In anticipation of the August 12 heavyweight title fight between Hasim Rahman and Oleg Maskaev, The Rock, his co-managers and promoter Bob Arum met the press via telephone conference call. This is what went down…
BOB ARUM: As we get ready for the fight, August 12, Maskaev was on a conference call yesterday and today is The Rock’s turn. We’re very, very excited about this fight, should be a great fight. The response has been terrific and all signals are go. On the call we have – in addition to Hasim Rahman, the heavy weight champion of the world, there’s call managers, Steve Nelson and Ya Ya Caso. So let me introduce to you now, the heavyweight champion, Hasim Rahman.
HASIM RAHMAN: OK, thanks Bob. I just thank everybody for taking their time out being here and just assure everybody they going to get an exciting fight on August 12th.
KEVIN IOLE, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Yes, I just wanted to ask you – the confidence that your – have in your brother in the corner brings and, you know, kind of what he’s able to do for you, just knowing that you have a family member there working for you in the corner in the night of the fight.
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, it’s not only, you know, that’s he’s a family member. It’s – the man is a doctor, I know that, you know, he – any – anything that happens to me that – in a fight is nothing that he hasn’t seen before or he can’t diagnose. Pretty much the Holyfield fight is what really sealed the deal, what make me think that I need him in my corner because when – when my head is swelled up like that with the hematoma nobody really – could really tell me what was going on. And, me and my brother being a surgeon, he could’ve – easy, when I got out of the ring he could’ve came to me, he easy told me exactly what it was. And, when I went to the hospital seeing other doctors, they just repeated what he said. So whatever happens, it’s nothing that he hasn’t seen, it’s nothing he’s not capable of dealing with. So that just shows me that if I get cut, it’s no problem for him, you know what I mean? He’s fast to cut and he take me in the back after the fight and stitch me up right away, I don’t have to go to the hospital whatever. So therefore I, you know, whatever I do in the process if I do get cut, I’ll be spiffed up in a few minutes and I’ll be there for the press conference.
KEVIN IOLE: Do you feel like the Holyfield fight had, yes, (INAUDIBLE) in your corner that you would’ve won that fight?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I think the fight would’ve continued because he would’ve – he would’ve just told me exactly what it was, nice and calm, and straight and direct and told me what kind of danger I was or was not in. And, I think that it would’ve been – it would’ve been nothing else on my mind and we would’ve disputed anything that anybody else tried to do. But, you know, when you – when you get something like that over here, then you don’t have any idea what’s going on. You know, I don’t know, you know, what, I had never seen anything like that. But, I mean he sees it all the time, he saw it all the time, he’s very familiar with it.
So he just told me don’t worry about, told me exactly how long it was going to take to do this and drain it and I don’t want to have to do anything and no surgery was required. And, I mean that’s nice to know when you right there – is no – is no panic for me, you know? I mean, he just keep everything calm. So, I mean, it’s definitely amazing asset for me, and I think only nothing but doctors should be in the corner as a cutman, if you ask me.
KEVIN IOLE: And then finally, just the psychological aspect, obviously Maskaev is camping it up -- trying to play up the fact that, you know, you were knocked out by him and knocked out of the ring, that yesterday was the padding around the ring floor and everything. How do you react to those, does it anger you or is it motivating you?
HASIM RAHMAN: Not at all, neither of – neither, I mean I don’t need anymore motivation but that incident in ’99. I mean, it’s not Maskaev, it’s to me is Dennis Rappaport coming out because, you know, he’s trying to play mind games with me. But, I mean you can’t play mind games with me because, you know it don’t matter whatever he says. I mean why would they be trying to play mind games with me at this point? It’s a waste of time. In fact, you know, I maintain a Maskaev to (INAUDIBLE) fight to me. In fact, he came right back couple fights later and got knocked out the ring himself. So, I mean, what do – who does the padding – who is the padding needed for? Maskaev is not a better fighter than me, he simply went on and fought less competition than I have since we fought and I feel better against the better competition than had. So, you know, I mean, as you fought – any top ten guy says he fought me? I don’t think so, and if he did he’s Sinan Samil Sam, but I don’t really think that he’s a consistent Top-10 guy. So I don’t see where he even fought a world class fighter since he fought me. But, we’ll see, you know, we’ll see. I’m happy that they – they in real good shape, I’m in real good shape, and proof is in the pudding. We’re going to see on August 12. I tell you what, one bet (ph), that rank ain’t got to make no difference in they – in they plan. Whatever plans they got for me, we can just march right over because we going march right over Oleg Maskaev.
DAN RAFAEL, ESPN.COM: Rock, can you talk just a little bit – you mentioned the first fight, you called it an incident from 1999. Can you just go over your mindset going into that fight and what you think led to the fact that he was able to knock you out in a fight that you were clearly winning?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, in 1999 I was supposed to fight Kirk Johnson on HBO, young, undefeated prospect, somebody who I viewed as a legitimate threat. Upon me being in training camp, training really hard for Kirk Johnson, Kirk Johnson pulls out of the fight. The replacement was supposedly Zeljko Maorvic, who I just saw go 12 hard rounds with Lennox Lewis and it looked like Lennox couldn’t hurt him with anything he threw. Another hard fight, which made me just want to stay at camp and train that much harder. To probably try to do something Lennox couldn’t do. Then, this guy pulled out of the fight or didn’t accept the fight. So Lennox tells me Oleg Maskaev is the replacement, so to me I thought HBO was just trying to fill a date and they going to just put whoever they can put there, you know? Oleg Maskaev, all I know from him was he got knocked out one round by Oliver McCall and I seen David Tua stop him Lee. So, I mean to me I just – to me I just really hit an easy time with David Tua and I wouldn’t let them get knocked out by all of us. So I said well they give me a cake, a piece of cake.
So I left training camp, went home to my daughter’s birthday and never returned to training camp and just proceed to train myself and do whatever I wanted to do. And then, a week before the fight, I think my trainer finally caught up with me …
DAN RAFAEL: How quick – how much before training camp – how much before the fight did you dug out of camp?
HASIM RAHMAN: Probably about three weeks.
DAN RAFAEL: And you didn’t go back?
HASIM RAHMAN: NO.
DAN RAFAEL: OK.
HASIM RAHMAN: So, I mean I did what I wanted to do and I mean I would – it seemed to me, I thought I had a heavy weight explosion type fighter in front of me, so it was going to be a easy fight. And, I fought the fight like it was going to be an easy fight, I wasn’t – I wasn’t ready for a hard fight. I didn’t know Oleg Maskaev …
HASIM RAHMAN: … was pretending, was somebody a legitimate threat.
HASIM RAHMAN: So I didn’t know he was (INAUDIBLE) …
HASIM RAHMAN: Oh, I got it – I got it. I didn’t know he was a legitimate contender.
HASIM RAHMAN: And, you know, I paid the price for it. But, if he – if he – if he really – if you really survey the fight and look at our career set, I mean, he took – he clearly took more punishment in that fight than I did. And, I came back and fought tough guys right after that, you know, I fought tough guys right after that like, you know, people was like well Rock was done and they tested me immediately and I passed the test, and then passed the test every shit (ph).
DAN RAFAEL: Rock, that right hand that landed that put you out of the ring, was that – I mean have you been hit by a better shot than that in your career in your opinion, whether it may be a Lennox Lewis rematch or other fights that you may have won, is that the worse shot you’ve ever taken?
HASIM RAHMAN: No, I don’t think it was the worse shot I ever taken because for one, he hurt me with a right hand right before that.
DAN RAFAEL: Yes.
HASIM RAHMAN: And, that set up that right hand. But, the reason why I say it’s not the best shot I ever taken or I don’t really give that much credibility to it is because of the condition I was in. And, if I was in better condition and he hit me with that right hand and it had the same effect, then I’d be giving him all the props in the world.
And maybe, you know, I wouldn’t, you know – it wouldn’t be – it wouldn’t be like so easy for me to want to get right back in there because I’d be like well what else can I do, you know? But, I really didn’t do anything and fought this guy.
DAN RAFAEL: Do you remember the knock out and remember falling out of the ring and all that?
HASIM RAHMAN: Yes, sir.
DAN RAFAEL: And, what do you remember about that – and when you see it because they’ve been playing it over and over on the commercials and on the previews and all that?
HASIM RAHMAN: I just hope that just make people want to come see what’s going happen for this fight.
DAN RAFAEL: So when you see it, it doesn’t make you …
HASIM RAHMAN: Not at all.
DAN RAFAEL: … think about it or embarrassed …
HASIM RAHMAN: Don’t make me embarrassed, it don’t make me anything because it is what it is, it happened in 1999. I went on and became two time heavy weight championships then. And so, I mean, obviously it didn’t – it wasn’t no lingering effect on me mentally, because I got it in with much bigger punchers and much better fighters.
DAN RAFAEL: Dennis Rappaport says you stay awake at night, can’t sleep, sweating because you think about it. Is he just, you know, trying to hype the fight?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I mean – what do you think?
DAN RAFAEL: I’m asking you, I’m (INAUDIBLE).
HASIM RAHMAN: I mean, and that’s the most rhetorical question I ever heard in my life. Obviously I don’t – I don’t – I don’t – I don’t study that at all because I clearly know what it was and why it was, and how it was. You know, he got that all because I allowed him to give it all. I came into the – into the fight grossly under prepared. So, I mean he did what he’s supposed to do.
DAN RAFAEL: And, have you wanted a rematch then?
HASIM RAHMAN: Yes, let me – let me get the verdict straight on something else because I hear people saying that, you know, that I – when I was – when I was – when I got this WBC title I could’ve – I could’ve fooled Maskaev out of a toenail (ph), I elected to fight Toney. It wasn’t – I wasn’t – I didn’t choose who I had to fight.
WBC mandated me to fight James Toney first and then Oleg Maskaev and that. So, you know, if it was up to me I would’ve fought Maskaev immediately.
CHUCK JOHNSON, USA TODAY: Just want to ask you how much stock you putting in this fight being viewed as America’s last line of defense?
HASIM RAHMAN: Patriotic, that’s what it is. It is what it is. I mean, look around you. All the other belt holders are not American and they trying to get a clean sweep. So, you know, they going to send me out there to represent my country and I will do that.
CHUCK JOHNSON: So, I mean, do you – do you feel added responsibility being the last recognized American champ right now?
HASIM RAHMAN: Yes, I do.
CHUCK JOHNSON: And what – in what respect?
HASIM RAHMAN: That I need to hold it down for my country. I feel like, you know, I’m not – if I lose this fight, I let me down, my family down, my team down, and my country down. I never before have I felt like I put my country on my back, and I’m fighting for my country, solely for my country. And, I feel like I’m – I mean I can’t allow this to happen, I can’t allow them to get a clean sweep.
CHUCK JOHNSON: OK. So, I mean in sa (ph) of giving them this position, I mean before – just a year ago, I mean, it wasn’t like the Russians weren’t in control of the heavy weight division. Why do you think it’s happened like this, Rock?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, they not in the control of the heavy weight division right now, let me clear that out.
CHUCK JOHNSON: OK.
HASIM RAHMAN: (INAUDIBLE), right now.
CHUCK JOHNSON: All right.
HASIM RAHMAN: So, you know, but they coming. They trying to be in control of the division. I think that – not just the Russians, but just around the world in every sport that people are catching up. I mean, you know, we got – we and the NBA, supposedly have the best basketball players in the world, they didn’t win Olympic Gold. The world baseball classic, I mean, that’s America’s pastime, baseball. We didn’t win the WBC.
CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes.
HASIM RAHMAN: I mean, we didn’t win a world baseball classic.
CHUCK JOHNSON: Right.
HASIM RAHMAN: So I don’t think it’s just boxing.
CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes.
HASIM RAHMAN: I just think that these sports are world renown now. Everybody’s practicing in everywhere, so, I mean, it’s – they bound to get better sooner or later and provide more competition. I mean, so I don’t think it’s just boxing solely, I think it’s everywhere people making a statement and they getting better.
CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes.
HASIM RAHMAN: You know, I mean – so they sending they best all the time. So, I mean I don’t think it’s just boxing, I just think it’s everywhere, they getting better, (INAUDIBLE).
CHUCK JOHNSON: (INAUDIBLE) just straight up and whatnot. Do you think, as far as intermingling with the American fighters are helping these Russian fighters become better as well?
HASIM RAHMAN: Oh, absolutely and that’s what they doing. They coming and getting – they taking the best of both sides. They taking what works for them, as far of their European style and then they mixing a little bit of the American style in there and learning to do more things. And, I think it’s been very successful for them.
CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes, Maskaev mentioned that. They also taken on the kind of American type attitude. It’s kind of like, you know, like a lot of boxers come from street backgrounds, you know, a little, got a little gangster in them. They’re taking on that kind of personality as well. Have you – have you seen that?
HASIM RAHMAN: Not at all.
CHUCK JOHNSON: No? OK.
HASIM RAHMAN: No, they don’t get out of order with me so I don’t need – as long as they don’t get out of order with me where I don’t need to address none of that.
CHUCK JOHNSON: All right – all right. So what – what do you see different about Rock Manufact (ph) Maskaev in 1999 now, I mean what – how are you different, Rock?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I mean, I was just a wild young gunslinger thinking I was, you know, strong and thinking that I – be, you know, just cocky, arrogant, thinking nobody could beat me. And, I just went out there thinking I’m going to knock everybody out. But, now I know what to do, I know those – the importance of a jab, I know how to set things up. I can see – I can see clearly what he’s trying to do, I can really recognize his attack and try to blunt it,
whereas those end (ph) I couldn’t recognize anything he was trying to do. I just was going out there, I got in line first and that’s it.
FRANKLIN McNEIL, NEWARK STAR-LEDGER: Hey, quick question. How is it, Rock, in this fight going to be different than the Rock who forefayed (ph) the monte (ph), being in the last two fights, Monte Barrett and James Toney. Will you be any different in this fight? Will you approach it any different?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I maintain that if I have two different opponents in front of me, you might’ve seen a much more exciting fighter. Basically styles makes fight. If I got a guy who was really, you know, really moving and – and really not really trying to engage in the fight, it might not make for the most exciting fight. If I got a guy who’s defensively probably the best heavy weight fighter out there, that might not make for the most exciting fight. But, if I got a guy who feels as though he’s going to knock me out and come in and try to knock me out and then go and stand in front of me, that’s going to make for an exciting fight. So I believe that styles make fights and I got this style, he has the style that make for an exciting fight.
FRANKLIN MCNEIL: As far as everyone talking about the knockout in ’99, is this a statement fight for you?
HASIM RAHMAN: Absolutely, I get the chance to defend – to defend my title, to avenge the loss, to hold it down for my country. I’m definitely going to make a big statement in this fight.
FRANKLIN MCNEIL: Is revenge a factor?
HASIM RAHMAN: Of course.
ROBERT MORALES, LA DAILY NEWS GROUP: Listen, actually most of my questions were already asked, but I did want to ask you one thing. In regards to the Toney fight, were you happy with your performance or do you think you could’ve done a little bit more to make it, you know, to actually win the fight and there not be any, you know, controversy about, you know, because nobody likes a draw, especially not in a title fight.
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I – I’m – the – my answer is two fold. I am happy with my performance and I also do think I could’ve done more to make it more decisive. But, I mean I definitely think that the deck was stacked against me. When I look over and I look at – and my corner is just myself and Bob Arum, and I look at Don King and Al Haymon and Dan Goossen, and everybody’s in his corner. And, I felt like James Toney, you know, is a tough fighter and I think I went in and fought him on the inside and I hustled him and worked him.
And, if he hit me with shots, but every shot he hit me with, I threw three, four, five shots to count it at. The man went to the hospital for two and a half weeks after that fight, I just went home and relaxed. So they want to call it a draw they call it a draw. No judge (ph) said, tell him winning, two judges saw the draw, one judge saw me winning, and to me it’s not my first draw, but I definitely think I never fought a draw.
Both draws I have on my record, I clearly think I won the fight. So I’m OK with it. But, if and when we do fight again, I will do more and I will make it a more one-sided fight and we’ll, and, you know, and serve (ph) more dominance in the fight.
TIM SMITH, NY DAILY NEWS: Just wanted to ask if you thought that from his perspective, since he knocked you out, he’d be more confident, do you think he’s going to come right after you? And, if you were in the same position as he was, if you had a knockout over a guy, regardless of whatever you felt the circumstances were, would you take the same approach? Would you go right after that guy thinking that you got that guy’s number?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I mean, it depends because – it depends on what happened to me in my career, you know? Or how would I do because he’s been knocked out by guys that I knock out in the gym on a regular basis. So, I mean, my confidence is up if you look at it from that – if I look at it from that point of view. Guy (ph) didn’t knock timall (ph), you know, can’t even last for me in the gym, I mean I put him to sleep in the gym. So, I don’t know if his confidence is – where his confidence is. I hope his confidence is high, I hope he does come right at me because Bob ain’t going play me by the round. So, I mean, you know, if I can get him out of there in one round, that’s fine with me, I’m going be all moving to something else like well come on, can we fight next week, can we fight next month?
TIM SMITH: But, I thought Bob had a clause in there, he was paying you for the round?
BOB ARUM: Oh, no – no, no.
TIM SMITH: If you don’t last one round (INAUDIBLE) a dollar you get.
HASIM RAHMAN: Those are – we going go in, he said …
BOB ARUM: I told him if he knocks him out I’ll go and eat a good meal.
HASIM RAHMAN: That’s right, he going take me get something to eat, there you go.
TIM SMITH: That – now, this is not from a – from a standpoint of advancing anything in the heavy weight division. This just seems like a fight that a treadmill kind of fight. I mean, I’m wondering how do you look at it – does it fit into your idea of unifying the titles or becoming, you know, the man in the heavy weight division or, I mean where does this fight fit into the overall grand scheme of, you know, heavy weight domination or a dominant heavy weight?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I disagree with you on the fact that it’s a treadmill fight. I think that I – the performance, and if I come out and put on a dominant performance like I plan to put on, then I think it’s going – definitely I will move further ahead. And, I think that I – the ultimate fight for me is for Bob to go ahead and get Klitschko and make Rahman-Klitschko, simple as that. That’s what’s – that’s what’s on my mind, that’s what I need, I think that’s what the public needs, that’s what everybody needs for clarity because I’m not even interested in the other two belts because nobody could ever defend all four belts anyway. And, unless somebody come up with a tournament with one belt and one champion, that’s going be always the champion, nobody can ever defend all those mandatories (ph) and the script and this and that and the other and paying all those entry fees, I’m not interested in that. What I am interested in is Wladimir Klitschko, he’s the only guy that everybody ever says the best guy – I disagree with people saying that because of his choices. But, you know, I accept it and if I got – that’s what I got to go through to be the man, I’m willing to do that.
LEM SATTERFIELD, BALTIMORE SUN: OK, Rock mentioned earlier that you continue with your plans for him and he just made a reference to Klitschko, can you first of all express and reiterate why you are so confident in him and that he got you in the heavy weight division and maybe shed a little light on your plan?
BOB ARUM: Well number one, you know, I been around this game for over 40 years now. And, one thing I know with fighters that if there’s so many outside distractions, if they’re fighting with their managers or promoters they can’t concentrate on what they have to do, they lose focus. And, Rock has been through most of his career, a situation where, you know, situations where his promoters were causing distractions and therefore he couldn’t perform to the best of his ability. So when we decided to go in together, Rahman and ourselves, we told him that the one thing he would never have to worry about was us. That he could forget about it, that we’re on his side, that we will work together, and that we will do everything to make the pot as big as possible. So he – that’s like a rock off his back and we know that he has the ability to be a first class world class, on the historic basis, heavy weight. And, this is his opportunity to do it, and he will have the opportunity. And, I think he will beat any of the heavy weights out there. He’ll beat Maskaev, hopefully we’ll be able to do another fight before the end of this year. And then, I’ve had expansive discussions with Shelly Finkel about a Klitschko fight sometime within the first four months of next year.
LEM SATTERFIELD: OK. Has anything happened in the time that you’ve been with him to believe – to make you believe that this won’t happen? I mean, he seems, you know, I was and I saw what (INAUDIBLE), you know, great condition, he seems real focused, he seems to have cleaned some things out, you know, that he needed to do. Is that consistent with what you’ve seen or do you – are you still confident?
BOB ARUM: All we can do is do number one, treat him as the heavyweight champion that he is. Number two, avoid any kind of distractions or controversy with us. Give him a clear path. And, that’s what we’ve done. I, you know, the rest of it, he’s a very intelligent guy as you all know and he understands what he has to do to be recognized as the top heavy weight in the world.
LEM SATTERFIELD: And Rock, can you just shed some light on your relationship and how things have gone since you’ve signed with Bob?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I mean I don’t – I think that if I had to recommend a promoter or a promotional company our outfit (ph) to anybody, you know, I’ve been with it – with a couple and I’ve heard stories about a couple. But, this has been absolutely the way to go. I mean, I can’t – I can’t really give enough praise to Bob. I mean Bob and I don’t go out to the movies, we don’t hang out, we don’t go to clubs, we don’t gamble, anything like that.
But, one thing I tell you, everything that the man tells me has been right on and he hit it – he hit the nail on the head when he – when he tell you promotionally, you know, he make sure that everything is taken care of. If there’s anything not taken care of and if it’s – I mean I don’t even have to make a phone call because everything is taken care of. If he tells me it’s cheese on the moon, I just bring my crackers and that’s just how it’s been. You know, I mean, and I can’t – I can’t complain, I respect Top Rank for that because that’s the way you do it. And, the biggest – the biggest thing that he said was that they know how to treat the heavyweight champion, they make me feel like I’m the heavy weight champion. Not just because when Bob sees me he gets loud and let everybody know (INAUDIBLE), heavyweight champion – heavyweight champion. No, he do with his actions, he do it what he says, he comes through with, and he makes sure that, you know, we talk about everything and he sets the plan in motion and he put the orders on me, no, Rock. I can do this, do this, do that never for you, but all I ask from you is you to go out and win. And so, if that’s all that – if that’s the only thing I got to do then I’m fine with that. And, I mean I appreciate Top Rank for that. So, I mean, it’s no pressure on me but to go out and win. I don’t really have to worry about this, I don’t really have to worry about that. I know when I’m at that fight everything is going to be, everything what he said. So I’m definitely cooler than the fan (ph) with my situation with Top Rank.
TRAE THOMPSON, FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM: Hey, quick question, go back to what you mentioned earlier with Klitschko. So as far as I – are there guys in the division who are exciting, got some talent, is that the one guy like, that you’re saying hey, I want a piece of him?
HASIM RAHMAN: Absolutely, that’s what I’m saying.
TRAE THOMPSON: Oh, OK.
HASIM RAHMAN: One belt is passe.
TRAE THOMPSON: Quick question too, other people have mentioned all the Russians too about just them having all the other titles. What is it about them specifically that they do well as far as style wise, technique wise, how would you break it down?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well I don’t think – I just think they solid and they train hard and they don’t take things for granted and they don’t have any distractions that most of American heavy weights have. I think a lot of American heavy weights get it twisted that as soon as we get a little bit of success, then we want to go out and buy a bunch of jewelry and a bunch of cars and be at everything and let everybody know we are somebody and we’ve accomplished something, when in actuality we really haven’t accomplished anything. And, I think that we move a little too fast, as opposed to those guys they stay hungry and they – and they – and they stay on the quest. And, I think that’s why they get a little more success because they not Americanized, if you will, to the point whereas though it’s hurting their career.
EDUARDO OHATA, FOLHA DE S. PAULO: Mr. Rahman , they say that the state of boxing follows the heavyweight division, what would mean – what would happen to boxing if there was no American heavyweight champion?
HASIM RAHMAN: I don’t – I don’t – I don’t see that happening. So I don’t even really know how to answer that question.
EDUARDO OHATA: OK. And, how do you – how do you reacted to the fact that from when the people say that you are inconsistent?
HASIM RAHMAN: Oh, well I agree with them. You know, I mean I agree with them. But, the same way they label me as inconsistent in the past, they going to have to start to label me as consistent because I will constantly come in with my weight good, with my ability to throw punches good, my conditioning excellent and I’m going to stay with it. So the same way you get labeled as inconsistent is the same way you get labeled as consistent. It depends on how you do and what you do over a period of time. So, as I got six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 12, fights that I’m consistently in shape and good and winning, then, you know, that’s how you shed the label. So I haven’t shed any label, but I mean I don’t have a problem with people saying I’m inconsistent because if I take inventory of my own career, I would have to agree with them.
EDUARDO OHATA: OK, and one last question. How did the separation get to the point of America in danger of it not having a American heavy weight champion?
HASIM RAHMAN: Oh, we’re not in danger.
CHUCK JOHNSON, USA TODAY: You know what, I was talking with Don King. How much credit do you give him for getting you in this position this year and right now?
HASIM RAHMAN: None – none.
CHUCK JOHNSON: None? OK. He calls you a traitor, is there any validity to that?
HASIM RAHMAN: Well I guess, you know, I’ll put it to you like this, and this all I’m going to say on it. I’m getting ready to fight Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali Klitschko. I owe the IRS some money, the remainder of the money, I can pay the IRS their money, me and Don can come up with a nice amicable split where both us can be happy and we can move on and get the title and go on and move on together like promoter and fighter should do. I wake up the next morning and see Don King sues me, he don’t call me, he doesn’t do anything. He sues me for the other half of the money. So if you want me to go and fight, risk my life and fight for the world title and – for free, but you my partner, we on teams and, you know, something wrong with that picture. And, if you want to say who traded on who, I didn’t sue Don, he sued me. So, you know, I mean Don really got to stop trying to rewrite history because his remixes is always slightly tainted in his favor. But, it is what it is, he sued me, I didn’t sue him. So who’s the traitor?
CHUCK JOHNSON: But, he said he claims also that you used the bankruptcy court to get out the contract and he says that you really weren’t bankrupt.
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I mean, if I wasn’t – if I wasn’t then I wouldn’t be allowed to do this, this is America.
CHUCK JOHNSON: Right.
HASIM RAHMAN: Said I’m only in America.
CHUCK JOHNSON: All right, appreciate it. All right.
DAN RAFAEL, ESPN: Hey Rock. I wanted to follow up. There’s been a lot of discussion on the call about, you know, the America’s last under the fence theme of the fight and Oleg Maskaev, yesterday, made a, you know, quite a point to say that he’s been an American citizen for several years and that Dennis Rappaport, whoever wins the fight’s going to be America’s – depending these stock and the fact that even though although he’s from eastern Europe (INAUDIBLE), but he’s still an American citizen, that whoever wins the fight is still going to be an American. Even if, you know, I know you expect to win. But, the point would be that an American will still hold the title.
HASIM RAHMAN: Well how about this, let me get a little bit more specific. I don’t really care where he’s from, how long he’s been here, this American will hold the title.
DAN RAFAEL: OK, so he’s, you mean his point was he was taking a little bit of offense to the fact that they had named the belt that – or named the fight that, given that possibly that he would win. But, it would not be an American fight. But, you don’t – you don’t see any point to that – to that title being …
HASIM RAHMAN: Yes, I don’t really study nothing that Dennis says or Oleg says or whatever. I mean, if his feeling hurt, his feeling hurt. You know, I don’t care. His body going hurt on the 12th.
ROBERT JONES, PREMIER ROUND (ph): I was just wondering if the Klitschko fight didn’t pan out or if it was going to take, you know, a little longer to get together if you’d be interested in fighting someone else you already fought, like Toney or to even John Ruiz.
HASIM RAHMAN: I put it to you like this, I give my promoter the green light, all you got to do is get me an opponent. Whoever the opponent is, he don’t even have to tell me who the opponent is. All he got to do is tell me we got a fight on such and such date, and I’m sure that that’s a promoter’s dream that’s all they got to do. They don’t got to fuss and argue with the fighter. Whoever he wants me to fight, that’s who we fight. It don’t really matter to me. I know I can prepare myself – as long as you give me enough time to prepare. I know I can prepare myself to beat any man in this world.
ROBERT JONES: All right. I know for a while you got really big into lifting weights and I was – with your brother I believe, right?
HASIM RAHMAN: Yes.
ROBERT JONES: Were you – are you – do you still do that at all when you’re training or do you gone away from that? (INAUDIBLE).
HASIM RAHMAN: I lift weights when I’m not in training camp for a fight, you know.
ROBERT JONES: OK.
HASIM RAHMAN: Once I – once I go into training camp, I leave it – the weights alone.
ROBERT JONES: All right. And, does – I had a question. I was just wondering how you got into boxing? I wrote, I mean I wrote an interesting story about how you got into a, I guess it was called a body punching fight or something with someone on the street and that led you to the gym. Could you go into that a little if you’d want to?
HASIM RAHMAN: Yes, well I was basically a former boxer, grab me from behind and challenged me to a body punching contest.
ROBERT JONES: Oh, OK.
HASIM RAHMAN: We got into this body punching contest, I wind up winning the contest and making him quit. And, he told me that – he told me come back here tomorrow, he going take me to the gym and I’ll make a million dollars. I looked in my pockets, I had about $45 in my pocket, I said $45 here, a million dollars there, that sound like he’s supposed to rest (ph), let me go right down there. So then, from that point, you know, I went to the gym and it was like love at first sight, I had never really leave out the gym.
STEVE NELSON: First of all I want to thank Top Rank, of course, for putting this conference call together. Just want to let everyone know we’ve been big bear for five solid weeks. This is going to be my 49th fight with Rock, and I got to tell you something and I said it before. I’ve seen Rock at his best (INAUDIBLE) I’m telling you the truth, he has never been better than he is right now. And, on August 12th, he’s going to erase the demon of Oleg Maskaev and go on to bigger and better things. One last thing then to a quick announcement. On the news stands tomorrow, Sports Illustrated is running a feature on Hasim Rahman. So the mainstream press is coming out and following this fight. And again, bigger and better things in the future.
YAHYAH CASO: Yes, I’d just like to say thanks a lot for everybody coming out to this conference call and definitely want to thanks Top Rank for having this and being part of our team. And, I’d like to echo what Steve said. Basically, I mean, Rock is definitely in the best shape of his life. And, the first time he fought Oleg, you know, he had the element of surprise and conditioning of Rock. And, this time I can tell you, there’s nothing that he has on Rock and there’s no such thing as a full glock losing (ph) but I definitely have all the faith in the world that Rock is going to perform excellently on August 12th. Thanks a lot.
HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I know Bob (INAUDIBLE) going to hear this one. But, you know, this is a fight that I would’ve took for 25,000.
HASIM RAHMAN: This is a fight that I would’ve took for 10,000, 25,000, whatever. This is a fight that I wanted for so long because I really believe that every man that I got into the ring with that I can beat. And, if I go on to say that, you know, this going go a long way to proving it, because, and not only do I plan on winning this fight, I plan on winning this fight in spectacular fashion. So therefore, when my promoter calls whoever, they going want a piece of the Rock. So therefore, I got to go out and do what I got to do and on August 12th, it’s going to be something special. So whoever – whoever’s on this conference call, you’ll better get your editors or your bosses to spring for some plane fairs and hotel fees, you’ll ain’t going want to miss this one. But, in case you’ll do miss it, Pay-per-view, 49.95, make sure you’ll check it out on HBO Pay-per-view.
BOB ARUM: Thank you all for coming on. Thanks for the champ for a very entertaining, informative conference call. I’d like to talk a little bit, just briefly about the rest of the cod (ph), because you know, Pay-per-view cod (ph), three hours of boxing action in the principle on the cod (ph) vad (ph), Humberto Soto will fight for the WBC interim, 130 pound championship against Ivan Valle. Both are from Los Mochis, Mexico and so there’s a obviously a lot of excitement there about that fight. In addition, Jose Armando Santa Cruz, one of the most exciting entertaining lightweight fighters will defend his WBC interim lightweight championship against David Diaz of Chicago. David was a former member of the Olympic team in from in the Atlanta Olympics, the U.S. Olympic team.
UNKNOWN MALE #2: In ’96.
BOB ARUM: In ’96, right. And finally, Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan, a member of the Atlanta 2004 U.S. Olympic team 9 and zero with six knockouts, fights Marcus Brooks, 6’1 with three knockouts from South Carolina. So it’s an interesting, interesting card, it’s being distributed by HBO Pay-per-view and the price, as Rock says is 49.95, and believe me, it’s going to be worth it. Because for the heavy weight fight, I mean, no matter how long it goes, it’s so exciting. People are watching for the knockout and I think you’re going to see one as the Rock continues to show his domination of the heavyweight division. So thank you all for tuning in on this call.