Foreman withdraws from bout vs. Rahman Baltimorean's camp says ex-champ 'chickened out'

September 18, 1997|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Former heavyweight champion George Foreman has pulled out of his scheduled fight with unbeaten Hasim Rahman of Baltimore at Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard, Conn., Nov. 22, HBO vice president Lou DiBella said yesterday.

This was to have been a breakthrough fight for Rahman (23-0), who was elevated to No. 7 in the International Boxing Federation rankings after stopping Jeff Wooden in July to claim the USBA title.

"There is no other way to describe it, but to say that Foreman chickened out," said Rahman's co-manager, Steve Nelson. "The deal was 100 percent done, the money and site were all agreed to. This makes it obvious that Foreman doesn't want to fight anyone who is a threat to beat him."

Foreman, who serves as an HBO commentator, called DiBella Tuesday to inform him that he would not fight Rahman.

"We gave George a list of 20 possible opponents and haven't heard back from him," said DiBella. "If he doesn't pick someone by [last night], then he's not fighting on HBO Nov. 22.

A source close to Foreman blamed promoter Bob Arum for spoiling the Rahman fight by suggesting it was too tough a match against a relative unknown.

Rahman, who has been sharing champion Evander Holyfield's training headquarters in Houston, has been promised another match by HBO, possibly against Obed Sullivan, ranked No. 4 by the IBF.

A hand injury caused Rahman to cancel a proposed bout with Sullivan earlier this year. Sullivan (26-1) struggled to win a 10-round decision over journeyman Carlos Monroe in a USA Network bout Tuesday night.

Pub Date: 9/18/97

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