Rahman to sit out rest of '06, return


Baltimore native Hasim Rahman will not retire after losing his World Boxing Council heavyweight title to Oleg Maskaev on Saturday and instead will "take the rest of the year off" before taking a fight as early as "late February or the beginning of March," promoter Bob Arum said.

Neither Rahman, who will turn 34 in November, nor his brother and co-manager, Yah Yah Cason, could be reached to comment. But Arum said he and Cason came up with a plan during an hour-long meeting on Monday. Co-manager Steve Nelson confirmed the meeting.

"Rock's still a name guy who could fight on either Showtime or HBO and still get $500,000," Arum said. "We're not going to fight a second-level guy, but one of the top guys - either a champion or a top contender."

A Las Vegas resident, Rahman earned $2.5 million in losing for the second time to Maskaev. Arum estimated that the 12th-round knockout cost Rahman "at least a $4 million payday" against International Boxing Federation champion Wladimir Klitschko.

At 235 pounds, Rahman appeared to be in excellent shape after having trained for more than six weeks at more than 7,000 feet above sea level under veteran trainer Thell Torrence.

"It was an exciting fight, a close fight, and Rock's still got a name in the division as well as a top 10 ranking," Nelson said. "But it goes without saying that there is a certain amount of mental and physical rebuilding that needs to take place. Rock really needs to relax, reflect and sincerely think out his career. Then we can commit to a game plan to come back."

Arum said Maskaev-Rahman II "did very poorly" at the gate and on pay per view.

"We're lucky if we did 100,000 buys," he said. "The gate did $1.7 million, when we hoped for at least another million."


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