19.10.05 – By Scoop Malinowski / Boxinginsider.com – Just four short years ago Hasim Rahman was sitting on top of the world. He had just won the WBC & IBF Heavyweight titles courtesy of a pinpoint perfect right hand landed on the chin of Lennox Lewis in South Africa.
According to his former promoter Cedric Kushner, HBO offered free agent Rahman $17,000,000 to televise the rematch with Lewis, which was mandated by a rematch clause in the original contract.
But Rahman rejected that hefty offer and ended up leaving Kushner. He accepted Don King as his new promoter. King reportedly lured Rahman with a suitcase filled with approximately $200,000 cash along with promises of easy money fights with David Izon and Brian Nielsen – one to be held in China – for $20,000,000.
However, subsequently, Rahman was forced to honor the rematch clause with Lewis by Manhattan Federal Court Judge Miriam Cederbaum who ruled that Rahman must either honor the rematch clause and fight Lewis – or not fight at all for the next 18 months.
I was not able to ascertain this week what amount Rahman actually earned for losing the Lewis rematch but there is reason to believe it was considerably less than the $17,000,000 he left on the table from HBO. Perhaps even A LOT less.
And now we have learned that Rahman has declared bankruptcy earlier this month – even after what had to be significant TV paydays against the likes of Tua, Holyfield, Ruiz, Meehan and Barrett. And most alarmingly, we learned last week from another boxing site that Rahman will reportedly earn only about $10,000 or so for fighting Vitali Klitschko next month – because King had it in Rahman’s contract if he lost the purse bid for the Vitali fight, Rahman must pay King 50% of his purse. Amazing isn’t it?
The Rock will earn $4.2 million for facing Vitali, but he reportedly owes 20 creditors the money. The former champ owes the IRS over $2 million and Don King is owed around $2 million of the $4.2 million dollar purse because the promoter lost the purse bid to Bob Arum.
King filed a $2.1 million lawsuit against Rahman two weeks ago, claiming his contract with Rahman calls for the payment – if he failed to win the purse bid for Klitschko vs. Rahman.
It is absolutely mind-boggling that Rahman and/or the people who are supposed to be managing his career and promoting his career could let this happen – going from multi-millions and a busy active profit-making ring schedule to bankruptcy – it is just incomprehensible.
Rahman’s former promoter Cedric Kushner spoke about the situation earlier this week:
Q: Your comments on Rahman’s declaring of bankruptcy?
Kushner: “I’m obviously – my relationship with Hasim has obviously been topsy-turvy, I’ve buried the hatchet. Whenever I see him now, he and I greet each other. I’m sorry to hear of his financial plight. It’s very difficult for me to understand, that he is insolvent. I’d have to question his management, to try and understand where all his money went. But I’m not involved with him so it’s not my business.”
Q: The amazing thing to me is when he won the heavyweight title with you, you guys had those big, eight-figure offers from HBO. What was the amount HBO offered?
Q: $17,000,000 – for how many fights?
Kushner: “For one fight. To fight a rematch with Lennox Lewis.”
Q: And then Rahman ended up leaving you for King. King gave him a briefcase with cash. How much?
Kushner: “I don’t know. What I’ve been told it was $250,000. I thought he did the wrong thing – for himself. Forget about me. But I’m…I don’t understand how you can earn that kind of money, and not have any money.”
Q: Do you know what amount Rahman earned for the Lewis rematch?
Kushner: “I don’t know. I don’t know. But I’m absolutely sure of one thing – it wasn’t $17,000,000.”
Q: That was an unbelievable disappointment. I hope you don’t mind me asking this – you got the heavyweight champ, he was your fighter. Then to see him leave like that for a suitcase of cash, then to see the way it all turned out – bankruptcy. That’s got to be dissappointing for you most of all maybe. How long to get over it?
Kushner: “Oh, unbelievably. Long time. But here we are. We move on. That’s the important thing.”
Q: Now you promote Shannon Briggs. Any progress in getting Shannon Briggs a title shot, he has seven KO’s in a row now. Any HBO interest in a Shannon Briggs title fight?
Kushner: “Definitely. Definitely. He’s always been a favorite of HBO. He will get an opportunity. There’s no doubt in my mind.”
Q: With Vitali Klitschko?
Kushner: “Who knows who will be there.”
Q: Yeah, right. Maybe Rahman wins next month. That would be a very interesting scenario for you – Briggs vs. Rahman for the title.
Kushner: “Can you imagine Rahman winning?”
Q: “I don’t think he can beat Klitschko.
Kushner: “It will be a tough fight.”