Lovemore Won't Do

08.04.05 - By Harry Summers Jr.: Throughout 2004, the team of Tunisian-born, Australian-based junior welterweight Naoufel Ben Rabah, 23-1 (13), challenged Lovemore N'dou to various all-Australian showdowns, including a $40,000, winner-take-all battle. N'dou, 40-8-1 (26), declined fighting the flashy Rabah, citing that he had bigger fish to fry internationally and that a battle with him would be a near nothing fight, contribute little to his ambition to compete against the best in the talent-filled 140lb division..

33-year-old N'dou maybe had a point. He was rated in the top 10 of nearly all world organizations (including The Ring magazine), while Rabah hovered just outside the top 10 of the IBF and WBO.

But on February 19 this year, N'dou, although gallant as ever, failed to defeat for the third time in 12 months another top 10 contender, in the form of Englishman Junior Witter. Two weeks later, Rabah defeated Colombian Dario Esalas in a scintillating seven-round war. The victory saw Rabah rise to the #3 spot in the WBO and #8 in the IBF. N'dou, despite currently holding the IBF Pan Pacific strap, is rated lower at #12.

The shoe was now on the other foot. There was speculation N'dou had become interested in fighting Rabah, and that was confirmed when Team Rabah were contacted for the fight. The question was, did Rabah want it? Would his team want to risk his higher ranking? After a couple weeks of contemplation and reconsiderations, Rabah's team decided to get it on.

But reportedly, N'dou had changed his mind once more. To the disappointment of Rabah's management, he backed out of the fight. It seems that squaring off with "Chocolata" Naoufel Ben Rabah is just something Lovemore N'dou won't do.

Article posted on 08.04.2005

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