Rahman decision expected any day

New champion said to be leaning toward HBO's offer

May 03, 2001|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Stan Hoffman, co-manager of Baltimore heavyweight Hasim Rahman, said he is still waiting for a decision to be made about who Baltimore's first heavyweight world champion will meet next, when the fight will be held, and on which cable network it will be shown.

But sources close to the negotiations say the Rahman camp may be leaning toward accepting HBO's offer, which is said to be for more than $13 million for a rematch with Lennox Lewis - whom Rahman beat April 21 via a fifth-round knockout - plus a six-fight deal if Rahman wins.

Hoffman dismissed the claim, saying, "If they say so, they made it up."

Showtime is offering $14 million to fight Mike Tyson, and promoter Don King has offered Rahman $15 million to fight World Boxing Association champ John Ruiz. Tyson and Ruiz are contractually obligated to Showtime, and Lewis to HBO. Rahman has no ties to either network, and is free to negotiate with all three, apparently without fear of being stripped of his titles.

The decision is expected today or tomorrow.

Rahman was as much as a 20-1 underdog before taking Lewis' World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation crowns.

"There's no way [HBO] should have let me go over there, contract-free. They had an arrogance about their fighter, and now, they have a hefty price to pay," said Rahman, 28, who has been holding light sparring sessions at Round One Gym in Capital Heights.

"I'm in the best position in boxing, better than if I'd have won a gold medal," said Rahman. "Everything that I'm going through, any way you look at it, however it comes out, it's a blessing."

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