Rahman plays calming role of peacemaker

Heavyweight breaks up Hopkins-Joppy fracas

Boxing

October 11, 2003|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON - Baltimore native Hasim Rahman was involved in yet another brawl at yet another promotional boxing event, but unlike his wrestling match with Lennox Lewis that destroyed an ESPN set two years ago, this time, it was as peacemaker.

During yesterday's news conference at the Hotel Washington, where Rahman (35-4-1, 29 knockouts) was promoting his Dec. 13 fight with John Ruiz (38-5-1, 27 KOs) for the interim World Boxing Association crown, Rahman used his massive hands and 6-foot-3 body to break up a 10-minute fracas involving middleweights Bernard Hopkins and Rahman's stablemate, William Joppy. No one was seriously hurt.

It began when Hopkins (42-2-1, 31 KOs), the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation champ, rose to reiterate a challenge for a bet with Joppy (34-2-1, 25 KOs). Joppy pushed Hopkins as the Philadelphia native tried to take the microphone during Joppy's turn at the podium.

As Rahman threw himself amid the various members of the fighters' entourages, Hopkins, asked Rahman, "Are you in this now?"

Rahman, who now lives in Las Vegas, later calmed down Hopkins before taking his turn at the podium in the hotel's Washington Room.

"I'm not going to let nothing happen to William Joppy, not going to let anybody jump on [World Boxing Organization champ] Zab Judah, not going to let nobody jump on Bernard," Rahman said. "Why would you jeopardize spending money on lawyers, bail or a funeral? Joppy and Bernard, you're both men, you're both champions. Do this thing in the ring on Dec. 13."

The main event of the record five televised title bouts features Ricardo Mayorga (25-3-1, 22 KOs) defending his WBA and WBC welterweight crowns against IBF king Cory Spinks (31-2, 11 KOs), a younger version of his heavyweight father, Leon, but with teeth.

Ruiz, nicknamed "The Quiet Man," remained that during yesterday's events. Ruiz is coming off his 12-round loss to Roy Jones in March. He has gone 1-1-1 against Evander Holyfield, flooring Holyfield in the 11th round of their second meeting in March of 2001 en route to earning the WBC title. The win made Ruiz the first Latino heavyweight champ in history.

Steve Nelson, Rahman's co-manager called Ruiz (2-2-1, no KOs in title fights) "an awkward, durable fighter and, most of all, a winner."

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