WBC cool to plea for rematch

Granting demand based on Rahman fouls would be `unprecedented'



While admitting there were "many fouls" committed by World Boxing Council champion Hasim Rahman during his March 18 defense against James Toney in Atlantic City, N.J., organization president Jose Sulaiman said granting Toney a rematch of the majority draw based on those infractions would be "unprecedented."

"In my 30 years, we have never" granted a rematch based on fouls by a champion, said Sulaiman, who did not rule out a possible return bout for Toney, 37.

On Thursday, Toney's promoter, Dan Goossen, sent a letter to Sulaiman - along with photos of what Goossen considered illegal kidney punches by Rahman - seeking a rematch.

"We received a letter with many, many pictures of many, many fouls to the kidney of James Toney. I saw the pictures and I have no questions in regard to the fact that there were so many fouls," Sulaiman said. "I was very surprised to see that the referee hadn't given out many warnings."

Sulaiman listed kidney punches among the four types of most-prohibited fouls, along with punching behind the head (rabbit punches), head butts and intentional low blows.

"[Goossen] said Toney was under medical examination as a result of injuries suffered. If there were warnings, perhaps Rahman would have changed his actions," Sulaiman said.

"The rematches we have approved in the past usually are when there is a great, great fight; or a very disputed decision in that the people of boxing or of the world would like to see or demand a rematch."

Rahman's mandatory challenger is Oleg Maskaev, whose representative, Dennis Rappaport, has threatened legal action if Toney is given a return bout.

Rahman's promoter, Bob Arum, said he spoke to a high-ranking WBC official yesterday who told him the organization "as early as Monday would rule that Rahman would have to fight Maskaev," who knocked out Rahman in 1999.

Arum wants to bring Rahman-Maskaev to Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium and said he would contact Ravens officials between tomorrow and Wednesday about the prospect.

Sulaiman said he expects a ruling this week from his 36-member board of governors, the same group that voted to make Rahman's August victory over Monte Barrett an interim title bout, and then chose to make Rahman the WBC's champion when titlist Vitali Klitschko's retirement canceled his scheduled November defense against Rahman.

Sulaiman granted a rematch of Sugar Ray Leonard's narrow defeat by Roberto Duran in 1980 and did the same after a draw between Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield in 1999. The former rematch was won by Leonard and the latter by Lewis.


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