Hasim Rahman stepped into the ring against Alexander Povetkin in Hamburg Saturday night as the 14 to 1 underdog. At 39, not having been in the ring for more than a year, having fallen asleep at a pre-fight presser, not many folks gave Rahman even a slim chance against the WBA champ Povetkin (24-0 entering), a 33-year-old Russian. Rahman, buzzed by the first stiff shot Povetkin threw in the first, performed even worse than most expected, and the ref halted the bout in round two.
We can assume--or fervently hope--that he will never sniff another title shot, and likely not fight again, as this was an embarassing outing. Rahman landed ten punches, mostly jabs, and this one will be dismissed as a payday pickup, a stain on his permanent record and on the reputation of the WBA, which had him ranked No. 1 at heavyweight.
Rahman said after the bout that he went to the hospital last night, to get IV fluids, because he was dehydrated, and if the fight was in the US, he'd likely have pulled out. He didn't say if he had a flu, or what would have caused dehydration, because he didn't need to come in under a specified weight for the clash. And will he retire? That is yet to be determined, he said; he said he will talk to his promoter, and might like to fight a Top 5 type, not fight a bunch of C and D grade types to build to something. He would have to offer up a bounty of mea culpas, and show a different attitude towards the sport and his place in it than he has shown in years, for anyone to accept his re-entry into the sport as an active participant.
Rahman (50-7-2 entering; 256 pounds at the weigh in) pulled off a stunner in 2001, when he knocked Lennox Lewis silly in a title scrap, but his last meaningful win came against Monte Barrett, back in 2005 (pictured above). Somehow, some way, he managed to get the WBA to make him No. 1 in the rankings. But Povetkin hasn't been showered with praise, as pundits wondered why he didn't have his way with guys like Marco Huck in more impressive fashion, so that Rahman got a shot wasn't skewered in as quite vicious fashion as he might have been. Povetkin said coming in to the event that he respects Rahman's past exploits, so he prepared as best he could for the tussle. Kostya Tszyu was in Povetkin's corner, after Alex Zimin, and Teddy Atlas before that. Rahman laid the groundwork for his effort by complaining that the deck was stacked against him, and admitting his conditioning was just OK. He said it would be an early night, half-heartedly saying that he'd KO Povetkin.
In the first, the 229-pound Povetkin buzzed Rock with a right early on. Rock was down from 284 pounds in his last bout, but his midsection had rolls on it. He did pump a jab, and press forward, it must be said.
In the second, Rahman got hurt, and was on the ropes. He ate shots, the ref looked hard, and finally halted it. A left hook hurt him at 2:11, and at the end, with around a minute left, he had his right arm draped on the ropes, as Povetkin hauled off. Basically, he was opening himself up to hasten the end. The ref said no mas. It was sad end to the career of a one hit wonder, as Rahman clearly had next to no interest in training to win the fight, which in the end, was not a fight, but an exercise in bad boxing politics and a pure cash grab.
After, Povetkin told Chris Mannix that the work with Tszyu helped him. He said he wanted to be an ace counterpuncher on this night. Does he want a fight with Wladimir Klitschko next? "Yes of course, I'm ready to fight everybody," he said. He called Wlad "the best heavyweight" out there. He said he will improve more under Tszyu and would be ready for Wlad.