29.10.05 – By Justin Hackman: As the snow begins to melt and Spring is in the air, baseball fans on the North Side of Chicago have annually believed that “This is our year!” Nevermind our sub .500 season last year. And nevermind the fact that our two aces are having reconstructive surgery in their throwing elbows. Cub fans find a way to convince themselves that they will win a championship. This false pretense is not grounded in anything substantial—they latch on to an element of the team and claim it as the second coming: “Well this offseason we picked up that shortstop who almost went to the playoffs with that one team.” Though exaggerated, my imitation of these delusional fans happens to be just as strong (or weak) as their well thought out arguments that hold no validity.
Enter Hasim Rahman: a boxer who had his glory days with one strong right hand which landed the former champ right on his behind.
As Lewis got his mind right and decided not to underestimate the man standing in front of him, he returned the favor to Rahman in their rematch inside of four rounds. Let us also not forget the figurative proverbial sub .500 season, or the two aces undergoing surgery: Rahman lost three out of his next four fights, with the fourth being a draw. Since, he has, to his credit climbed back into contention by winning six consecutive fights; granted each victory has been against second or third tier fighters to be generous. Perhaps the most difficult opponent in that mix was his most recent, Monte Barrett. This fight needs no explanation, as I would have no choice but to make my dissection more boring than the fight itself.
There has been, since his loss to Chris Byrd back in 2000, significant criticism surrounding Vitali Klitschko. Many arguments of which, as I wrote in an article a number of months back, boast sound justification: he has quit on his stool with nine minutes separating him from the most important victory of his career to that point; he has defended his title against weak competition; he has even taken an eleven month hiatus during his reign. These actions (or lack thereof) have put a bad taste in the mouths of many writers and fight fans alike. However, on the night of November 12, these grounds for disdain will not be an issue! Die hard loyalty is not a justified foundation for believing a championship is right around the corner. Contempt for Vitali even when combined with support for Rahman, does not give a fighter an advantage or disadvantage in the ring. The image slate will be wiped clean as the two men prepare to do battle with one another.
In the prediction process, one must view from an unbiased level. To phrase it in an elementary fashion, Vitali Klitschko will beat Hasim Rahman. Good teams always find a way to win. The fight could not play out any other way. Vitali is a master at protecting his chin as he leans his upperbody backward, while sticking his left hand out in jabbing fashion, along with his left leg jutting forward creating significant distance between him and his opponent. Klitschko’s discipline to never deviate from the game plan, that is to say, never making Lewis’ mistake of underestimation, along with his 6’8″ frame is recipe enough for victory. Rahman simply has no way of getting to Vitali. Vitali’s jab will keep Rahman at a great distance to the point where Rahman may not land more than ten punches in each of the first few rounds. Vitali will mix in his short left hooks as Rahman’s right eye begins to swell. Before the fifth round, Vitali will unleash some solid right crosses, as Rahman will not know how to defend against Vitali’s arsenal. The fight will not go past the sixth round, as Klitschko will be victorious in a dominating fashion.
I was once the delusional fan of the Cubs of whom I spoke so ill. I now can see the error of my ways. Only after emotional separation do I understand that bias-based arguments are often built on a muddy foundation. The victor is not contingent upon his fan base or lack thereof. The White Sox’ season ending with a World Series title? A microcosm for the events of November 12th: the town’s underdog, and criticized yet more talented unit will sweep in impressive fashion.