Rahman denies meeting with King

Champ disputes report that he, promoter discussed Ruiz bout

Boxing

May 02, 2001|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman may not be able to say yet whom or when he's fighting next, but he can say this: He hasn't been dealing with Don King.

Rahman denied a report in yesterday's Washington Times that promoter King met with the fighter Sunday in Baltimore to offer a $15 million deal for a bout with World Boxing Association champion John Ruiz.

"That's not true," Rahman said yesterday. "I haven't seen Don King.

"I don't understand why there's a story written like that, but I guess I've got to get used to it. I have no plans to do anything with Don King."

However, the Baltimore heavyweight has received an offer for a title fight with Mike Tyson from Showtime, network senior vice president Jay Larkin said yesterday.

Larkin said he and Showtime representatives have met with Rahman's co-manager, Stan Hoffman, and promoter, Cedric Kushner, "in one, ongoing meeting" since early this week.

"It's a very frustrating process. Every time we think we're proceeding down the right path, somebody throws a detour in the road. First and foremost, this is a business. We're motivated by what is the best business procedure, secondary is what's right for the sport. Hopefully, those two things become intertwined."

A source close to the talks put Showtime's offer to Rahman at $14 million, the same as Home Box Office's for a rematch with Lennox Lewis, from whom Rahman wrested the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation championship belts with a knockout on April 21.

"Without question, without any doubt, what's good for the sport is for Hasim Rahman to fight Mike Tyson," Larkin said. "That's good for everyone's business except for everyone behind the scenes controlling Lennox Lewis.

"If Hasim fights Mike Tyson and wins, Hasim Rahman becomes the hottest property on the planet, right up there with Tiger Woods. If he fights Lewis and wins, nothing has changed in his life."

The Times report also questioned whether Rahman is still contractually bound to Kushner - who has been with Rahman since he turned pro in 1994 - and co-managers Hoffman and Steve Nelson. Rahman said yesterday his management team remains intact.

"I have no plans to change my management," Rahman said. "Cedric is my promoter. I'm just waiting to see what goes on.

"I can't stop people from saying what they want to say. My team is solid, and we did this together. We'll continue to work together. My team is working hard to secure for me a fight with Lennox or Tyson. I'm not going to turn my back on people who are working so hard for me."

Sun staff writer Lem Satterfield contributed to this article.

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