He’s a smart guy, this Hasim Rahman. While most of today’s heavyweight champions and contenders are sitting back waiting for someone to make a move, Rahman is keeping his dance card full.
The former world heavyweight champ will be looking for his third win in only four months when he faces Rob “The All-American Prizefighter” Calloway (48-4-1, 35 KOs) tonight at Michael’s Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie, MD. The fight will be televised on MaxBoxing.com.
If you haven’t been watching, Rahman (37-5-1, 30 KOs) has been quietly and quickly moving up in the rankings. When he started what might be considered a comeback in March against former world cruiserweight champion Al Cole, he was ranked No. 5 by the WBA and No. 9 by the IBF and the WBO.
Two wins and three months later, he is now the WBA’s top-rated contender and is ranked No. 4 by the WBC, No. 3 by the WBO, and No. 5 by the IBF.
Rahman is like the quiet kid on your high school football team who no one pays attention to until you suddenly realize he beat you out for the starting halfback job.
“I like to stay as active in boxing as possible,” Rahman said Tuesday night, 48 hours before his scheduled fight with Calloway. “I’d like to win the title again, defend it a few times and retire.”
If he could pick among the current champions, Rahman said he doesn’t have a grudge against anyone, but he’d sure like another shot at WBA heavyweight champ John Ruiz, who won a close, 12-round decision over Rahman this past December.
If Ruiz isn’t interested, he’d like to fight anyone with a belt.
“I really believe I’m the best heavyweight in the world,” said Rahman, who scored one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when he stopped then-heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis in the fifth round of their fight in South Africa in April 2001. “There are five or six guys in the (heavyweight) mix right now, but no one stands out.”
That includes former world champions who have moved up in weight class to challenge the struggling heavyweight division, guys like Roy Jones Jr., and James Toney.
“We all came up from lighter weights,” Rahman said. “None of us was born a heavyweight. I was 160 or 170 pounds once. If you can fight, you can fight.”
How about Mike Tyson?
“I think Mike can still fight,” Rahman said. “But you just never know with Mike.”
As for the state of the heavyweight division, Rahman said it’s been better.
“But it’s also been worse,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s as bad as some people think.”
While it’s easy to look ahead, Rahman first has to take care of Calloway, who is riding a four- fight winning streak, three of those wins coming by knockout.
“I don’t know much about him,” Rahman said. “All I need to do is take a look at his record and who he’s fought. I wouldn’t know him if he walked into the room right now.”
You can bet Calloway would know Rahman.