Rahman Loss Can’t Stop the Meehan Express

01.11.05 - By Mark de Mori, - On November 25 in Sydney, Kali Meehan will be fighting what he hopes will be his last “tune-up”. With the heavyweight division wide open the big -punching contender is confident a title fight is only around the corner as long he can look impressive in his next bout against an international opponent still to be finalized..

With his last high profile bout a fourth-round beating against Hasim Rahman at Madison Square Garden, New York, last November. Many people will be wondering how Kali and his team, consisting of trainer “Magic” Mark Janssen and manager Ted Allen, believe they can go from such a disappointing performance to being heavyweight champion of the world?

“I was barely able to sleep for the last week before that fight.” said Meehan, “My neck was injured in training and I wasn’t able to perform anywhere near 100%. Rahman is a strong guy, I wanted to go through with the fight because I knew the opportunity was not something you get everyday. Now, I would love a rematch to prove that when I’m right it would be a different story.”

The fight before Rahman, Kali had lost a controversial split decision in a WBO title fight in Las Vegas against champion “Relentless” Lamon Brewster. It was a career-best performance that surprised boxing fans all around the world. The 193cm Kali boxed from the outside using his reach to maximum advantage over the 185cm Brewster.

Kali had shown the skills and conditioning of a world class heavyweight, but trainer Mark Janssen was still a little disappointed.

“Even though we thought Kali had won the fight, and it was a great experience, he only showed 50% of what he is capable of. I was not surprised to see Kali outbox Lamon. In previous sparring sessions between them it was clear that Lamon had trouble with Kali’s style.” said Janssen.

So, discounting the Rahman fight, Kali has been in good form, knocking out American Tommy Connelly in Germany on the Brewster vs Krasniqi under card, shaking off any ring rust after ten months on the sidelines after the Rahman disappointment.

In boxing though, you’re only as good as your last performance (in a meaningful fight), and at the age of 35 taking things slowly is probably not an option. But in the ever ageing heavyweight division, Kali believes the best is yet to come.

“I am taking better care of myself now. When I was young I didn’t care so much, but now I’m eating better and living cleaner," Meehan said. "I’m 35 and haven’t been in many tough fights so my body is still in good shape. I feel like everything has come together in the last year and I have at least three more years left.”

With Kali bursting on to the scene in the Brewster fight, many people have wondered why they had never heard of the big heavyweight from Down Under. If it wasn’t for Ted Allen and Mark Janssen taking an interest in the stalling career of the talented yet inconsistent Meehan, we may never have. But with a trip to Boston, USA, as a sparring partner for WBA heavyweight champion John Ruiz, and a few impressive gym sessions, Kali’s career received a huge boost with the always colourful and controversial Don King offering the team from Australia a chance of a lifetime. The offer to sign with King was an exciting prospect for Kali so the contracts were signed and his enthusiasm renewed.

It wasn’t the first time Meehan had traveled to America to chase his world title dreams. In May of 2000, Kali came over to meet big time heavyweight promoter Cedric Kushner, and fight tough journeyman Ron Brown on one of Kushner’s Heavyweight Explosion cards.

“We met before the fight and they had already drawn up the contracts to sign me up, the fight was a mere formality, " Meehan said. But I was suffering from jet lag and even though I won a clear decision, it was not an exciting performance by me. After the fight the contracts disappeared and there was no interest, but I understand, I know that’s boxing.”

After experiencing the highs and the lows of boxing, Kali Meehan looks set for one last run at the big prize, his lifelong dream, the heavyweight championship of the world.

With the division so open at the moment, you would have to like Meehan’s chances, especially with the talent he has showed when in the mood, but to many I’m sure this sounds all too familiar.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a fighter talk about renewed dedication and hunger and how the stars were now aligning in their favour, and then give a list off the usual excuses for the bad performances I’d be a very rich man. And more often than not they look the same or worse after giving the usual comeback spiel, but when I asked Kali what he had to say to the doubters, he was straight to the point.

“People in boxing will always talk bad even if you’re a champion, but all I can do is do what my good friend Lamon did, keep believing and keep knocking my opponents out.” Meehan said.

Article posted on 01.11.2005

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