’t take Maskaev lightly this time.” Graham Houston, Boxing Monthly 

“Rahman W12 Maskaev -- Both guys have the punch to knock the other out. Thus, I think it will be a cautious and tactical fight and Rahman will prevail in a close battle.” Kevin Iole, Las Vegas Review-Journal

“I’ll go with The Rock by decision.” Jim Jenkins, Sacramento Bee

“Oleg Maskaev had Hasim Rahman seeing stars in the first fight, but Rahman will uphold the stars and stripes by winning a decision in the rematch.” Chuck Johnson, USA Today

“I was ringside when Maskaev sent Rahman soaring onto Jim Lampley (or close, anyway). Rahman is the logical choice, but if Maskaev lands another big right hand, Dennis Rappaport could become a big player in the heavyweight division. Let's all root for Rahman. Oleg is a good guy, one of my favorites, but he's carrying too much luggage. The Rock by decision.” Mike Katz, TheSweetScience.com

"As usual the essential question concerning Hasim Rahman is what kind of physical condition will he be in to defend his championship. If Rahman puts in the gym time and does his roadwork stepping into the ring fit, he will win comfortably. It's all up to the champ; for now I trust in his new found dedication." Patrick Kehoe, TheSweetScience.com

“I'll take Rahman by KO. This isn’t 1999 anymore and both fighters are very different today.” Steve Kim, MaxBoxing.com

“What, you mean you don't remember the domino theory? As soon as one title fell to the Commies, the rest would tumble like building blocks. In the wake of Liakovich, Valuev, and Klitschko, this lesson in realpolitik should logically culminate with a Maskaev win -- especially since Oleg knocked Hasim out the first time they fought. But each time I envision this scenario I have a big problem: I keep remembering that night in Connecticut six years ago when Kirk Johnson cold-cocked Maskaev -- and Kirk Johnson couldn't knock anybody out. Rahman by KO. Say four rounds.” George Kimball, TheSweetScience.com

“Apart from looking back to Oleg Maskaev’s 1999 win over Hasim Rahman, picking a winner between the pair could come down to deciding which boxer wants it more. Since he beat Lennox Lewis in 2001, the only boxer with any substantial claims to being world class that Rahman has beaten is Monte Barrett. Yet I believe Maskaev’s win over Sinan Samil Sam counts for more than that. So a pick for Rahman would be largely in the hope of what one believes he can do, rather than what he has done. Maskaev is on a run of ten successive wins, but there have been stories from his gym that he is not the fighter he once was. Like Rahman, Maskaev has been a letdown when the pressure is on – defeats to Lance Whitaker, Corey Sanders and Kirk Johnson do not indicate a boxer of true world class. But my pick would be Maskaev on points. He may be the slightly hungrier. Ron Lewis, The Times (London)

“Rahman wins a lackluster decision…” Thom Loverro, The Washington Times

“I've got to go with Hasim Rahman. He'll take this one more seriously than the first.... plus, some home cookin'... lets go with the red, white and blue. Rahman by decision.” Chris Maathuis, KLAS-TV (Las Vegas)

“Maskaev won't see the Rahman he KO'd nearly seven years ago. Rahman has since become a two-time world heavyweight champion, is focused and takes better care of his body – he also has pay-back on his mind. Rock holds onto his WBC belt with a late knockout.” Franklin McNeil, Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)

“Maskaev on points - just. I'm never sure what Rahman is going to do. And neither is he.” Kevin Mitchell, The Observer (London)

“Maskaev by middle-rounds knockout. We all know that Rahman is not the most confident fighter in the world, and that he is an underachiever. Since Rahman must have in the back of his mind the 1999 knockout he suffered at the hands of Maskaev when Maskaev sent Rahman flying out of the ring, it's doubtful Rahman can come up with the mental toughness to win this fight. That Rahman was well ahead at the time on the scorecards won't matter. The end result of that first fight will have a bearing on the result on their rematch.” Robert Morales, Press-Telegram (Long Beach, CA)

“Rahman was beating Maskaev handily in their first fight but got lazy and got knocked out. Now, Rahman has the title and doesn't want to give it up. I expect him to be much more prepared and focused. Not to mention that Maskaev hasn't been a top contender for a few years. Rock takes Maskaev out in the mid rounds.” Dan Rafael, ESPN.com 

Rahman KO 10 Maskaev - "I don't know if either of these fighters are as good as they were seven years ago, and both of them have the kind of chins that make anything possible, but one thing's for sure: Rahman isn't going to overlook Maskaev again. I truly believe that he would've beaten Oleg the first time if he'd taken him seriously, and this time around, I think 'The Rock' gets his revenge." Eric Raskin, The Ring / MaxBoxing.com

“Rahman has faced much better competition than Maskaev the past few years, which means Maskaev's recent success is a mirage. I think Rahman gets 'em this time: KO7.” Michael Rosenthal, San Diego Union-Tribune

“I believe Rahman is going to avenge his loss to Maskaev. I believe that he thought he was going to walk through Maskaev the first fight and he found out it was a harder fight than he thought.” Bryan Salmond, KTNV-TV (Las Vegas) 

“Rahman KO 8 Maskaev. I'm still a firm believer that an in-shape Hasim Rahman is one of the best heavyweights in the world. I can't see Maskaev wearing Rahman down, and I'd like to think that "The Rock" will be too smart to get caught like he did the first time. Rahman will control this fight with his jab and end Maskaev this time in the eighth.” Joseph Santoliquito, The Ring

Rahman within five rounds. The only thing, and it's a big thing, Rock has to worry about is Maskaev's right hand. If Rock jabs and, more importantly, brings his left hand back high and tight around his ears, he should be able to block Maskaev's most devastating weapon. Lem Satterfield, The Baltimore Sun

"If anything, this should be a fight with a lot of pain inflicted. There is history here and, in their minds, much at stake. I see Rahman surviving some rocky moments and getting that dull, thumping jab going just enough to win on points. Rahman W12." John Scheinman, The Washington Post

“I like Rahman to avenge his defeat by Maskaev. I think when Rahman catches him he will go down faster than the Berlin Wall.” Ed Schuyler, Jr., TheSweetScience.com

“I would like to believe that Hasim Rahman is the real deal as a heavyweight champ. I'm sure he'll be challenged at some point. I'm not sure that Maskaev is the man to do it at this stage of his career. I think Rahman is better mentally and physically than he was in the first match. Rahman by decision.” Tim Smith, Daily News (New York)

“If he's in shape, and if he's focused, Hasim Rahman will knock Oleg Maskaev out in the fifth round. If he's not in shape or if he's not focused, Rahman will still probably win because of the difference in skill levels, but it will be ugly.” Caviar Steve Springer, Los Angeles Times

“Rahman will control the action and outbox Maskaev for 12 rounds and win a decision. Think Rahman-Tua II minus the bad the decision. Rahman will have too much respect for Maskaev's power this time around.” Julius Stecker, Sportsnetwork.com

“In an attempt to upstage the results of their first fight, Rahman will send Maskaev into the "fourth" row in a 3rd Round knockout.” Rick Strasser, KVBC-TV (Las Vegas)

“Unquestionably an entertaining clash. I’m envisioning the second ascension of Rahman, starting with a 6th round Maskaev TKO.”Tim Struby, ESPN The Magazine

“I like Rahman because he's the better natural athlete who has learned the value of ring generalship and work ethic the hard way, and it has made him a better, more cerebral boxer. At 37, Maskaev has won 10 straight but hasn't beaten a name fighter since the 1999 fight with Rahman. I expect Hasim to settle an old score in a battle of right hands. Rahman TKO 9.” Mike Swann, 15rounds.com

“The Big O has a puncher's chance to beat Rahman again, but I can't wrap my head around the idea of another Maskaev victory. His first win over Rahman is the only truly impressive thing on his record, whereas Hasim has been through the wars. I'll take Rahman by a fairly easy unanimous decision.” Dennis Taylor, Monterey County Herald

“I could …see this ending in a draw.” Trae Thompson, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram

“First of all, Hasim is defending a title he never really won, it was handed to him, he has done nothing to earn it, and because of that he has absolutely no appreciation for it or what it stands for. Oleg on the other hand has put himself in line to legitimately earn the title, and that will make him much hungrier than the spoon fed current Champion. Oleg may not blast Rahman out of the ring like he did in their first match, but he will take the belt from America’s last heavyweight champ.” William Trillo, Boxing2006.com

"I like Rahman's better work rate over the distance and Maskaev's chin has a question mark on it. The Rock's jab will do it for him. Rahman W12 Maskaev.” Paul Upham, SecondsOut.com

“The Russian has the KO over Rahman in the first fight, he is the hungrier of the two, fights on, with much more consistency than Rahman does, and has the confidence of knowing the outcome of the first bout. Take those factors into consideration and there's the last piece falling into the former Soviet Union's current world heavyweight dominance of the titles. Maskaev by decision. German Villasenor, MaxBoxing.com/BoxingGladiators.com

“I like Rahman in a decision. Rahman will come in more than the previous fight.” Calvin Watkins, Dallas Morning News

“Maskaev by 11th-round TKO. Demise of the American heavyweight continues.” George Willis, New York Post

“Rahman will have some serious stimulus to get in top shape, having been kayoed by Maskaev in 1999, but the mental edge has to go to Oleg. He knows what he can do to this opponent... he's already walked the walk. I see Maskaev moving cleverly and consistently, and Rahman not having the will to close the distance. Maskaev by decision.” Michael Woods, TheSweetScience.com



T O T A L :

RAHMAN - 51 / MASKAEV - 11 / DRAW - 1



Remaining tickets to Rahman-Maskaev II, priced at $600, $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50, can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack box office, online at www.unlvtickets.com or by calling (702) 739-FANS. The Rahman-Maskaev II pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT has a suggested retail price of $49.95. It will be distributed domestically by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 56 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in high-definition television for those viewers who are HDTV capable. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. Rahman vs. Maskaev daily updates can be found during fight week at www.HBO.com.

Article posted on 01.08.2006



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