Rahman fights to maintain his course

Bout with T. Lewis tonight could be set back by rain

Boxing

July 28, 2004|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

ROCHESTER, N.Y. - Hasim Rahman was drenched in sweat by Round 13, yet he had energy to burn.

The former world heavyweight champion from Baltimore alternately fired hard left jabs, launched right hands or ripped home hooks with both hands - all at the body of a man who admitted to being in way over his head.

The opponent was Rahman's 60-year-old trainer, Adrian Davis. "For the 15 rounds we went, I just got in there and pushed him, made him chase me to hit me, made him sweat and get a workout today," Davis said last week.

"You know he took it easy on me today, because if Hasim Rahman hits you, he's going to knock you down or going to knock you out," said Davis, who absorbed most of Rahman's blows with hand-held pads. "That's why he's going to be the next undisputed heavyweight champion of the world."

Davis said Rahman had caused a scare two days earlier at the Round One Gym in Capitol Heights, where he is training for tonight's scheduled 10-rounder against hard-punching journeyman Terrence Lewis at Frontier Field in Rochester, N.Y.

Rahman (38-5-1, 31 knockouts) used a blistering right hand to knock out sparring partner Corey Sanders of Washington, separating from his senses a man who has gone the distance in a loss to top contender Andrew Golota and whose 23 ring victories include one last year over contender Oleg Maskaev.

"Got no sparring partners today?" asked Henry "Sugar Poo" Buchanan, a rising middleweight, of Rahman. "I saw what you did to that guy the other day. After that, a man would be crazy to get in there with you."

Rahman, 31, who weighed in yesterday at 246 pounds, will go after his fourth win in five months and his third straight knockout against Lewis (31-14-1, 21 KOs), a 31-year-old from Philadelphia who weighed in at 249.

Lewis was scheduled to face Michael Grant tomorrow before that fight card folded. He was the fifth fighter to be considered as an opponent for Rahman tonight.

With rain forecast for the Rochester area, the fight, which is scheduled for about 9:30 p.m. as the main event on a nine-bout card, could be put off for a day and could be moved indoors to the Rochester River Side Convention Center, an organizer said yesterday.

If rain hits tonight and "the weather forecast [for tomorrow] is good, we will set up for Frontier Field again and have it outside, or we will go to the convention center," said Jim Borzell. "It will happen on Thursday if it doesn't happen [tonight]. Either way, it's going to happen."

Borzell said that, as of Monday, more than 3,500 tickets had been sold for the 5,000-capacity outdoor venue. The convention center can seat up to 8,000, he said.

Though he lost a 12-rounder to World Boxing Association champ John Ruiz in December, Rahman has remained in title contention after beating journeyman Al Cole in March and scoring consecutive second-round knockouts over Mario Cawley and Rob Calloway in April and June.

"Right now, Hasim Rahman's got that hunger. He's getting up and running eight miles on his own," Davis said of his fighter, who is scheduled to earn $25,000 tonight. "It's a great sign that he's still out there hustling. It shows at 31 years old, he's got a lot left, and that he still wants more."

Rahman is now ranked No. 1 by the WBA, No. 3 by the World Boxing Organization, No. 4 by the World Boxing Council and No. 5 by the International Boxing Federation.

"I've gone back to the lab, if you will, and gotten that hunger and desire back," Rahman said. "I'm in the gym all of the time, my weight is good, all my punches are coming off nice. This is key in my quest to win and retain the title. But I don't want to just win the crown, I want to win it and defend it.`

Rahman is the mandatory challenger to Ruiz, who has until April to defend against him or forfeit his title.

"Right now, we're negotiating with Andrew Golota, but as usual, it's a question of money," said Ruiz's attorney, Anthony Cardinale. "[Terrence Lewis] is one of [Ruiz's] sparring partners. And if Rock keeps fighting these guys and beating them, we'll have to fight Rock."

Central to Rahman's comeback is his reunion with Davis, whom he fired after losing to Lewis, citing "an erosion" in their relationship.

"I won the heavyweight championship of the world with this man against the best heavyweight fighter of our generation," Rahman said. "So I feel like, with the heavyweight champions out there, we can definitely win it again."

At a glance

Who: Hasim Rahman (38-5-1, 31 knockouts) vs. Terrence Lewis (31-14-1, 21 KOs) in 10-round heavyweight bout

Where: Frontier Field, Rochester, N.Y.

When: Tonight, approximately 9:30

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