Rahman's reward half a loaf as he, Tua battle to a draw

Baltimorean `speechless' with judges' decision


March 30, 2003|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA - When Hasim Rahman fought David Tua in Miami in 1998, he was far ahead on points when a late punch after the ninth round hurt him, and Tua finished him off in the 10th. But having failed to have been given the recovery time many felt he deserved, Rahman felt cheated.

Last night, at the First Union Spectrum, Rahman got his chance at - and many in the crowd felt he succeeded at - revenge.

Rahman jabbed Tua's eyes puffy, bounced right hands off him that bloodied his nose and even had a feel-good moment by flooring Tua with a late jab after the bell ending the final round.

All this, only to feel jilted again as the bout ended in a draw.

"I made him bleed from his mouth, his nose and his eyes. And I knocked him down. I'm speechless," Rahman said of fight judge Bob Grasso scoring it 116-112 for Tua, Bill Clancy scoring it the same for Rahman, and George Hill calling it even at 114-114.

"I can't win for losing. I beat him twice and I got no victory. I won, just like I did last time," said Rahman, 30. "It's the same old stuff: I can't win against this man. The public knows who won."

In the main event on the card, held after Tua-Rahman, undisputed middleweight champion Bernard Hopkins (44-2-1) stopped European champion Morrade Hakkar (29-4) after eight rounds of a scheduled 12-rounder.

Rahman is now 35-4-1 with 29 knockouts. Tua, who is also 30, is 42-3-1 with 37 KOs. Tua, who had never been cut or knocked down as a professional, received more damage than ever.

The winner was to have earned a title shot against International Boxing Federation champion Chris Byrd, but now, it seems a rematch is in order.

"Hell, yes, let's do it again," said Tua. "It's great for the fans, it's great for the sport. I hit him with everything I had."

Many questioned Rahman's weight. The 259 1/2 pounds he tipped the scales at were 14 more than he'd ever before entered the ring carrying, and were nearly 36 more pounds than he weighed in his last bout, a technical-decision loss to Evander Holyfield in June.

But the weight, which Rahman attributed to his lack of mobility due to an ankle injury suffered during the summer playing softball, didn't seem to matter last night.

In fact, bigger seemed better at times. It may have helped him to stand up against Tua's power and to push the 5-foot-9, 245-pounder off in close quarters. Tua expressed surprise at Rahman's ability to withstand his punches.

Rahman won the first three rounds on all of the judges' cards, following his jab with a right hand. He pounded Tua's body when they clinched, all the while circling to his right away from Tua's vaunted left hook.

In the second round, Tua caught Rahman with a left hook, but the follow-up was blocked. Rahman continued to stand his ground, jabbing and circling right, away from Tua's left. Rahman blocked a hook and landed an overhand right before the bell sounded.

Rahman took a left hook but landed several hard right hands as Tua's right eye began to swell.

"I think I waited too much," Tua said. "I was looking to counter punch. I was working on setting him up."

Tua landed three left hooks in the fourth round, which he won on all three cards. He also began to close the gap.

Tua won the fifth and sixth on Grasso's card, but not on the other two.

In the fifth, Tua forced a clinch with a short hook to Rahman's nose as Rahman's right hand dropped a bit. Tua shook Rahman with a right-left combination. Rahman jabbed and clinched often in the sixth, when Tua's face continued to redden. Tua threw wild right hands, trying to get Rahman to duck into left hooks, and later, missed two left hooks. Rahman jabbed and clinched as the round ended.

Tua won the sixth, seventh and eighth rounds on two judges' cards and the seventh and eighth on the third card. He won the last three rounds on Grasso's card and the last two on Hill's.

Rahman landed more punches than Tua, 188-130. He also landed 153 jabs to Tua's 57. Tua landed 73 power punches to Rahman's 48.

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