Klitschko vs Rahman- Rahman Shouldn’t Be Counted Out!!!

31.10.05 – By Michael Montero: November 12th – Las Vegas, Nevada – Hassim Rahman challenges Vitali Klitschko for the WBC strap. On paper this seems like a one-sided contest, something reminiscent of Doctor Ironfist’s last bout with Danny Williams – but I believe that this fight is actually much closer than people think. Now I know what you’re thinking – “Montero how can you possibly feel this way? We’ve seen Rahman look good against B and C level competition before – only to blow it against the top guys time and time again.” I know, I know – Rahman in the quintessential underachiever in big fights – he carries losses on his record to David Tua (’98), Oleg Maskaev (’99), Lennox Lewis (’01), Evander Holyfield (’02) and most recently the full-time lawyer, part-time boxer/wrestler John Ruiz (’03). I know that the guy’s only notable victories are a 5th round KO of Lennox Lewis (via a perfect right against an under-estimating opponent), a 7th round TKO of Corrie Sanders (after having been on the canvas early in the fight) and an uninspired UD over buddy Monte Barrett a few months ago (a guy who has no power).…

I know that the guy has been knocked out more than once while Klitschko’s chin has been checked a few times and he’s never been down – not to mention the fact that Rahman’s giving up 5 inches in height. I understand why this looks like a mismatch on paper – but there are other factors at play here that change the dynamic of this fight. Certain factors that you can’t really put on paper – things that this writer believes have turned this into a very close and competitive match-up…

First of all – Klitschko hasn’t fought since December of last year – that’s almost a year – he will have ring rust. Vitali isn’t exactly known for his fluidity, and it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be moving well after almost a year without a single fight. Rahman has a great opportunity to pressure the giant Ukrainian in the early rounds and make him work. In the middle rounds Klitschko’s ring rust may begin to wear off – but then stamina becomes a key factor. We all know that both Klitschko brothers come to their fights in shape – but on this night Vitali will be throwing constant jabs to keep “the Rock” at bay – not to mention carrying around that 250 pound frame that hasn’t seen work in eleven months. And let’s face it – Doctor Ironfist hasn’t been heavily pressured in a fight since he fought Lennox Lewis back in 2003. If Rahman takes advantage of this obvious opportunity – it could make things very interesting…

While Klitschko has been busy recouping from injuries/surgeries, Rahman fought just a few months back on August 13th against Barrett. Yes, the fight was awful and personally I’d rather have a root canal then ever watch it again – but Hassim did get 12 rounds of work in the ring. Let’s also not forget that The Rock was fighting a friend that night – and that usually leads to boring fights in which both boxers are unwilling to truly exchange. I’m reminded of a bout back in September of ’04 between Lamon Brewster and good friend Kali Meehan – remember that one? Of course you do – everybody was down on Brewster after that lackluster performance – but does anybody remember what transpired in Lamon’s very next fight? He absolutely destroyed Andrew Golota in mere seconds – feeling that he had something to prove. Now of course we cannot compare the mentally flawed “Foul Pole” to Vitali Klitschko – but I had to mention it just to get you thinking. People are down on Rahman right now due to his performance against friend Monte Barrett – not to mention his disappointments in the past – now he has something to prove…

Finally – the factor that can turn an ordinary man into an extremely dangerous man – money. Hassim Rahman is broke – he owes money to the IRS, his infamous promoter, lawyers, and several others – he recently filed for bankruptcy. Now granted he did just get a contract extension from Don King through 2008, but let’s be real people – Mr. King isn’t exactly known for giving his guys the best contracts. After all, Rahman’s original contract with King was highway robbery. Make no mistake – Rahman has financial troubles – Klitschko on the other hand is sitting pretty as far as money is concerned. The Rock needs this victory like no other in his career and it may be his last legitimate chance at the big time (as well as his last shot at a big PPV payday). A guy who feels that his back is against the wall is always dangerous and should not be taken lightly…




If this fight had happened back in April, like it was originally supposed to, I would have picked an easy victory for Klitschko via early rounds KO – but with all the factors currently in play I’d say that this bout has become very interesting. Don’t get me wrong – all things considered I still favor the Ukrainian – but there will be nervous moments for Klitschko fans (and exciting moments for Rahman fans) in the early rounds. On the other hand, Rahman has done his fair share of trash talking, which should only motivate Klitschko to train harder and come to the fight extremely focused. Let’s not forget that this is a great opportunity for Vitali as well – not only to add another solid title defense to his record – but to defeat a popular American fighter and thus gain more credibility (which equals more marketability) in the states. So all in all we should see a highly motivated and focused Vitali Klitschko opposite Hassim Rahman on November 12th at the Thomas and Mack Center in Vegas (I don’t expect Klitschko to take Rahman lightly). So in closing, as I stated earlier, I still favor Klitschko (by late TKO to be exact) – I’m just saying that we shouldn’t count Rahman out – the settings are in place for an upset.

Questions, comments, hate mail? You know the drill. Ciao.

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