Barrett's camp has Rahman riled

Remarks on recent fights have `made it personal'

Boxing

August 11, 2005|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

CHICAGO -- Trainer Harold "The Shadow" Knight questioned the opposition Hasim Rahman has faced during his current winning streak, and Knight's assistant, Donnie Cassett, promised Rahman will "get knocked out."

But neither Knight nor Cassett will be in the ring with Rahman (40-5-1, 33 knockouts) Saturday night when he meets Monte Barrett (31-3, 17 KOs) of New York City for the World Boxing Council's interim title.

"Monte's my man. I have nothing bad to say about him. But those other two clowns made it personal," Rahman, a Baltimore native, said at yesterday's news conference promoting the Showtime pay-per-view fight at the United Center.

"This man's [Knight] been [trainer] Emmanuel Steward's little puppy for so long, they call him `The Shadow.' I don't even know the other guy [Cassett]. But if they represent Monte, I've got to take it out on Monte."

The confident Rahman, 32, is riding a five-bout win streak, including his fourth straight knockout -- over Kali Meehan on Nov. 13, 2004. Meehan was Rahman's sixth fight in 11 months dating to his December 2003 WBA title loss to John Ruiz.

The 6-foot-3 Rahman has slimmed down since the Ruiz fight, when he weighed 241. Despite a nine-month layoff that is the longest of his career, Rahman said he'll weigh between 230 and 235 for Barrett, declaring himself, "stronger, smarter, in the best shape of my life -- better than when I fought Lennox Lewis.

"If Monte wants to box, I've got something for that. If he wants to slug, I've got something for that," said Rahman, who KO'd Lewis for the undisputed title in April 2001, only to lose to him seven months later. "I'm coming right at Monte Barrett to knock him out."

Rahman blames his inactivity on Vitali Klitschko (35-2, 34 KOs), whose injuries three times forced the postponement of scheduled bouts between them.

As a result, the WBC mandated that Rahman, its No. 1-ranked fighter, meet Barrett, its No. 2, for the interim title. Klitschko, 34, must face the winner or forfeit his crown.

But that scenario wasn't final until July 14, when the WBC rejected Klitschko's request for a Sept. 24 defense against Calvin Brock (26-0, 21 KOs).

Having turned 34 in May, Barrett said he feels a sense of urgency. Barrett, who weighed 215 in a loss to Joe Mesi and 218 in his past two bouts, said his motivation comes from his five children and the many personal problems he has overcome.

"I've lost money in the stock market, had three bank accounts with zero balances in them, been through bankruptcy, car repossession, divorce, separation from my kids, no money, kids with holes in their sneakers ... " said Barrett. "If all of that didn't break me, do you think Rahman has a chance?"

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