The site is the same, but the date has been moved from May 7 to April 23 for Baltimore native Hasim Rahman's challenge to World Boxing Council champion Vitali Klitschko at New York's Madison Square Garden, promoter Don King said yesterday.
King still is working out the terms and purses with the camps, but Rahman (40-5-1, 33 knockouts) said the proposed date with the 33-year-old Klitschko (35-2, 34 KOs) couldn't be better.
"That's close to my fourth anniversary, so I'm good fighting for the title in April," said Rahman, 32, who became undisputed heavyweight champion by knocking out Lennox Lewis on April 22, 2001. Rahman, loser of his rematch with Lewis, has four straight knockouts in five consecutive wins.
Klitschko-Rahman is part of a heavyweight tournament King is formulating in conjunction with HBO president Ross Greenburg.
King said the plan includes World Boxing Organization champion Lamon Brewster defending against Andrew Golota on April 16 at Chicago's United Center; International Boxing Federation titlist Chris Byrd, on April 30 in Germany, trying to avenge a loss to Wladimir Klitschko; and World Boxing Association champ John Ruiz taking on James Toney on May 21.
"Brewster-Golota seems pretty much locked in, but the Klitschko camp is in control of those other situations," Greenburg said. "We've heard some conflicting reports that they may not want those dates."
Shelly Finkel, an adviser to the Klitschkos, said, "As of right now, those dates are correct, but there could be some changes [today]."
The Sun could not reach the Klitschkos, their manager, Bernd Boente, or their promoter, Tom Loeffler.