Hasim Rahman: Still in the Picture
By Chris Robinson (November 2, 2004) 
Hasim 'The Rock' Rahman
I’m not one terribly big on analogies, but if I had to compare former Heavyweight Champion Hasim ‘The Rock’ Rahman to another entity I would probably opt for my beloved Philadelphia Eagles. First off I am a fan of both Rahman and the Eagles. Second, I have witnessed both parties achieve a great level of success while also witnessing both parties disappoint on certain occasions.

Just as the Eagles have failed to make it to the Super Bowl in recent years, so has Rahman thwarted my expectations by losing contests I felt he could have easily been in command of. Just like the Eagles have had their Cowboys and Buccaneers holding them back from the big game, Rahman has been beguiled by his own demons such as Ruiz and Holyfield. And despite all of that, both Rahman and the Philadelphia Eagles appear to be on the up and up and well within grasp of their treasured crowns. The Eagles are 7-0 as a team this year while Rahman has won four straight since his loss to John Ruiz over a year ago. But as I said I’m not huge on analogies, so I’ll stop the football talk right there and devote the rest of this article solely to ‘The Rock’.

It was December 13, 2003,and I really had to ask myself how much faith I had left in Hasim Rahman. On this dreadful night the boxing public saw Rahman engage in a terribly sloppy, boring clinch fest with rough-around-the-edges John Ruiz. I had expected Rahman to deliver a knockout in grand fashion but soon saw my expectations sky dive faster than a kamikaze. The fight was doomed from the start and ended in Ruiz’s favor, with the judges tallying it at 118-110, 116-112, and 115-114. Never did I question the thought of jumping Rahman’s bandwagon, but I had to be honest in my assessment of his future place in the sport after such a poor fight.

Many people were writing Rahman off right then and there but I had a feeling he could regroup and become a player again, all I had to do was go back to the start and recall his earlier days. I remembered Rahman against Obed Sullivan, winning a decision and looking any but spectacular yet still showing a certain amount of cunning for a young prospect. Half a dozen wins went by and next for Rahman was a huge HBO date against fellow undefeated prospect David Tua underneath Floyd Mayweather’s beheading of Angel Manfredy.

Rahman looked as good as I had seen him to date, jabbing Tua’s head off, spinning him in circles, and even holding his ground while toe to toe. The fight looked like a lock for Rahman but he was caught with a brutal left hook well after the bell in round 9 and not given any time to recover. The next round Tua came out with his guns blazing and even though Rahman was dodging most of the punches, the contest was called to a halt much to the chagrin of many. After the fight Rahman stated that he had “29 victories and one robbery,” as he obviously felt the fight was stopped prematurely.

Things were up and down from there for The Rock. A few contests down the road he was in a rough battle with Oleg Maskaev before being clipped on the chin and sent flying out of the canvas on his way towards an 8th round TKO loss. He was written off by many, only to return to the championship picture a year and a half later against Lennox Lewis in South Africa. Most of the predictions envisioned Rahman not even lasting past the third round but the Baltimore, Maryland native had other plans. On this night we saw Hasim Rahman shock the world as he scored a huge upset over Lewis, knocking the champ out cold with a beauty of a right hand in the 5th. The up and down rollercoaster ride was once again at great heights, but it wouldn’t last long.

A rematch with Lewis took place in November 2001 and Rahman seemed nervous and outmatched from the start, suffering the same fate as Lewis, as he was knocked out with a brutal right hand shot. Rahman enlisted the services of street wise Bouie Fisher to help get things back on track and returned against Evander Holyfield seven months later. Rahman fell prey to Holyfield’s brawling style, suffering a huge welt over his eye that forced the judges to go to the cards. 69-64, 69-64, and 67-66 was the verdict, and once again Rahman was served a disappointing loss.

In March of 2003 Rahman had a rematch with Tua and fought better than most people expected, even dropping Tua after the bell in the 12th round. It appeared that Rahman did enough to sway the judges, but the contest was called a draw. Still, it was seen as a fight that could give some life back into his career, as many tabbed him a sure knockout victim to Tua. Following the Tua fight was the Ruiz scuffle and that was the last straw for many, as they couldn’t possibly see Rahman coming back from that defeat.

Nearly a year has gone by since the Ruiz fight and Rahman has done some good work out of sight. He has stayed busy, winning four straight contests, with the last three coming by way of knockout. Those performances, and a little help from his promoter Don King, have set up a Nov. 13th date vs. Australian Kali Meehan on the most recent DKP PPV extravaganza. Meehan is fresh off of a disputed loss to Lamon Brewster and there is a lot at stake in the Rahman-Meehan meeting. Meehan will surely make a better dance partner for Rock than did Ruiz, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this fight turns out to be the best fight on the entire card.

From HBO’s Boxing After Dark airwaves, to back to back crushing knockout losses, to winning the Heavyweight title in spectacular fashion and losing it his next fight, Hasim Rahman surely knows the ups and downs that come along with being a prizefighter. He has had his share of thrilling moments all the while mixed in with a good amount of heartbreaking setbacks. At the moment Rahman is on the up and up, and he has defied his detractors’ odds by once again getting back into the big Heavyweight picture. Things are good for now, but how long he stays in the picture is up to him.
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