Maskaev Stops Rahman and Shocks The World!
14.08.06 – By Vanessa McConnell: Once again, it’s on. The first fight between Oleg Maskaev and Hasim Rahman was a shame, for Rahman, that is. The second fight wasn’t far behind the first one, with history nearly repeating itself, except the only difference is, Rahman lasted until the 12th before being blasted out.
Article posted on 15.08.2006
When the bell rang to start the first round, both fighters came out slow, looking cautious of each other. After a brielf lull, Rahman threw a huge right hand that crashed off the jaw of Oleg, snapping his head sideways from the force of the blow. However, Maskaev was not fazed at all, as he immediately fire back with a short right hand that landed square in Rahman's face, causing him to blink and grimace.
Not surprizingly, Rahman, clearly the beter boxer, dominated the first few rounds, though, both fighters were throwing rock solid blows. Maskaev suffered a cut over his left eye in the second round from a head butt, which seemed to wake him up, for at that point, he seemed to start to take the fight to Rahman. I could clearly hear Rahman’s dad began yelling and coaching from the crowd, saying, “Red rocks, rock, son, Red rocks rock,” and “He’s leaking, referring to Maskaev's cut over his left eye.
Rahman seemed to have a habit of dropping his left hand, something that Maskaev took full advantage of, letting him come over the top with either a left hook or a straight right, neither of which Rahman had any defense against. At times, Rahman would Maskaev in the corner, only to have him duck under Rahman's long, telegraphed right hand, letting Maskaev easily escape without sustaining any damage. For a moment, Rahman got excited when Maskaev stumbled in the third round, tripping over his own feet, but towards the end of the round, Rahman appeared tired and gave up on quite a few open shots.
Rahman suffered a low blow in the fourth round and nearly knocked Maskaev out the ring, when he connected with a big right that knocked Maskaev backwards. It appeared, at least to me, that Rahman had plenty of opportunities to land perfect power punch to end the fight, but he often failed to pull the trigger, seeing to wait too long, and by the fifth round, Rahman was weakening, looking for the referee for help at times. For me, it was strange to see a boxer back himself in a corner and fight his best in the corner, but that's what Maskaev did, fihgting well of the ropes, landing straight rights to Rahman's head. Rahman had predicted that Maskaev would not last to the sixth round, but I think Rahman played himself far too short. By the sixth round, Rqahman was plain tired and Maskaev was breaking him down.
In the seventh round, Maskaev had turned the tables and began whopping on Rahman, landing his left hook and digging shotos to Rahman's midsection. Rahman, looking angry, came back strong in the last 40 seconds and landed some good shots, but Maskaev fired back as the bell sounded. After the rounded ended, they each went back to their corner, both fighters looking pissed.
The ninth round was a replica of the last two rounds, with Rahman waiting until the last ten seconds to go all out.
Finally, with Rahman looking exhausted, Maskaev took over the fight in the last few rounds. Rahman was now getting backed up by a re-energized Maskaev, who backed Rahman to his corner, landing thunderouse left hooks to Rahman's face, causing his entire right side of his face to swell up, like he'd been hit with a baseball bat. During this time, Maskaev was hitting Rahman so hard, the crowd was yelling “O” and ducking for Rahman at the same time. In the 11th round, Maskaev hit Rahman with a left hook, and then a right hand that seemed to hurt Rahman, although he immediately came back and continued fighting well. However, at that point, Maskaev landed several huge body shots, that took all the fight completely out of Rahman. Towards the end of the round, Rahman was essentially a punching bag for Maskaev, who was landing at will as the bell ended the 11th round.
Shortly after ht 12th round started, When Maskaev hit Rahman hard with left hook, right hand combination, causing Rahman to stumble back, hitting the ropes and following down to the canvas. He quickly got up, but he was clearly hurt and on shakey legs. Maskaev then calming followed Rahman, landing punch after punch, mixing up punches to Rahman's head and midsection. Soon after, Rahman was sent to the canvas again, curtesy of another thunderous shot by Maskaev. He made it up, but was taking a horrendous amount of shots, causing the referee, Jay Nady to step in and halt the bout, awarding the WBC title to Maskaev.
Some people say the referee should have stopped the fight sooner to save Rahman further humiliation. Before calling the fight, Maskaev was pounding on Rahman so hard, Rahman was holding on to Maskaev's legs, as if he was begging him to stop. After the fight was over, people rushed the stage, as if it was another “Sworn Enemies” bout. However, Security prevented the crowd from entering the ring, punching at them and letting them know they were not coming into the ring.
No one was more disappointed than Rahman’s son, for he left the arena, crying and sobbing so hard, you would swear we were at a funeral. I’m sure Maskaev was feeling on cloud nine, as he finally shut the famous hype-man on Rahman’s team up with the brutal beating he put on Rahman. I guess you really do have to watch out for the quiet ones. Rahman predicted and let his crew talk him into a beef match and Rahman could not back any of it up. It was like he only trained to go six rounds.
Bob Arum called it a “Boxing Cinderella Story,” and a wise man once said that “no matter who wins the fight, America still wins,” after all, both fighter are truly American citizens, by rights. Nobody had much to say about the low turnout; it was more disappointment in the air than praise.
Mild-mannered, Calvin Brock, was at the post press conference, facing off with Sergui Liakhovich, as their next fight was announced; he had a very biased opinion about the fight.
Up until the knockout, many of the Ringside observers had Rahman leading the fight on points, but if the fight had have went to the judges score card, Rahman would have lost the fight, anyway. Although he was far behind in points, the fight was very close and it could gone either way. With Lennox Lewis ringside broadcasting for HBO and Mike Tyson commentating, Rahman had support inside and outside the ring. When the referee stopped the fight that was proof. Had the fight went on any longer, Rahman would have suffered more than a bruised ego.
When it was all said and done, Rahman ended up throwing 537 punches and only landed 250, while Maskaev threw a total of 654 punches, only landing 184. Out of total jabs thrown, Maskaev threw a total of 292 jabs, landing 54 and Rahman threw a total of 266 jabs landing 128. With power punches, Rahman threw 271; landing 122 and Oleg threw a total of 362 only landing 130.
In the prelims, Mike Garcia won by knock out at 2:19 of the first round against Chad Ganigan. Aaron Pryor Jr. beat Danny Zee by spilt decision. John Vargas beat Aneudy Santos by a unanimous decision. Travis Kauffman beat James McCloskey by TKO in 1:48 of the first round and Vanes Martirosyan beat Marcus Brooks by unanimous decision. David Diaz beat Jose Santa Cruz in the tenth round by TKO and Humberto Soto knocked Ivan De Jesus Valle out at 42 seconds of the fourth round. No one was more proud of Soto than Dan Balderas who flew all the way in from Florida to watch his buddy fight.
“America’s Last Line of Defense” was brought to us by HBO-PPV and Top Rank Boxing featured at the Thomas & Mack Event Center in Las Vegas, and proven to be one of the most exciting fights of the year. Rematches are always well anticipated and worth the wait. This bout was titled the last line of defense for America but as we all know America still remained on top. Oleg Maskaev is now the WBC Heavyweight Champion of the World. Although he is originally from the former Soviet Union he is an American citizen and that’s all that needs to be said, America won.
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