Rahman can pick promoter

Las Vegas judge rules that fighter should seek best deal to pay off debts

Boxing

November 17, 2005|By LEM SATTERFIELD | LEM SATTERFIELD,SUN REPORTER

A Las Vegas judge has effectively made Baltimore native Hasim Rahman a promotional free agent by ordering the newly crowned World Boxing Council heavyweight champion and financially bankrupt fighter to pursue the best possible deals to pay off his more than 20 creditors.

Neither Rahman's attorney, Richard Holley, nor his manager, Steve Nelson, could be reached for comment.

However, according to court documents, Judge Bruce A. Markell of the District Court of Nevada ruled Tuesday that Nelson had an obligation to seek out favorable options essentially from whichever promoter provides the best terms for the services of Rahman, whose debts total nearly $5 million.

In proposals made public in court by Don King and Bob Arum, the promoters offered $500,000 and $1.25 million, respectively, as minimum guaranteed purses should Rahman, 33, decide to sign with either. Arum's proposal offers Rahman potential for additional profits. The ruling could effectively negate a contract Rahman has with King that was to last until July 2010.

"I don't know what he's doing. [Rahman] doesn't even know what the situation is," King said. "I've helped the guy. He wouldn't be where he is without me."

Crowned the WBC's champion in the wake of last week's retirement of Vitali Klitschko, Rahman (41-5-1, 33 knockouts) is considering bouts with Russian Oleg Maskaev (32-5, 25 KOs), James Toney (69-4-2, 43 KOs) or Wladimir Klitschko (45-3, 40 KOs), who are rated Nos. 1, 2 and 3 by the WBC.

lem.satterfield@baltsun.com

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