It was recently announced that Hasim “The Rock” Rahman will take on Al “Ice” Cole sometime in March in an interesting heavyweight clash. One might consider this a cross-roads fight for both, but Cole was never 'on' the road with any visions of grandeur in the first place. For Rahman this bout is about one thing – the need to win, no matter who the opponent is. But he may be on thin Ice.
Hasim Rahman is in desperate “need” of a win. It has been nearly 3 years since The Rock landed 'the shot heard around the world' and knocked heavy heavyweight King Lennox Lewis from his throne in South Africa. Lewis, of course, had been rubbing elbows with Julia Roberts and George Clooney on the set of 'Oceans Eleven' and assumed he could drop-in, drop the bomb on Rahman, and fly out of town, belt intact. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry and Lewis found the lack of training, high-altitude of Brakpan, and heavy right hand of The Rock to be more than he had bargained for.
Since dropping that bomb Rahman has been on the receiving end of three losses and a Draw. In their rematch a fit and focused Lewis disposed of Hasim the way he was supposed to the first time around, and then Rahman was outworked by both aging Evander Holyfield and Johnny Ruiz. Between those two losses the Baltimore native got the raw end of a decision when the judges ruled his second fight with equally blase David Tua to be a Draw. Regardless it has been a long, long time since the carnival in Carnival City and The Rock has to be wondering when his next win will come. Taking on career journeyman Al Cole may look like an easy opportunity to do so, but the possibility that Rahman slips and falls is a legitimate fear.
“Ice” Cole will come into the March scrap with a 34-12-3 record, but his recent run of 3-8-2 is the reason he is getting this date with Rahman. Still, Cole is more than capable of pulling an upset if Team Rahman doesn't have their charge motivated and focused on the task at hand. Similarly, David Izon found the Ice too slippery and was out-hustled on his way to losing to Cole a year ago in what was supposed to be a filler fight for Izon. It isn't that easy to make a case for Rahman being much better, if at all, than any of the fighters Cole has been in with recently during his current run of bouts.
As Cole eases into his 40th birthday he has challenged, and lost to, the who's who of fighters needing a litmus test while staying active. The likes of Lance Whitaker, Sherman Williams, Juan Carlos Gomez, Jameel McCline, David Bostice, Corrie Sanders and Kirk Johnson come to mind. The questionable work-rate of Rahman is what makes this fight interesting. Cole fought to a Draw with Kirk Johnson the first time the two met as Johnson just didn't do enough to win, and didn't help his cause with several point deductions for repeated low blows.
While Al “Ice” Cole may not be a threat to any title, he certainly will expose you if you haven't done your roadwork. The better fighters of the upper-middle class often get taken late into the night by Cole and the deeper the fight goes, the more slippery it gets.