Rahman trainer expects deal for Holyfield fight this week

Boxer leaves Wednesday for Catskill training site


April 07, 2002|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman smiled as he stood and surveyed one of the many fruits of his boxing labors - a brand new clothing store, "Dreamz," whose grand opening was yesterday in downtown Baltimore.

But that look of satisfaction evaporated upon Rahman's hearing the name of his most recent conqueror, Lennox Lewis, a man whom Rahman desperately wants to fight for a third time.

"People think that because I lost to Lennox Lewis, my story is over," said Rahman, who shocked the sports world with his title-winning knockout of Lewis nearly a year ago on April 21, a title he lost when Lewis knocked him out on Nov. 17.

"I learned one thing from Lennox: He was able to make an adjustment and come back, and I definitely feel like if he did it, I can do it."

Rahman begins his comeback road on June 1 against former champ Evander Holyfield in a bout in Atlantic City, N.J., to be televised on HBO. Rahman is expected to earn $2 million and Holyfield $5 million for the fight, which will take place a week prior to the Lewis-Mike Tyson heavyweight title bout June 8 in Memphis, Tenn.

A scheduling snafu yesterday kept promoter Don King from making an expected appearance in Baltimore to secure Rahman's signature for the bout, but Rahman's co-manager, Stan Hoffman, said he expects to close the deal this week.

Rahman leaves Wednesday to begin his training at the Hoffman-owned House of Champions training center in New York's Catskill Mountains. His new trainer, Bouie Fisher, recently guided Bernard Hopkins to the undisputed middleweight title.

"I respect Bouie. He tells me what to do, not the other way around," said Rahman, who has worked out recently at Philadelphia's Champs' Gym, where Hopkins trains.

"To get to Lewis, I've got to mow down Holyfield. If I don't do that, there'll be no more fighting for Hasim Rahman. It's do or die for me."

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