This Hasim Rahman fella is hard to figure out. There seems to be two sides to him, and we’re never really sure which side is going to show up for the party.

One side is sloppy, sluggish and maybe a little lazy. He usually has a bad night and goes home early. Maybe you’ve seen him around. He lost to John Ruiz in December 2003.

The other side is meaner, quicker and more explosive. He usually sticks around to celebrate his win. You might have recognized him last November when he stopped Kali Meehan in four.

Of course, we don’t know which Rahman is going to show up Aug. 13 when he takes on good buddy Monte Barrett (31-3, 17 KOs) at the United Center in Chicago. The two will be fighting for the WBC interim heavyweight title, the winner earning a shot at Vitali Klitschko for the WBC championship later this year.

At least that’s what they’re telling us.

The dangerous Rahman (40-5, 33 KOs) comes into this fight on a roll, winning five fights in 2004, four by knockout. That kind of year is a good confidence builder. Not that Rahman needs any help.

“There’s nothing that Monte can show me that I haven’t seen,” Rahman said on a conference call this week. “But I have some things Monte has never seen.”

Hearing that Barrett, 34, appeared to be in excellent shape and sounded cock sure of himself, Rahman claimed it was good news.

“Now I feel good about him showing up,” Rahman said. “He sounds confident, but that‘s what he‘s supposed to be. I‘m expecting a good fight, but the more confident he is, the shorter the fight will be.

“He will get punished. He’ll find me to be a lot better opponent than any of those guys he’s up there (in the Poconos) he’s sparring with.”

Rahman calls their fight a “must win,” because it’s the quickest way for him to get another title shot.

“I just want to get to Klitschko,” he said.

At 32, he knows there is not a lot of time left for him or Barrett. Neither one can afford a setback.

“I think you’re going to see a better Hasim Rahman than you’ve ever seen before,” Rahman said. “I’m at the end of my career, so I’m trying to go out with a bang.”

As for his friendship with Barrett, Rahman shrugged it off.

“Monte is a good guy,” he said. “And our families like each other. After this fight, I‘m not going to (hold) any bad feelings.”

Claiming to have the best jab in the heavyweight division, Rahman said he didn’t see Barrett getting into the later rounds.

“Monte has too much heart.” he said. “He is an all heart type of guy. He’s going to bring everything he’s got and I’m going to devour him. I hope the Red Cross is there because I’m going to make him donate (some blood).”

I think I know which Rahman said that.