By Chris Robinson
Updated: November 3, 2004

Hasim 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 as well. 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 that 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’ 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.

After the Ruiz fight I noticed most of the boxing public had written Rahman off for good, stating if he couldn’t get by Ruiz then his title aspirations were merely pipe dreams. I couldn’t go that route and instead sat back and thought of Rahman’s career and all its ups and downs. From his first HBO Boxing After Dark appearances to the now infamous ‘punch after the bell’ incident with David Tua in which he lost by 10th round TKO after he appeared to be somewhat dominating the fight up until that point. A short hiatus and then the Oleg Maskaev tragedy. A good, honest scrap that Rahman appeared to be pulling out and all of a sudden BOOM! A right hand flush on the chin sends Rahman out of the ring for the count. That punch by Maskaev was a pinpoint shot that handed Rahman his second loss.

After that Rahman was in the shadows a bit, not making a whole lot of noise until he would return. South Africa would be the location and it would be Rahman’s finest moment as a pro in April 2001. The beauty of a right hand that sent champion Lennox Lewis to the canvas and saw the Heavyweight Championship become possession of the Baltimore, Maryland fighter. But as often is the case in boxing, the celebration was short lived and the script would be flipped half a year later. This time it would be Lewis landing the thunder, cracking Rahman with a deadly right hand that had Rock all but out. A taste of sweet revenge for Lewis and a harsh taste of his own right hand medicine for Rahman.

A comeback fight against Evander Holyfield in June of 2002 also proved disastrous as the old vet muscled and bullied Rahman early in the night to build a lead. Rahman began working his way back into the fight, only to receive a massive swelling over his eye from a headbutt that stopped the contest and saw Holyfield take the win on the judges cards.

A rematch with Tua in March 2003 saw Rahman come in heavy for the weigh in yet still fight a solid fight, even managing to drop Tua after the bell in the 12th round. The judges saw the fight a draw but it appeared that Rahman had done enough to not only win the fight but also perhaps rejuvenate his career. Yet just as things were in his favor, Rahman would once again be dealt a bad hand as the next man he would be seeing across the ring would be John Ruiz. As mentioned earlier, that fight wasn’t pretty at all to watch and had you wondering how solid the Rock was at this stage of his career.

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 WBO champ 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 frustrating 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.