Has the fight world given Rahman too much credit and forgotten about ‘Two Gunz’ Barrett?
By "Big Dog" Benny Henderson Jr. (August 2, 2005)  
Monte Barrett
Talk… talk… talk! That’s all the boxing world has heard the past few months. Rahman this, Klitschko that, let’s sue him and blame each other for whatever reason. With all this yip-yapping about a possible showdown between ‘The Rock’ and the elder Klitschko, one man has been left out in the cold.

Has Rahman forgotten that his next opponent is actually Monte Barrett and not Vitali Klitschko? That his next bout is not in September but August 13th in Chicago, Ill. Right, you get the picture, but has Rahman?

To overlook any opponent is just plain ignorant and it is not in Rahman’s best interest to think too far a head. No, I am not calling Rahman ignorant or stupid, nor am I suggesting any negative terms towards the fighter or the man; I’m just plain and simply stating that he has been given way too much credit for some feat he accomplished over four years ago by stopping Lennox Lewis. The year is 2005 and you are not fighting in South Africa, you are not facing Lewis, and you certainly aren’t the answer to the division. Sorry to burst your bubble, but somebody had to do it.

Let’s look at Monte Barrett, you know Rahman’s ‘real’ opponent. What we have here is a thirty-four year old tough as nails throwback fighter who isn’t afraid to box and is always willing to brawl if required. A great inside fighter who is highly dedicated to his career and has a great opportunity at hand by being overlooked by his opponent. No, Rahman isn’t a walk in the park nor will he be for Monte, but Barrett understands that, he knows the task at hand and that is all he knows. Barrett isn’t this hard-hitting heavyweight steamrolling the division, but he is wiry and is in no way a pushover to be overlooked.

Barrett broke out in the fight world the summer of ’96 stopping his first three opponents with first round knockouts. He beat the usual suspects gaining experience and honing his skills against the likes of Jeff Pegues (TKO1), Greg Page (UD10) and earned the vacant WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title by defeating veteran Phil Jackson (UD12) before dropping his first loss to Lance Whitaker in ’98. His darkest moment came 2000 when he was floored five times by the hard-hitting and very talented Wladimir Klitschko. In that fight Barrett tried his best but his best wouldn’t do, yet try he did. Barrett’s last defeat was the controversial loss at the hands of Joe Mesi back in December ’03.

Since that point Barrett has defeated two undefeated heavyweight prospects: Dominick Guinn, who he defeated by a ten round split decision, was highly regarded at that time; and Owen Beck, who was floored three times before the fight ended in the ninth, was coming off a four knockout win streak. Together the two had a combined record of 48-0 (35) with 15 first round KO’s, but Barrett was the spoiler.

Sure, Rahman is a hard hitter. He has thirty-three knockouts including twelve in the first round, he was the second man to stop Lennox Lewis, he stopped Corrie Sanders in seven rounds, he was at one time the ‘The Man’, at least till the Lewis rematch, and he still does deserve respect. But what on earth has he done since that fateful night in South Africa to be feared among the division? Who has he defeated since that point to even conceive the thought that a thirty-four year old 6’7½” man (who by the way happens to be ‘THE Man’ of the hour in the heavyweight division and who has knocked out thirty-four out of his thirty-five opponents with his only two losses coming from injuries and who hasn’t even tasted the canvas in nine years as a pro, or 156 rounds if my calculations are correct), is running scared?

Losing to a forty-something year old man (Evander Holyfield) and the most lovable heavyweight in recent history (John Ruiz), and defeating the likes of Al Cole, Mario Cawley, Terrence Lewis and Rob Calloway who have a combined record of 135-41-5 at the time Rahman beat them doesn’t make him King freaking Kong! Yes, Rahman did beat the piss out of Kali Meehan, who gave WBO champ Lamon Brewster a run for his money, but that doesn’t define Hasim Rahman as the chosen one my friend.

This hoopla about Rahman getting the shot at Vitali Klitschko in September is almost hilarious. No, I am not saying that Rahman won’t be the one to face Klitschko if all goes well in August, but that is the deal, he has a fight in August and the last time I checked my calendar August comes before September.

Look, I am not saying that Rahman isn’t worthy of anything, I don’t dab into the rankings just to find reason why any fighter is where he is in them. All I am saying is that the fight world including Rahman has seem to have forgotten about the North Carolina native, the #2 man in the WBC, #4 in the WBA & WBO, positions that Monte Barrett worked hard to earn. Let’s look at the big picture here, regardless if you could care less for this match-up, it does have some credit to it with the winner destined to face Vitali Klitschko. But let’s not just jump to conclusion and give Rahman the title shot. Heck, if you want my pick, I think Rahman has a great chance at winning this fight; he is bigger, not taller, but he is stronger, but that doesn’t necessarily give him the W. It has to be earned.

So give credit where credit is due, and let’s not forget at this time that there are two fighters in this equation.
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