Rahman/Maskaev II: Overview & Prediction

09.08.06 - By Dino Alvarado: On August 12, Hasim "The Rock" Rahman (41-5-2, 33 KO's) and Oleg "The Big O" Maskaev (32-5, 25 KO's) will meet in a rematch of their 1999 encounter when Rahman was knocked out of the ring in dramatic fashion. The big question surrounding the fight is whether the last American heavyweight champion standing has learned anything since his embarrassing defeat 7 years ago..

However, before we get to my prediction, there's something that has me confused; why is this a pay-per-view event? Seriously, it's obvious that with respect to business we hold heavyweights on a higher plateau than other divisions, but does Rahman's promoter really expect that many people to pay $50 for a run-of-the-mill match? Although this is not a PPV-worthy bout, it's for the WBC heavyweight title, and that still means something.

Also, judging from the results of recent fights both boxers have had (especially Maskaev who's only had two of his last 20 fights go to the scorecards), it might actually turn out to be entertaining. Rahman, responding to criticism of being too safe, turned it up a notch for his first fight with Maskaev and stood toe-to-toe for nearly eight rounds in a surprisingly fun fight to watch.

What's also intriguing is the now-or-never mentality both fighters should carry into the ring this Saturday. At the age of 37, this is probably Oleg's last chance at a title belt. It should also help that Oleg knows he can win this bout because he did the first time. The same purpose is there for Hasim; he must be dying to put the humiliating defeat behind him and avenge the loss that's bothered him for years. He's not a young boxer by any stretch himself; at 33 years old, he has to take advantage of every opportunity he can get, and a convincing victory on pay-per-view could put him on the map and possibly on the verge to face Wladimir Klitschko late this year or early 2007.

PREDICTION: Since Rahman-Maskaev I, Hasim has taken on marquee opponents, or at least compared to Maskaev during the same time frame. Seven years is a long time, and because Rahman has stepped in the ring with champions such as Lennox Lewis and John Ruiz since, experience should no longer be an issue. In addition, Maskaev suffered disappointing KO losses to Kirk Johnson and Lance Whitaker in 2002, so it's not certain if he has permanently overcome those defeats. Both boxers have glass chins and impressive knockout percentages, so this bout won't go too many rounds. The X-factor is Rahman's newly gained maturity since the first battle, and that will pay dividends against an opponent who's hardly fought anyone notable throughout his career.

Hasim Rahman will defeat Oleg Maskaev by 6th round TKO.

Article posted on 09.08.2006

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