Barrett-Rahman: Lets just hope it happens!

08.08.05 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: Hasim “the Rock” Rahman vs. Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett, will be the first of a series of fights that should conceivably determine a lot of things in the heavyweight division. The reason I say we should hope it happens is because, this plan to straighten out the heavyweight division has been unfolding for well over 2 to 3 years, and nothing has actually happened thanks to a whole bunch of different circumstances, Vitali Klitschko, and a few others.. Some are less responsible then others, some should be thrown in jail for torturing the casual boxing fan, but nevertheless, in the past three years, very little has happened that would actually resolve issues about who is the champ, who is overrated, and who is actually a deserving contender.

For example, the last time I wrote an article analyzing a list of upcoming fights in the heavyweight division, only two of them came off, and one of them was later ruled a no decision.

This is precisely why Rahman vs. Barrett is for the most part a good fight. Is it the best heavyweights in the world fighting against each other? If you think so I suggest a strait jacket and a shrink. However, it is a typical match up that should occur often between two decent fighters to determine which one gets a shot at a titleholder. That consequently is why it’s for the most part a good fight, and not a good one period. These two guys are fighting for the “interim” title, when neither one of them has done enough to be labeled a “the number one contender” just yet. Supposedly both of these guys have beaten enough decent fighters to claim to be #1 contender, and with Vitali Klitschko injured that would put them in a spot where they should fight for the title, and later face the champion. However, like I said, neither man has done enough.

Rahman has beaten 5 complete nobodies and no one can argue with that. Each of his victims was viciously knocked out before facing him, and were nowhere near anybodies top ten, except possibly Meehan. However, Meehan was not only limited as a fighter, which would relegate him to B class competition, but also had bad stamina, which drops him down a notch to C class. With the best win on his record against a C class fighter, who was gone against the limited Brewster (yes, Brewster is on the right track now but he still has a way to go as a fighter to prove himself), how does Rahman get a title shot, much less gets to actually fight for the interim title? He beat Lewis years ago, got knocked out in the not even close rematch, and already got a freebie for the former champ, against Ruiz, for the WBA belt and lost. I am sorry, but no way in hell was Rahman a #1 contender worthy of facing Klitschko. Yes, he had some accomplishments before the Lewis fight, but so did Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield, how many free title shots should they get?

In comparison, Nicolai Valuev’s last 5 opponents were much better than Rahman’s last five, and nobody thinks he should get a title shot (there is a difference between wanting him to get one just because, and actually deserving one). I agree he does not and needs one more win to get it, but if a guy with a better and more dominant five fight win streak, is still called a bum why is Rahman the “#1” contender?

Instead of answering that question with the obvious royal answer, lets look at Monte Barrett’s last few fights. First off, let's acknowledge that before this fight, Barrett had no previous accomplishments, unless you consider losing in a one-sided fight to Wladimir Klitschko an accomplishment. He dropped decisions to Joe Mesi and Lance Whitaker, and therefore, as a fighter would have to do even more than Valuev or Rahman, who didn’t earn a title shot, in my opinion, to even be considered as somebody in the running. Barrett beat Dominick Guinn, a decent prospect with some acceptable wins over glass chin, Michael Grant (previously Ko'd by Lewis and Mccline easily) and unknown African, Duncan Dokiwari.

Those wins did make Guinn a somewhat credible fighter, but not somebody who once beaten, makes his conqueror a legend in the making, or more subtly even a top contender. However, Barrett recently beat Owen Beck, as well, but Beck hadn't proved himself at the time of their fight and was still an unknown, much like the Samuel Peter. This was Beck's first serious fight, and he lost. Not only that, but these two guys also went to war and struggled against each other. Now having seen that fight, I won’t lie and say it wasn’t exciting, but from a technical standpoint, neither Barrett nor Beck, showed anything special. Like I have always said, Barrett barely had enough strength to finally finish Beck off, so I don’t see why struggling against an unknown opponent should give him more credit, than say, Wladimir Klitschko, who dominated his unknown with complete ease. Don’t get me wrong, I am not claiming Klitschko should get a title shot or anything, but notice the paradox. Klitschko completely shuts out his unknown opponent and KO’s him. Instead of praising him most fans say “oh he beat a bum, good for him.” Barrett struggles in a life and death fight with Beck, and suddenly those same people are calling Barrett a worthy top contender. See the flawed logic?

This is the sort of fight that should happen in order to determine a #1 contender not a titleholder. These two guys have slightly above average credentials, and a win for either one is enough to call that guy the consensus #1 but not the interim champion.

As far as the fight itself, I am leaning towards Rahman because I really think he has the more potential of the two. Barrett always comes to fights in his best shape, but the fact that he has lost, at his best physically suggests what I have always thought and that is he is a limited fighter, who also suffers from a size disadvantage. Rahman has been to the top, and he has fought the big names and has held his own in certain instances, even fighting to a draw with David Tua, while overweight.

So if Rahman comes ready and prepared to fight (by the way, not something I would put money on because he does tend to not train for some fights), he will be at a huge advantage over Barrett. Personally, I will be hoping Barrett wins, simply because I like his dedication as a fighter more so than Rahman’s, but I can admit Rahman will come in the favorite.

Bonus Thought: It is utterly shameless that Vitali Klitschko has to fight one of these guys 6 weeks after this fight happens. More so because they make it seem like he is trying to hide from them by fighting somebody else. Lets all remember that this fight was supposed to be scheduled for July 23rd and it was Don King, and his people who moved it forward to the 13th, not giving Klitschko a reasonable chance to prepare for his opponent. Whereas both Barrett and Rahman can keep that in the back of their head while training and sparring, Klitschko has to prepare blindly for both men, since he doesn’t know who will win. He will also not have enough time to sell the fight accordingly with six weeks to go because he won’t have a confirmed opponent. How will he bill the fight? Something along the lines of: “Come watch the WBC title holder Vitali Klitschko square off against Monte Barrett or Hasim Rahman on September 24th, provided one of them wins, and its not a draw, and the winner isn’t injured severely during the bout requiring time to heal, in which case we have to reschedule the bout.”

In that instance the WBC champion will be forced to be out of the ring for even longer, or fight a non title bout against a complete nobody at the last minute. We can see the benefit for the winner of this fight, but where is it for the actual belt holder? I am sorry, but that is not the way you treat a title holder, no matter how many people hate him for one reason or another.

Article posted on 08.08.2005

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