The Matchup

November 17, 2001

Boxing historian Bert Randolph Sugar analyzes Hasim Rahman vs. Lennox Lewis (awarding point values, 1 to 4, in 10 categories):

2.0..................................... .............INFIGHTING....................................................1.5

Lewis is a poor inside fighter, so Rahman must bull his way in, stay busy and work the body.

2.0..................................... ............EXPERIENCE.................................................2.5

Lewis has beaten Evander Holyfield, Razor Ruddock, Frank Bruno, David Tua, Oliver McCall, Frans Botha and Ray Mercer. Rahman was considered a journeyman until shocking Lewis.

3.0..................................... ................CHIN......................................................... 2.5

Despite his age, Lewis has not fought many wars in his career. But when his chin has truly been tested and Lewis floored, he has failed to answer the bell. Rahman also has questionable whiskers, but got off the floor to defeat Corrie Sanders.

3.0..................................... ...TRAINER/CORNER.........................................3.5

Emanuel Steward has improved Lewis' use of his height and weight, although the ex-champion is a reluctant warrior who can be unpredictable even to Steward. Rahman's conditioning and focus have improved under Davis, with whom he shares the same Muslim religion and is very close.

3.0..................................... ................JAB........................................................4.0

Lewis has the best jab - long and stiff -- possibly in the division. Rahman must initiate, rather than counter-jab.

3.0..................................... ...........MOVEMENT............................................2.5

Lewis sometimes carries weight on back foot and chin up, making him a stationary target to forward-moving fighters. for fighters moving forward. Tendancy to lean backward and away from punches takes away countering option. Rahman's capable of in-out moves, and cutting off the ring. Can box or pursue.

3.0..................................... .........DEFENSE..................................................3.0

Lewis doesn't fight well when forced backward, often lets hands drift low and is lazy about defending right hands with his left. Rahman sometimes stands upright with little head movement, making him prone to third and fourth punches of combinations.

3.0..................................... .........POWER.......................................................3.5

When on, Lewis' piston-like jab and devastating right hand - either straight on, as a cross or as an uppercut - are his best weapons. Also has a sneaky double-left hook. Rahman has stunting power in decent power in both hands, and can hurt Lewis.

3.0..................................... .........STRATEGY................................................3.5

Lewis should double and triple up on his jab, then freeze and hurt the oncoming Rahman with the right to establish respect. He should move laterally as opposed to straight back, which led to the knockout in the last bout. Rahman must relentlessly pressure, neutralize and disrupt Lewis' rhythm with counter-jabs and right hands.

3.0..................................... ......INTANGIBLES............................................4.0

Lewis' desire to earn a place in history, out-weighs Rahman's quest to prove he's not a "one-punch wonder."

28...................................... ...PREDICTION...............................................31.5

Lewis will weather give-and-take first three rounds , gradually gain momentum and set up his right hand behind his superior jab and stop Rahman via ninth round.

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