Rahman's jabs annoy Klitschko


September 20, 2005

Hasim Rahman says World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko did everything he could to avoid a title defense against him, possibly even faking a back injury.

Klitschko says Rahman showed him disrespect by making such an accusation.

Neither pulled many punches yesterday at a news conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., to formally announce that the long-awaited 12-round bout between the two will be held Nov. 12 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

The fight was first scheduled for April 30 but was pushed back twice because of injuries to Klitschko before the champion's camp announced April 20 he had undergone surgery to remove a small spur from his spine, sidelining him through the summer.

Before Rahman took the microphone, he left the stage briefly, came back wearing a chef's hat and holding a tray of food he said was for Klitschko.

"I just had some chicken Kiev prepared for him, because I am so happy he's not chicken anymore," Rahman, a Baltimore native, said afterward.

"We're finally getting in the ring. I'm glad he's all healed up. I just hope and pray he doesn't stub his toe or prick his finger before Nov. 12."

Rahman believes Klitschko may have faked his back injury.

"I suspect that. I saw him a week after the alleged injuries and he's walking around like he is today," Rahman said. "I have my suspicions. He's in a big-boy game.

"He knows when he fights me, along with the whipping comes a little trash-talking. I know one thing - he won't be faking it Nov. 12."

Rahman wore a T-shirt that said: "Down goes ..."

He turned around to reveal a picture of Klitschko on the back.

Promoter Bob Arum said Klitschko, 34, will earn $7.8 million and Rahman, who will turn 33 five days before the fight, will collect $4.2 million.

Klitschko is 35-2 with 34 knockouts. Rahman is 41-5-1 with 33 knockouts.

Klitschko maintained his poise when Rahman presented him with the plate of food, but it was obvious he was upset.

"You talk about me I am chicken to fight you. That's not true," Klitschko said. "I bring you dessert on Nov. 12."

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