Emanuel Steward - "We Consider Hasim Rahman More Dangerous Than Povetkin"

by James Slater , photo by - Legendary Hall of Fame trainer of IBF and WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, Emanuel Steward, knows all about the danger Hasim Rahman carries in his right hand. Whilst working with Lennox Lewis as the Brit met "The Rock" in a title defence in South Africa back in 2001, Steward saw his fighter crumble under the challenger's best punch in the 5th round of a shocker. Now, as he and his new champion are mere hours away from a meeting with Rahman, now aged 36 and arguably a seriously faded fighter compared to the man who flattened Lewis, Steward has spoken of the danger his fighter faces..

rahman vs klitschkoA late replacement for the injured Alexander Povetkin of Russia, Rahman is considered a very live challenger by Emanuel. Indeed, Steward goes so far as to say Rahman is even more dangerous than the man Wladimir should have been going up against originally.

"Wladimir is very focused," Steward said. "He realises how dangerous a puncher Hasim is. We take him very seriously. We consider him more dangerous than Povetkin. We expect a very tough fight. Wladimir considers him the most dangerous one-punch fighter he's ever faced."

To be sure, Rahman, even if he has seen better days, always has a puncher's chance. Though "Dr. Steel Hammer" is a huge betting favourite, and rightly so, Lewis was also an overwhelming choice to retain his titles over seven years ago. Yes, Rahman, 45-6-2(36) looked less than great last time out, against James Toney. But the fact is, against so-so opposition, it must be said, the 36-year-old has kept a clean sheet in his last five fights - or since his second KO loss to nemesis Oleg Maskaev, in August of 2006. Rahman hasn't been as active as he perhaps could have been - four fights in 2007, just two, the Klitschko bout included, this year - but he knows this is his last chance and he should be sharp enough to give it his best shot.

We all know, as good as he clearly is, that Wladimir has had a somewhat shaky chin at times in the past. He's been knocked out or stopped before; could it happen again? There is no doubt it could happen for a fourth time, but will Rahman be the man to make it happen? Tomorrow night's challenger in Germany faces a mighty task. Getting past Klitschko's strong and accurate left jab aside, Rahman will have to cope with the Ukrainian's sheer physical strength in the clinches (and there could be plenty of them in this one). Then there's Wladimir's own right hand for Rahman to deal with.

It wouldn't be quite as big a shocker as when "The Rock" levelled Lewis in South Africa if he were to KO Klistchko; but it wouldn't be far off!

It won't happen. Look for Klitschko to slowly knock the fight out of a determined former champion in around 7 or 8 rounds.

Article posted on 13.12.2008

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