Rahman vows to rock Apollo Local heavyweight to meet Sullivan at storied theater

October 09, 1997|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

Hasim Rahman won't sing, dance or tell jokes, but the unbeaten Baltimore heavyweight promises to put on a great show in his debut at the Apollo Theater Nov. 1 on HBO's "Boxing After Dark" Series.

Rahman (23-0) will be making history in battling fourth-ranked Obed Sullivan (28-1-1) KOs). It will be the first fight staged at the storied showplace in Harlem, N.Y., where performers like Ella Fitzgerald and Richard Pryor first became famous.

"Believe me, it's not going to be amateur night," Rahman said. "I'm going to shock Obed the same way Lennox Lewis shocked [Andrew] Golota.

"He can't match my jab fighting outside, and if he fights me inside, I'll break him up. You can't judge a man's power watching tapes. Obed will be shook down to his toes when I hit him on the chin."

Originally, Rahman had been signed to fight former world champion George Foreman for HBO, but Foreman had a change of heart and opted to fight Shannon Briggs.

"Sure, I'm disappointed," Rahman said. He is ranked No. 7 by the International Boxing Federation. "If I beat Sullivan, it will give me credibility. But if I had beaten Foreman, I would have gained worldwide recognition.

"But that's just the nature of the boxing game, and I've learned that you can't take everything to heart. There will be some disappointments in your career, but you have to be patient in and out of the ring."

Actually, fighting Sullivan could prove a more propitious move for Rahman according to his co-manager, Steve Nelson.

"It's quite possible that a win over Sullivan could move Rock as high as No. 2 in the IBF rankings," Nelson said.

"I've heard that Corrie Sanders, who is now ranked third, will challenge Ross Purity for the World Boxing Union title. And Frans Botha [No. 2], may shift over to the World Boxing Association now that he's split with [promoter] Don King."

Nelson's analysis of the heavyweight picture sounds perfect to Rahman, 24, who has been fighting professionally four years after a short amateur career.

"If everything works out, I could get a title shot in a little over a year," he said.

Michael Moorer is defending his IBF crown against WBA champion Evander Holyfield in Las Vegas on Nov. 8. If Holyfield wins, he will likely seek a unifying match against World Boxing Council champion Lewis and then possibly retire.

"I think Evander will probably vacate the IBF title," said Rahman, who shares Holyfield's training facilities in Houston. "If that happens, I'll be in position to fight whoever the IBF has rated No. 1 at the time."

Pub Date: 10/09/97

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