Klitschko Wins Seven Round Sparring Session with Rahman
By Thomas Gerbasi, MaxBoxing.com (Dec 14, 2008) Photo © German Villasenor  
Wladimir Klitschko must have been a very good boy this year, because Saturday at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany, the IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight champion received a 253.5-pound Christmas present in the form of shopworn former heavyweight champ Hasim Rahman, who managed to stay upright for six rounds and 44 seconds before Klitschko took him out and ended a one-sided bout.

Rahman, who fired trainer Marshall Kauffman less than a week before the bout in favor of Buddy McGirt, was replacing injured mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin. And while Klitschko should be given credit for staying busy and dominating his foe, here’s hoping 2009 holds bouts against young guns Povetkin, David Haye, and Chris Arreola, and no more Seniors’ Tour participants like Rahman.

The two engaged at the sound of the bell, with Rahman crouching as he tried to get inside while Klitschko drilled the challenger with jabs. It was as competitive as the bout would get. In the final minute, Klitschko – more aggressive early than in his recent fights - knocked Rahman off balance with a hard right hand.

Klitschko’s jab continued to control matters in the second, with little coming back from Rahman. For an extended period in the third, Rahman just stood against the ropes with his hands up and took punches, none of any individual consequence, but all adding up, especially on the scorecards.

With a tired and resigned look on his face, Rahman trudged out of his corner for round four, but did nothing to get himself back in the fight.

“Let’s step it up this round and get him on out of here,” said Klitschko’s trainer, Emanuel Steward, between rounds, and while the champion didn’t take Rahman out in the fifth, he continued to add to his lead in one-sided fashion.

Rahman hit the deck for the first time, courtesy of a series of lefts, in the sixth round, but Klitschko wasn’t able to take the challenger out, despite a torrent of increasing punishment.

“Get on him quick,” said Steward, and this time Klitschko obliged, staggering Rahman against the ropes and forcing referee Tony Weeks to halt the mismatch 44 seconds into the seventh.

With the win, Klitschko improves to 52-3 with 46 KOs; Rahman falls to 45-7-2 with 36 KOs.

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