Boxing

Wladimir Klitschko-Hasim Rahman a Possible Future bout?

01.06.07 - By Gary Jones: Does a potential bout with Wladimir Klitschko (48-3, 43 KO's), the IBF heavyweight champion, and the often troubled Hasim Rahman (41-6-2, 33 KO's) intrigue you? If so, that's what's being bandied about in the latest boxing news grapevine, coming from Dan Rafael from ESPN. Apparently, reps from the Klitschko brothers have spoken to Top Rank, Rahman's promotional outfit, about a potential fight in the fall. Ideally, Wladimir Klitschko would prefer to fight for unification match with one of the other three heavyweight title holders, however, the likelihood of that happening is remote at best due to the reluctance of the promoters involved. So that will likely leave us with Rahman vs. Klitschko..

Still, for this fight to happen, both Klitschko and Rahman must win their next bouts. Wladimir defends his title against Lamon Brewster (a fighter that has previously knocked out Wladimir in 2004) on July 7th, while Rahman fights Taurus Sykes on June 14th.

The Sykes fight figures to be an easy fight for Rahman, who has been inactive for the past nine months since losing his WBC heavyweight title in a 12th round knockout to Oleg Maskaev on August 2006. Clearly, Wladimir has a much obstacle in front of him, having been beaten once by Brewster, who can take abnormal amount of punishment, yet at the same time has knockout power.

It's easy to see why Wladimir would see Rahman as an appealing next opponent, namely because Rahman, 34, is a two time heavyweight title holder (IBF & WBC), and has fought - and beaten - many of the biggest names in boxing over the past 11 years, including Lennox Lewis, Corrie Sanders, Ross Purrity and Monte Barrett. Interestingly enough, two of the fighters mentioned, Puritty and Sanders, both have previously beaten Wladimir Klitshko (Puritty by 11th round TKO in 1998, and Sanders by 2nd round TKO in 2003). Whereas, Rahman had a relatively easy time beating both of them (stopping the hard punching Sanders in the 7th round in 2000, and winning a 10-round decision over a young Ross Puritty in 1996) despite taking huge shots from both of them. Looking back at those fights, it's hard to envision Wladimir absorbing the same kinds of hard punches without going down.

However, the more important reason that Wladimir would find Rahman an interesting opponent is largely because of Rahman's sometimes brittle chin, which has been his weak spot in knockout losses to Lennox Lewis in 2001, and two stoppage losses to Oleg Maskaev, in 1999 and again, in 2006. The combination of Rahman's weak chin being constantly tested by Wladimir, arguably the hardest puncher in the heavyweight division, would seem to indicate that Rahman won't remain upright for long in the bout.

However, as is well known, Wladimir's chin is equally as brittle as Rahman, and maybe more so, having lost by knockouts three times in his career to Ross Puritty, Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster, all which took Wladimir out with big shots. After taking account of both fighter's susceptibility to knockouts, this fight figures to be dangerous for both of them, and nothing is a given in this bout. That said, Rahman appears to have less to lose at this stage, since he's essentially considered to be a non-factor by most boxing scribes. That's precisely what makes him an even more dangerous opponent for Wladimir to take.

Article posted on 02.06.2007



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