Hasim Rahman’s Journey Back To The Heavyweight Title

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 15, 2004

NEW YORK — Hasim Rahman (40-5-1, 32 KOs) took a major leap toward regaining the world heavyweight championship by knocking out Kali Meehan (29-3, 23 KOs) in the fourth-round on the Don King promoted “Battle for Supremacy” heavyweight card at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Rahman’s spectacular win earns him the WBC No. 1-ranking.

“This is what you’re going to see from me from now on-fighting hard from round one to twelve,” Rahman said. “I stepped it up. I watched one tape of this guy and I knew I had to go get him.”

When Rahman knocked out Lennox Lewis to win the WBC/IBF heavyweight titles in April 2001 in Johannesburg, South Africa, he made several huge mistakes.

Rahman did not sign a multi-fight contract with either HBO or Showtime – boxing’s two premiere cable networks before entering his rematch with Lewis. Signing with a network would have guaranteed millions of dollars for at least two fights in the event he lost to Lewis in a rematch.

Rahman, who had a psychological edge over Lewis, was a sitting duck as he allowed Lewis to knock him out in an uncompetitive, one-sided contest. Once Lewis regained the titles, there was no commitment from HBO, Showtime, or anyone else to work with Rahman.

The one creditable thing Rahman did during his brief seven-month stint as world heavyweight champion was sign a promotional deal with Don King. That deal has helped Rahman gain opportunities fight on HBO televised bouts as he attempts to regain the one prize he was fortunate to win, but perhaps destined to lose – the heavyweight championship.

After losing elimination bouts to Evander Holyfield (2002) and a 12-round decision to John Ruiz for the vacant/interim WBA heavyweight title (2003), Rahman refocused, regrouped, and rededicated himself to training hard and fighting frequently in non-televised bouts.

While fighters like Wladimir Klitschko, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield fell off the radar and Lennox Lewis’ retirement, Rahman won all five of his fights in 2004 to earn the No. 1-ranked position in the WBC.

“I’ll fight (Vitali) Klitschko or either one of these champions. Whoever brings the most money to the table will make the most sense. We are ready to fight for the title. I am only going to be better my next fight.”

Against Meehan, Rahman resembled the style that led to his title victory against Lewis. Looking trim at 232 pounds, Rahman used his bulging arms to rip hard left jabs and overhand rights upside Meehan’s head.

Similar to his first fight with Lewis, Rahman punished Meehan repeatedly against the ropes until finally pummeling his foe into submission. Rahman landed 47 of 61 power shots in the fourth en route to a TKO stoppage.

Rahman looked great against Meehan. However, its important that he’s in 100% shape foe each of his fights. Rahman’s arms are so huge that if he’s not in shape fighting at 245, 250 plus pounds, he can only throw one punch at a time. That could spell trouble if he fought WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko or even IBF champion Chris Byrd, who is good at blocking punches and throwing fast combinations.

Rahman has the power to dethrone a fighter like Ruiz, the WBA champion. But Rahman also has a tendency to lose his focus, which what cost him, the world heavyweight title.