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View Full Version : Rahman-Maskaev predictions & press / Rachman fight on PPV ??? Who will buy ???



HE Grant
07-25-2006, 07:18 AM
I just read that Rock's fight next month against Maskaev is on PPV. Who in the world is going to pay to see that? When was the last time Maskaev beat anyone? What did Rock do to deserve a PPV fight or to make HBO think anyone will pay to see this? How old is Maskaev?

What a joke. I'm sure they are lining up to shell out $ to see this one , especially since the "new" , highly conditioned Rock struggled to earn a debatable draw against the horrendously fat, old Toney.

diggity
07-25-2006, 07:59 AM
I was going to buy it then I remembered that I decided the money I had set aside for it was better served for using it to buy a few bags of fertilizer which I would then mold into a likeness of each boxer in my backyard and later beat with a pitchfork once it hardened.

Overhand_Right
07-25-2006, 08:48 AM
HBO would serve boxing so much better to have this fight on for free. The public doesnt know who the champ is anymore & although this fight will likely be a slow maul, because of the shaky chin factor it could potentially be entertaining & would raise the winners profile.

As it is its a PPV between 2 ageing cart horses who havent had an impressive performance in YEARS. Bizarre.

hagler04
07-25-2006, 10:12 AM
I was going to buy it then I remembered that I decided the money I had set aside for it was better served for using it to buy a few bags of fertilizer which I would then mold into a likeness of each boxer in my backyard and later beat with a pitchfork once it hardened.

:D Great idea!

After the Klitschko-Williams disaster and the fact that Toney-Rahman was a dissapointing anti-climatical fight, what the hell is HBO thinking?

Todd
07-25-2006, 10:22 AM
Would we rather HBO use up one of its regular WCB/BAD slots for this slop, and instead put Taylor-Wright, Barrera-Juarez, etc., on PPV? Why not throw the uncompelling refuse on PPV and make it optional viewing.

bomma
07-25-2006, 10:43 AM
Who cares? This fight isn’t even worth talking about let alone $39.95.

Funk49
07-25-2006, 10:53 AM
I hope the promoter takes a bath on this one. How much nerve does it take to put the Rahman-Maskaev rematch on PPV? Why would anyone shell out 50 clams to watch a guy they've probably never heard of fight a guy who couldn't even distinguish himself as a titleholder against a fat ex-middleweight with powder-puff punches? Oleg knocked him out in 1999. So, as JJ once sang, "what have you done for me lately?" Rahman has done nothing of significance since he dropped Lennox Lewis in South Africa. After that glowing moment, he was promptly put to sleep by Lewis in the rematch, grew a watermellon on his head in a fight with the geriatric Evander Holyfield, impersonated a buffalo against Tua in their rematch on the way to a draw, and lost to John Ruiz, of all people.

This kind of arrogance, that little is enough to make the people pay for the priveledge of watching an underachiever in action, is the attitude that's bleeding boxing dry of fans in the states. I don't know who's going to win the rematch between Rahman and Maskaev and I don't care 'cause I'll see it on the rebroadcast; but the one who needs his ass kicked is whoever decided this fight was too good for ESPN FNF.

kikibalt
07-25-2006, 11:23 AM
Is this some kind of a joke?

OMG65
07-25-2006, 11:32 AM
IMO this fight would not have been appealing enough to put on free TV back in the 70's and 80's.Due to the brilliant marketing of boxing the last 15 years,nobody knows who these guys are.Actually that applies to most pay per views nowadays.It probably belongs on ESPN 2. ;)

diggity
07-25-2006, 02:36 PM
Even Tua is back on ESPN, he was more exciting at one point than Rahman ever was. Too bad for Tua that he is too much of a gentleman to talk smack.

brutu
07-25-2006, 04:13 PM
I may be wrong, but isnt
Oleg Maskaev an American citizen now?
I know he was born in Khazakistan and was in the Russian Army.
But that was years ago.
I read somewhere he owned an operated a car dealership in a large city and was living the American dream.
Hopefully he became an American citizen for the right reason, because its the Land of the Free, and home of the Brave
and not because someone can come here to America from an totally opressive goverment country and have a right to
make a sh*tload of rubbles.

Funk49
07-25-2006, 04:22 PM
More than likely, Rahman will not fall to Maskaev; but who knows. Or, even worse, who cares? Eventually Rahman will lose the belt, it's only a matter of time. The sad fact is Rahman is a talented fighter; but he's too inconsistant in his performances.

At the moment, there realy aren't any promising American heavyweights. Calvin Brock is a good heavyweight; but he appears too average. Still, Larry Holmes didn't impress anyone until he outpointed Shavers and warred with Norton, so maybe "The Boxing Banker" has more up his sleeve than he's revealed yet. But, he's still 31 years old.

I think the former Soviet Bloc is going to be dominating the scene for a few years, which is only fair. The U.S. held the reigns in the heavyweight division for some 150 odd years. The good news is while they're in charge, some young fighter somewhere might find inspiration to be the best he can be and bring the crown back. I feel we're going to have to wait for a while,though.

That's my 2 Cents worth.

HE Grant
07-25-2006, 05:57 PM
I predict this will be one of the alltime low buy rates. I'm not even sure why Rock is recognized as some form of champion. He looked super cautious and highly ineffective verse Toney. He had no idea on how to go to the body. He got hit with dozens of flush right hands. I happen to like Rock and think he is a bright and charming guy. He's simply nothing more than a number five contender and that is based on his size and strength. To be champion is sad.

I repeat; who has the other guy beaten in the last few years that even gets him this fight? Didn't he get knocked out by others after he beat Rock?

Todd
07-25-2006, 06:10 PM
Maskaev got flattened by Corey Sanders (the fat, black Corey Sanders, not the golfer that terrorized Wlad), Kirk Johnson, and GooFi Whitaker. They were all scary knockouts, too. Since his last loss, he's peeled off a dozen or so wins over Julius Francis–type opposition. To his credit, Oleg did beat then-undefeated David Defiagbon and Sinan Simil Simon Sam. He was an underdog in both fights—and he beat Sam in Germany—for whatever that's worth.

Both Rockhead and Oleg illustrate the importance of matchmaking in the heavyweight division today. If Holyfield had gone the record-padding, holding-pattern route instead of getting embarrassed by the likes of Donald, Byrd, and Toney, he could be fighting for a title right now instead of in Idaho or wherever.

ShawnTheBleeder
07-26-2006, 07:08 AM
The low buy rate for this fight will make it Rahman's last PPV bout. I don't understand the logistics. Guess they think boxing fans have nothing better to spend their money on.
Reading about the results on here will probably be more exciting than the actual fight.
Shawn

HE Grant
07-26-2006, 08:05 AM
It might actually be a decent fight as these guys will at some point unload and both are hitable but it is of no consequence. To me PPV was supposed to be for huge events like in the old Days of Leonard/Duran or Holmes/Cooney . What it has evolved into is another option, really a gamble, for fighters who think they have more demand that they but won't settle for smaller purses offered them by the few venues that exist. I cannot image anyone paying $ 40. for that fight. It should be on Showtime as part of some double header.

dnahar
07-26-2006, 09:06 AM
Bob Arum wanted to put this fight on HBO, but HBO refused to air it on their regular schedule. Kudos to HBO for doing that. Arum also made claims about this fight possibly being on a major network like ABC, but that also fell through. So he was forced into airing this fight on HBO PPV, and the buy rates will hopefully not be good. HBO has no stake in the outcome and a declining relationship with Arum so they won't put out the promotional push for this one and probably no half-hour countdown special. Maskaev cannot speak good English and that will hurt the promotion. Plus, Rahman has lost all the luster he had from KOing Lennox Lewis with his performances after that fight. Hopefully, Arum stacks up the card with some great undercard matchups. Maybe Arce-Luis Perez? Or Calderon-Viloria? He needs to do something to salvage this card in some way. And, if not, he will be further upstaged by the excellent PPV that Golden Boy has lined up for Sept. 16 with three excellent matchups.

Deepak

greek1237
07-26-2006, 12:27 PM
I shock this fight is PPV, I do expect low number of buyers, and we can always see the results AFTER the fight. Its not worth the money for ANY of us to spend on it. I heard the cost is close to 50 bucks for it. No way is that worth it.

HE Grant
07-26-2006, 03:57 PM
The joke is that if Rockman was allowed the latitude given Gatti, the ability to fight an old has been or a second rate contender four times a year he would be percieved as the fourth generation of "Black Destroyer" (Liston/Foreman/Tyson) ... instead he has for the most part fought live bodies and he has been exposed warts and all ...

TKO Tom
07-26-2006, 04:11 PM
Somebody is going to take a red ink bath because of this fight being on PPV. My guess is that it will be HBO.

Anyways, Rahman is sparring with the following guys:

(1.) Rod Willis, 11-0-1 (6)KO - I've never heard of him

(2.) Erik Kirkland, 18-2 (14)KO - Celebrated New York amateur. Lost two fights by knockout late so it seems he may have stamina issues.

(3.) Chris Arreola, 16-0 (14)KO - He's the best of this bunch. Tough and a good fighter.

(4.) Travis Kauffman, 5-0 (3)KO - Green and the son of Kermit Cintron's former manager.

I guess Rock is looking good and is trim. The above guys are saying he's busting them up with his left jab.

I hope Maskaev levels him and sends him out of the ring again - for good.

dnahar
07-28-2006, 02:31 PM
Tom,
Actually, HBO has no financial loss if the PPV is flat on this one. They don't have contracts with either fighter. Arum is sending them a producing fee to air this PPV, but HBO does not bear any of the costs involving paying the fighters, promotion, etc. If they choose not to promote it heavily (like other smaller PPVs such as Barrera-Fana), they don't lose out although they do obviously make money if the PPV does well. They took a huge bath on the Klitschko fight because Klitschko's fight was contracted and the purse was guaranteed by HBO and not just the promoter. The one person that stands to lose out big is Arum, who gambled on Rahman and forked over a good size signing bonus (I can't remember how much). King similarly lost money on the Rahman-Barrett PPV although it wasn't through HBO.

Deepak

Steve Coughlin
07-28-2006, 03:58 PM
Guys, there have been far worse PPV main events (Rahman - Barrett comes to mind and I got stung twice with that one ... I was ringside for that too!) but what really gets my Irish up is that Uncle Bob has the NERVE to ask for $49.95 for it. You read that right - $49.95!!! And it typical Bob Arum fashion he doesn't even have the decency to have an exciting undercard to support the main event.

No disrespect to any of the undercard fighters but here's the line up as it stands now:

Humberto Soto vs. TBA
David Diaz vs. Jose Armando Santa Cruz
Vanes Martirosyan (9-0, 6) vs. Marcus Brooks (6-1, 3)

Now, let's compare this card to a PPV show from May of 1993 shall we?

Main Event - Lennox Lewis vs. Tony Tucker
Gerald McClellan vs. Julian Jackson I
Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Terrence Alli
Meldrick Taylor vs. Henry Hughes
Oba Carr vs. Eriberto Valdez
Hector Camacho vs. Erik Podolak
Thomas Tate vs. Eddie Hall

Boxing may not be dead, but someone ought to collect PPV's body 'cause it's starting to stink the joint up...

Kid Achilles
08-01-2006, 07:59 PM
Look, Oleg is a naturalized citizen of the United States and possesses every legal right as the next guy who was born here, with the exception of having the potential to become the president or vice president of the country. Saying that this fight is America's last chance to hold onto a portion of the title is an insult to Maskaev's citizenship. No matter the result on August 12th, the WBC title will remain in American hands (not that I really care one way or another).

I have a feeling that come fight night we are going to hear a lot of cheers of "USA, USA!" and boo's for Maskaev when in fact both are equally American citizens.

kikibalt
08-01-2006, 08:08 PM
I'm with you on this Kid.

Frank B.

diggity
08-01-2006, 08:42 PM
Im tired of all the american heavyweight hopefull crap myself. I just want a somewhat exciting champion.

Sharkey
08-01-2006, 09:42 PM
This is boxing, isn't it? Offensiveness and silliness and dumb promotional names shouldn't offend. Fighters are treated like cattle and chips on a poker table all of the time, and origins don't, to me, raise the level of necessary sensitivity. Maskaev getting a title shot is insulting to boxing fans as it is. Hell, Rahman being dubbed a "champion" is pretty offensive.

Just my opinion. I am not worried about Maskaev getting booed. I don't look to boxing to comport itself with dignity...or even 'sensitivity'..especially in this, to me, a fairly trivial matter.

People will be very happy to root for the guy that scores a KO.

DscribeDC
08-02-2006, 11:52 AM
Just more horseshit trying to gin up the number of PPV buys. I've always felt that US boxing fans weren't biased toward American fighters, but rather toward action fighters. Ask 1,000 fans who they would rather pay money to see in his prime: Roberto Duran or Virgil Hill...

Funk49
08-02-2006, 12:42 PM
Look, Oleg is a naturalized citizen of the United States and possesses every legal right as the next guy who was born here, with the exception of having the potential to become the president or vice president of the country. Saying that this fight is America's last chance to hold onto a portion of the title is an insult to Maskaev's citizenship. No matter the result on August 12th, the WBC title will remain in American hands (not that I really care one way or another).

I have a feeling that come fight night we are going to hear a lot of cheers of "USA, USA!" and boo's for Maskaev when in fact both are equally American citizens.

Good point.....very good point.

bomma
08-02-2006, 11:07 PM
I don't care if they guy is from Mars as long as he can fight.

Overhand_Right
08-03-2006, 08:09 AM
Heres an article from BBC. At least Rahman is gunning for Wlad K. Hes going in the right direction. I know we're all coming down hard on this fight & the sheer insult that its a PPV and world title fight etc, but you have to admit, for all the bogus premise, it should be entertaining, shouldnt it?

Two hard punchers with waning technique & skill, two guys who are both always one shot from spectacular defeat? Going on todays standards it'll be adreary 12 rd maul but potenitally it could be a multi knockdown brawl. Maskaev has been given this Last Chance out the blue & he is going to do everything humanly possible to win.......


Rahman on mission to beat Maskaev

Rahman (left) defeat Lennox Lewis in 2001
Hasim Rahman says he is out to stop boxers from ex-Soviet nations taking control of the heavyweight division.
If the American loses his WBC title to Kazak-born Oleg Maskaev on 12 August in Las Vegas all four recognised titles will be held by 'USSR' fighters.

"They are trying to get a clean sweep, but I can't allow this to happen." said Rahman, who lost to Maskaev in 1999.

"I get to defend my title, avenge a loss and hold it down for my country. I'm going to make a big statement."

Unbeaten Russian giant Nicolay Valuev owns the WBA title, while Ukranian Wladimir Klitschko holds the IBF belt.

Sergei Lyakhovich of Belarus has possession of the WBO crown.

Rahman claimed Eastern European fighters are better than Americans at staying focused and ignoring the trappings of fame and wealth.

Klitschko is on my mind - that's the guy I want to fight

Hasim Rahman

"They are solid. They train hard. An American gets the title and his mind gets twisted. We get things a little too fast. They stay hungry." he said.

Maskaev, who became a US citizen two years ago, said he was insulted by the 'America's Last Defence' promotion slogan.

But Rahman said: "I don't really care where he's from. If his feelings are hurt, his feelings are hurt. His body is going to hurt on the 12th."

If he defends his title, Rahman wants promoter Bob Arum to set up a fight with Klitschko by next April.

"Klitschko is on my mind - that's the guy I want to fight," Rahman said.

Mike DeLisa
08-03-2006, 10:08 AM
Nope -- it's typical boxing bullshit -- I doubt Oleg really cares -- but it did get a little press, and isn't that the point?

GorDoom
08-03-2006, 01:44 PM
Today's Boxing Press
Interview with Oleg Maskaev
Media report


LEE SAMUELS, TOP RANK: Greetings everyone. We’re in Las Vegas. Oleg Maskaev, the mandatory challenger for the big fight August 12th is in Colorado Springs with his manager and promoter, Dennis Rappaport and his manager Fred Kesch. And the fight is August 12th, Thomas & Mack Center, sponsored by our good friend at Caesar’s Palace in Wynn, Las Vegas and we are on HBO pay-per-view.

BOB ARUM, TOP RANK: Welcome. I mean boxing I think needs this fight. I really look forward to what will be a traditional heavyweight fight. There is no question in my mind that this fight, because of who the participants are, will be a fight that’s going to end in a knock out. It’s the kind of fight with two big heavyweights that people just focus on because
at any time a telling blow can land, which can turn the fight and cause its termination. So I’m excited, particularly since I’ve been out of the heavyweight business for so long and now I realize why people are fascinated the way they are with heavyweights and I look forward to a great fight on August 12th and I’m so happy that the challenger Oleg Maskaev is with us.

And I’m going to turn it over now to Dennis Rappaport.

DENNIS RAPPAPORT, PROMOTER, DENNIS RAPPAPORT PRODUCTIONS: Well thank you. And on August the 12th it promises to be a memorable and an unforgettable evening. I’d like to give you a little background on Oleg Maskaev. We call him boxing’s Cinderella story. His career could best be depicted as probably being the most mismanaged and misguided fighter in history. He had an illustrious amateur career in which he stopped Vitali Klitschko in one round and won all kinds of medals. His career was then guided by a group that had to be the worst manager to get in history. In his very first professional fight he fought a boxer with 23 wins and no losses and a former silver medal winner. Oleg knocked him out. In his third fight he fought an undefeated heavyweight, Robert Hawkins, Oleg knocked him out, something that no one has been able to do including Samuel Peter. In his fourth or fifth fight he fought Joe Thomas, 23 and one, considered a top prospect. Oleg beat him. These rocket scientists that guided Oleg’s career to reward his great potential in his seventh fight when he should have been fighting four and six round fights they put him against Oliver McCall who had previously, a year or a year and a half before, knocked out Lennox Lewis in the second round.

This was I think the essence of his career, peaks and valleys, (inaudible) or wins and some terrible setbacks. We got involved with Oleg approximately three and a half years ago. Against all odds, against all obstacles, when his trainer said “quit” and his promoter released him Vic Davalley (ph) our trainer saw something, saw some potential, called me up and said “everything this guy’s accomplished he’s done with the pure guts and pure power nobody’s ever thought of.

In the three and a half years that we’ve been together he’s had 10 wins. No losses, eight knockouts and is today knocking on the door of the heavyweight championship. Recently Matu (ph) wanted to go, his beautiful five-year old, had her Cinderella costume on and Oleg looked at her and said “Oh you’re a Cinderella” and she said “No daddy”, she said, “You’re the Cinderella story.” I think that this is a feel good story because he traveled the boulevard of broken dreams and blighted hopes and on August the 12th, Cinderella will have a happy ending and Oleg will become the heavyweight champion of the world and it’s things that movie scripts are made of.

FRED KESCH, MANAGER: Well the thing I’d like to add Lee is that when we accepted this fight, which we’re very happy about and we’re looking forward to it and we’re looking forward to walking out with the championship belt, we’re a bit confused by the, by the theme, America’s Last Line of Defense. Oleg, who happens to be a United States citizen, we thought that maybe Hasim Rahman was going to invade Staten Island, where Oleg lives with his family. So we weren’t, we were a little bit concerned about that. But now we know we’re all going to Las Vegas to celebrate a championship win.

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes I want to say this, I became a challenger for this fight and then early when I fought in Germany and I beat Sinan Sam and you know, I made good progress for this last four years and that’s why I’m a challenger today. And I’m training and working very hard for this fight and I’m going to be ready and Oleg always come to fight and come to win. Thank you.

WILLIAM TRILLO, BOXING2006.com: Oleg, this is a rematch but this is a rematch unlike others where a lot of times they fight in the same year and within a matter of months. You haven’t fought Hasim since 1999, do you still feel the velocity and the, and the drive to prove what happened back then was in fact, supposed to happen that way and you’re going to do it again?

OLEG MASKAEV: Basically of, what I’m going to do, I’m going to do everything to win the fight. And it’s going to be a totally different fight because I think Rahman and I will now, it’s about almost six years past and we are different fighters. But the fight is, the fight will be a different fight. So what I’m expecting, do my job in the fight, to win the fight. That’s it.

DENNIS RAPPAPORT: I’d just like to add one thing that Oleg is the most vastly improved fighter. Back in ’99 he was a stand-up European style fighter, now he’s a superb boxer with great defensive skills, great techniques, he dances, he moves and he punches with devastating power in both hands. We think that Oleg Maskaev of 2006 is a far, far superior fighter than the one that fought in ’99.

WILLIAM TRILLO: So then what I hear you saying is we shouldn’t think of this so much as a rematch as we should a brand new Oleg and a brand new title fight?

DENNIS RAPPAPORT: Well it certainly, it’s certainly a rematch. In the six years that transpired I’m sure that Hasim has made some changes, Oleg has made some dramatic changes. So it’s part two but you may see some, there may be some interesting highlights that you didn’t see in part one.

WILLIAM TRILLO: Bob, can you discuss the Last Line of Defense for America here even though Oleg is an American citizen, the importance of this fight with all the other champion bouts being in Europe right now?

BOB ARUM: Well you know, Hasim Rahman is recognized as the only American champion among the heavyweights. And we hope that this fight will start him in battles against the other Russian speakers who hold the other belts and I think we’re in for a really spectacular series of fights. Now this is a very difficult fight for the Rock. But he’s training as he’ll tell you on his conference call tremendously. And I think this is a very competitive heavyweight match and maybe the title of this fight is a precursor of a theme that goes ahead with Rahman as he fights the various Russian-speaking champions.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN.com: My question is for Oleg. Oleg as Dennis pointed out, you’ve been with them for three and a half years, but right before that you went through a very rough stretch, where you lost in fights, were knocked out and as you mentioned your promoter released you, your trainer suggested that you retire. I’m wondering if you could detail your own thoughts during that period of time. If you ever did consider retirement and if you didn’t what was it that kept you in the fight team?

OLEG MASKAEV: It was when I, when I have tough moments back then. And I was close to retirement because I knew that a lot of, a lot of things left in Oleg Maskaev and I didn’t realize them yet. So basically I was tough, but I do have fight, I was losing to fight. That’s what exactly happened. Just in a way that a lot of mistakes you know, which I, you know, I work for this year to correct them and to be a good fighter.

DAN RAFAEL: And do you agree with Dennis’ assessment that you are a vastly improved fighter now in 2006 than you might have been about four years ago when you were going through a rough patch?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes, for me it’s not easy to say that but people they see from out of the ring, you know they can say that.

DAN RAFAEL: OK, let me ask you a question going back to touch on the first fight between you and Rahman, have you ever thrown a better right hand in your life than the one that knocked him out of the ring?

OLEG MASKAEV: That was one of my good points, but I feel you know, Oleg, Oleg can always pinpoint and can fight but Oleg is trying right now to be an also good fighter, boxer, fighter and plus boxer.

DAN RAFAEL: When you landed that punch in the first fight, which I’ve seen a thousand times on the various promotional materials for this rematch, I mean that’s really what they’ve highlighted because it was such a spectacular knockout, can you remember the moment during in the ring? Because at that time, if I’m not mistaken, you were trailing in the fight?

OLEG MASKAEV: I was winning one moment but before I hurt him with another right hand. And (inaudible) and I knew he would, he’s mad, and I didn’t want to lose any moment to finish him. And that’s what exactly happened. When I had the first chance to throw my right hand, then I did, and this way I knocked him out

CHUCK JOHNSON, USA TODAY: Yeah, I’d like to ask you all about turning pro back in 1993, that was just a couple of years after the Soviet Union broke up. What do you recall about that period of time when the Soviet Union broke up into different countries and how did that change your outlook on your boxing career? I mean up to that point you hadn’t been a professional so, can you recall that time for me?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes, that was a tough time because the USSR broke in, broke up in different countries you know, then (inaudible) they separated, they got separated. Uzbekistan, which I fought for Uzbekistan had a (inaudible) team in Russia. There is a, it’s own team. So back then I was in Uzbekistan training and was ready for the Olympics you know in 1996. And you know, I had a problem with my, with my boss in Uzbekistan and then at this moment I had received a phone call from United States and they invite me to come to America and you know, people they want to look at me as a fighter and then I had my first professional fight and then I signed contract and I decided to be a professional fighter.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Do you recall there being frustration on the part of Soviet Union fighters that they couldn’t fight professionally before then?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes, I can say so.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Were you frustrated as well?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes. Lucky it worked out, good for me.

CHUCK JOHNSON: It worked out. So what do you think? I mean is what we’re seeing now in the heavyweight division just, is it indicative of all the good boxers that were in the Soviet Union even beforehand? Even before they became professional, were allowed to be professionals?

OLEG MASKAEV: Well not all of them you know, just some who had a connection and they can you know, go somewhere like you know to Germany, United States and you know, there were connections with someone and you know, get a team and (inaudible) yourself as a fighter.

CHUCK JOHNSON: So you had to have a connection to become professional?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes, I can’t say that I have a good connection but I had some connection.

CHUCK JOHNSON: You mean you had to have a connection before, before the fall of the Soviet Union or even after?

OLEG MASKAEV: No, not before.

CHUCK JOHNSON: OK.

OLEG MASKAEV: After.

CHUCK JOHNSON: OK, after, all right. So do you think this career is going to continue? What do you see as far as American born heavyweights, do you think that you know, they’ve dominated the division until recently. Do you think that that trend will continue with a Soviet Union, a former Soviet Union fighter?

OLEG MASKAEV: Well it’s not easy to say what’s going to happen in the future. (Inaudible) all this change you know. There’s nothing I can say that there is a heavyweight who’s going to be the best heavyweight and you know, nobody’s going to beat him. So the heavyweight division is wide open and you know, it can change you know, any moment.

CHUCK JOHNSON: So when did you become a US citizen and why was it important for you to become a US citizen?

OLEG MASKAEV: Approximately two years ago.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Two years ago?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes. Why it was important because you know I left USSR when was, in 1994, fight 1995 and I had my old, you know I had an old passport you know, and it expired and I lost, you know, I didn’t who I was. (Inaudible) because (inaudible) whatever, and then you know, the opportunity I had to get a green card and I use it. And you know I got the green card and then in five years I applied for the citizenship and you know, everything work out good.

CHUCK JOHNSON: So do you resent the fact that this fight is being America’s Last Line of Defense?

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes.

CHUCK JOHNSON: When I said do you resent it, does it bother you?

OLEG MASKAEV: Well it’s not…

CHUCK JOHNSON: Did you say no?

OLEG MASKAEV: I can say yes it bothers me because you know it’s like a (inaudible) right? Whoever is going to win is anyway is going to be American.

CHUCK JOHNSON: All right. Bob, I’d like to ask your thoughts on the heavyweight picture and you know how things are shaping up right now with Rahman being the last American born champion, what are your thoughts having been around the game so long? And how things have reached this point?

BOB ARUM: Well Chuck as I have told everybody, when I first came into the game 40 years ago, with Mohammad Ali, all the heavyweights, pretty much all the heavyweights were Americans. And the reason was, you look around, a lineman in the NFL was making $5,000 a year, a year. Basketball players weren’t getting paid anything, professional basketball players. I told everybody that if Muhammad Ali came around today he would be a tight end on the Louisville High School football team and he wouldn’t be in a sweaty gym looking to win an Olympic medal. All of our big guys, well many of our big, you know, home grown guys, born in this State, are going in to basketball, football and aren’t coming in to boxing. And therefore, the talent pool is almost empty. The last American to win a heavyweight championship at the Olympics and I mean, you know (inaudible). I realize there was one class back in the 60’s but the last heavyweight, forgetting about Briggs who won it, I think it was Briggs or Biggs, who won it in ’84 when nobody came was George Foreman in ’68. Now you can’t have a period like that and when you look at the heavyweights since that period of the super heavyweights, there was only one that really could excite you and that was Ridic Beau (ph) who was a decent heavyweight champion, beat a lot of guys. And the heavyweight, the American heavyweights that excelled in that period were guys who really weren’t super heavyweights, like Tyson and Evander Holyfield.

You know when George Foreman came around, beat Michael Moorer, he was (inaudible). So if you don’t have talent you know, it’s very, very hard and all of these big kids fought, in the Soviet Union boxing program who developed, had a lot of athletes and in effect assigned them to particular sports. If they had a real big guy and he wasn’t such a good basketball player, they made him a boxer. I mean that’s why you’ve got the Klitschko Brothers, you’ve got Oleg, you got Sergei Liakhovich, and Nicolay Valuev (inaudible) and there is a tremendous amount but these were guys that were all developed in the Soviet system.

CHUCK JOHNSON: So it sounds like there’s no reversal on that right now.

BOB ARUM: There’s not, a reversal will come. A reversal will come when big young guys in the United States, talented guys say look, the chances of me becoming a professional football or basketball player are not great, and let me go in the direction of becoming a professional fighter. I’ll take my chances and because the rewards are still enormous you know and then we’ll get some talented guys. But that’s what it really takes. I mean if you don’t get talented guys to start with, Americans, English, French, Germans, Russians, don’t mean anything. It means you’ve got to have talent.

ROBERT MORALES, LA DAILY NEWS GROUP: Hey listen, what kind of a role will the result of your first fight play in this, at least in your mind when it comes to Rahman’s frame of mind? I mean, here he was winning the fight and yet he’s the one that got knocked out and, as they say, onto the lap of Jim Lampley, do you think this is weighing on his mind?

OLEG MASKAEV: I don’t know. I didn’t read his mind yet. So whatever is on his mind is going to be his mind, right? First of all I’ll worry about my mind, and my mind is OK. Mine is fine.

LEE SAMUELS: Rob, if I many add one thing I think of a mega request by the Athletic Commission, that they padded the floor outside the ring for health and safety reasons.

ROBERT MORALES: Yes, I saw that. I appreciate that. Bob, let me ask you a real quick, as Hasim’s promoter, is that a concern for you what, if he’s going to be thinking too much about the first fight?

BOB ARUM: If Oleg, who’s a professional fighter can’t read Rahman’s mind, how the hell am I who’s strange as a lawyer, how am I going to read his mind? I don’t know. I mean you’ve got to ask him on his conference call.

ROBERT MORALES: I will, but what a couple of cop outs. Thanks.

BOB ARUM: Excuse me?

ROBERT MORALES: I said what a couple of cop-outs, but thanks anyway.

BOB ARUM: OK, no I really don’t know. I have absolutely no idea.

ROBERT MORALES: I’m sure you have an opinion.

BOB ARUM: I have no opinion how it would affect him. Some guys, it will make them better because they realize what happened last time and they will take steps to prevent it from happening this time. Other people don’t learn their lesson from what happened before. I don’t know. I would assume that Rahman is an intelligent guy and he’s not going to let that kind of punch get to him again.

FRED KESCH: Bob I’d like to just interject with thought. I believe and I’ve been told that Hasim Rahman wakes up every night in cold sweat recalling that punch that Oleg threw at him. And when he enters that ring, that’s all that’s going to be on his mind.

ROBERT MORALES: Because he calls you every night? Or every morning to discuss it right? Who was that (inaudible) from?

BOB ARUM: That was his manager.

ROBERT MORALES: It’s Fred Kesch.

BOB ARUM: Fred Kesch.

LUKE BROADWATER, BALTIMORE EXAMINER: Oleg, do you have a prediction for this fight? A specific round or way of victory?

OLEG MASKAEV: I’m just, you know, actually I don’t make a prediction you know, but there is only one, win.

LUKE BROADWATER: Can you talk a little bit about your childhood, you, you’re promoter says you had basically a hardscrabble youth. What types of things did you have to go through?

OLEG MASKAEV: Well, (inaudible) it was a killer in building a home. (Inaudible).

LUKE BROADWATER: And you joined the military is that right? Why did you do that?

OLEG MASKAEV: In military I was a Russian lieutenant for seven years.

LUKE BROADWATER: And why did you, why did you join the military? Did you feel it was a way for you to sort of get out of coal mining and so forth?

OLEG MASKAEV: Every young guy you know, which reach about 18 years old, they’re not supposed to go to military and so for couple years. That’s all.

LUKE BROADWATER: How did you get into boxing?

OLEG MASKAEV: Couple years and then after that I you know, I saw extra six years, this way I became (inaudible).

LUKE BROADWATER: How did you get into boxing?

OLEG MASKAEV: Because of my father. He was a boxer and he told me this is the best sport for you to be a good athlete and you know, to have a strong mind.

LUKE BROADWATER: Have you ever met, seen Rahman outside of the ring, and what do you think of him?

OLEG MASKAEV: Actually I did have a chance to meet him outside. He just, he just work his (inaudible). Just stand by and that’s it.

LUKE BROADWATER: What was your impression of him? Do you dislike the guy? Do you like him? Do you think he’s a gentleman? Do you hate his guts?

OLEG MASKAEV: You know, I’m a believer in, I believe in God and I you know, personally I have nothing to this guy. This is a sport, and best will win. That’s in my heart; it’s in my mind. I have no enemies. Thank God.

LEM SATTERFIELD, BALTIMORE SUN: Hey, you talked about, I think it was the second loss in a row, I guess that was to Lance Whitaker, you said that your wife was pregnant and that you were distracted with that.

OLEG MASKAEV: She was really in like couple days to deliver a baby.

LEM SATTERFIELD: OK. Do you, which baby was that?

OLEG MASKAEV: Victoria. She’s five years old.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK, and that fight was in March of 2001, when was she born?

OLEG MASKAEV: She was born in, I would say, you know on June, in January 17th, 2001.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK. All right, OK. So this was actually the fight, so in order to go into training for the fight…

OLEG MASKAEV: I was in training.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK…

OLEG MASKAEV: (inaudible) complicated for me you know to do both the job. Because we are, we didn’t have our relatives, nobody around us that moment.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK, and can you just once again just talk about after the loss to Corey Sanders, what your state of mind was at that particular time and when did you meet

OLEG MASKAEV: I was trying to come back from, and I was winning this fight. And you know, (inaudible) that guy was ready to quit you know in the seconds, in the minutes. But he just caught me because you know he was one of my mistakes and I made a mistake and I pay for that. That’s it.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK. And the last question is when did you meet, when did you meet Victor Valle and Dennis Rappaport? How soon after that fight? And how did that meeting take place?

OLEG MASKAEV: Approximate like in a year and a half.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: And what was that meeting like and?

OLEG MASKAEV: (inaudible) Victor Valle at the (inaudible) gym. And you know, I work alone and nobody was you know working with me because I was looking for someone and then Victor he offer me to work with him for couple days. And after that Victor he knew Dennis Rappaport and he gave me (inaudible) and now he gave me (inaudible) of them. So I call them and you know we start talk about you know what we’re going to do, how it’s going to go that’s it.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK. And it’s been awhile since your last loss, but you know obviously all of your losses have been knock outs and Rahman coming into this fight has to overcome you know the psychology of having been knocked out by you. Can you talk about, from your standpoint, you know, as steps for taking the first punch in training after coming back from your last knock out what you have to do to overcome it mentally?

OLEG MASKAEV: Well mentally I was mentally I was always was strong mentally. What happens when something like this happen you know you should what’s a fighter supposed to do to take a break you know for a year or so? Just mentally relax and you know forget about boxing. You know, do something else. Then after that you feel you mentally strong then you can start boxing again.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: So there’s no flashback like the first punch in training or?

OLEG MASKAEV: You can’t let it be in your mind. You’re going to (inaudible). It’s going to make a big affect on you.

LEM SATTERSFIELD: OK, do you think…

OLEG MASKAEV: If you want to get back to him you have to put it on the side.

ROBERT JONES, PREMIERROUND.COM: I just wanted to know from you and Victor if you guys are going to change your strategies? On your first fight with Rahman you were, you started slow in the first couple of rounds but then you picked it up and then wore him out. I know it was a long time ago, but you will be trying to start faster this time? Or do you even know yet or are you just going to go with it?

VICTOR VALLE: I got to work on the weakness of the fight and whatever weakness they got I try to strengthen them every which way. I’m a great devoter on that in strengthening up the weaknesses. And Oleg is a good student and as far as anything we have a pretty good team, (inaudible), Dennis Rappaport, Dr. Goodsten (ph) and like again, Oleg’s a very good student and like Arnold Schwartzneggar says “esta la vista”.

ROBERT JONES: All right, I was wondering if the early part of your career where you thought multiple world champions and contenders within your first 14 fights, has that prepared you as you, you know are you ready to step into the ring on the 12th as you’ve already been through so much? I mean what else can you still go through?

OLEG MASKAEV: You know in this world, you got to be ready for anything, anything at all. That’s why you have to stay alert.

ROBERT JONES: All right. Also, we’ve heard you compared to James Braddock, I was just wondering how you feel about being compared to him? I mean do you think it’s a fair comparison? I just want to know your thoughts on it.

OLEG MASKAEV: Well I want to say I like this Cinderella story. I like it a lot.

BOB ARUM: There’s no question that he’s James J. Braddock with a Russian accent.

KARL FREITAG, FIGHTNEWS.COM: You mentioned before that you felt defended by the title American’s last line of defense for this fight, is that something that you feel any extra motivation?

OLEG MASKAEV: You know maybe for somebody else, maybe.

BOB ARUM: We can predict one thing that the winner of this fight will unquestionably will be an American, an American, right.

BILL CAPLAN: Yes, sorry guys for butting in like this but many of our parents, Oleg many of our parents are immigrants including mine from you know, what we call the Soviet Union and when they got their citizenship in their young adulthood they considered themselves to be Americans also. I just hope that you’re not offended by this and I know that you’re proud of your heritage and your background, so my thought is you know, your plan is to win the fight and when you do you’ll be winning as, will you be winning as an American, will you, I mean who will you be winning as?

OLEG MASKAEV: I would say I’m a proud Russian American so right now I’m a citizen of America, of United States and this is it. And also want to say because I have four kids now, and the last of them she’s an American too. She was born here.

LEE SAMUELS: OK, thank you and Dennis and Fred and Oleg and Bob, Dennis why don’t you wrap it up? We’ll start off with our final statements. And then it will go Dennis, Fred, Oleg and then we’ll go with Bob.

DENNIS RAPPAPORT: I really believe that this is going to be an unforgettable heavyweight battle. It has all the ingredients, it has the revenge factor, it has two devastating punches, two big heavyweights. It has all the drama that makes boxing the great sport it is. And I just want to, I think that anybody that underestimates the quality, the competitiveness and the sheer ferocity of this fight and doesn’t see it, is going to be greatly disappointed. And I just want to say one other last, one other thing, a lot of people reach a certain age and they don’t believe in Santa Claus, I believe in Cinderella, I believe in the Cinderella story. And when Oleg’s hand is raised OK, and they say the new heavyweight champion, we know that the storybooks have a happy ending.

DENNIS RAPPAPORT: I love you Oleg.

OLEG MASKAEV: I love you back.

FRED KESCH: Yes, one thing I’d like to say is that I’m really thrilled that Bob and Dennis were able to put this fight together. It’s going to be an exciting fight; it’s going to be an action packed fight. And just as proud as I was in September of ’04 when Oleg became a United States citizen, I’m going to be just as proud on August the 12th when Oleg becomes the heavyweight champion of the world. And I thank Bob and Dennis for letting this happen.

VICTOR VALLE: I the trainer of Oleg and Victor Valley there’s a piece about and his name is Johnny Boyd Vargas (ph) and he’s a very exciting fighter and it’s going to be an exciting card. And like I say, he’s back, esta la vista.

OLEG MASKAEV: Yes, I want to say please that thank you Bob and Hasim Rahman too for this opportunity to go with this fight. And I want to be extremely ready for this fight. I want to put up a good fight. And the best will win.

BOB ARUM: Yes, thank you. I want to thank everybody for participating. I want to remind everybody that the fight program will be distributed by our good friends at HBO pay-per-view. The price is $49.95 and in addition to the heavyweight championship fights, I agree with Dennis I think it’s going to be a real memorable type of event. In addition we’ll have the WBC interim 130 pound championship, which is the battle of Los Mochis two men who live in Los Mochis, Mexico, Humberto Soto and Ivan Valle who will contest for that title and then in another great fight, a WBC interim lightweight championship, Jose Armando Santa Cruz, a tremendous fighter, very exciting, will defend his title against David Diaz, a member of the United States Olympic team in 1996 from Chicago. And finally as part of this telecast, a young man who like Oleg, another immigrant, but this young man was a member of the Olympic team in 2004, Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan. He will be fighting against Marcus Brooks in the special six round fight. So it should be a great great telecast, great event. But I cannot wait for Hasim Rahman and Oleg Maskaev to get in the ring on August 12th because that will be one hell of a heavyweight championship match.

Remaining tickets to Rahman-Maskaev II, priced at $600, $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50, can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack box office, online at www.unlvtickets.com or by calling (702) 739-FANS. The Rahman-Maskaev II pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT has a suggested retail price of $49.95. It will be distributed domestically by HBO Pay-Per-View and will be available to more than 56 million pay-per-view homes. The telecast will be available in high-definition television for those viewers who are HDTV capable. HBO Pay-Per-View is the leading supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry. Rahman vs. Maskaev daily updates can be found during fight week at www.HBO.com.he 16th of September might not mean much to the average Brit but stop a Mexican in the street and he will tell you that that is the day his country gained Independence. So on the 16th September Marco Antonio Barrera will celebrate Independence day in a rematch with Rocky Juarez in Las Vegas.

gregbeyer
08-03-2006, 08:55 PM
he may be naturalized and i accept that....but! the real point..i am not sure has been raised here. these eastern european kids now dominating the heavyweight division are tougher and harder than the fast food gluttons now comprising the american heavyweights.

as they emigrate here and start frequenting mcdonalds and taco bell more often...
even this...boxings latest social invasion...will come back to us.
greg

Rafael
08-03-2006, 10:20 PM
I would absolutely love it if Maskaev showed up wearing an Uncle Sam outfit a la Apollo Creed.

diggity
08-03-2006, 10:49 PM
Let's be real.
The fact that Maskaev is in a position for a title fight is insulting in itself, even more insulting is that it is against Rahman.

Kid Achilles
08-04-2006, 09:07 AM
In today's mix, Maskaev much isn't more than a notch below the guys with the belt. I think the bigger insult is that Rahman almost lost his fight with an out of shape, exhausted Toney who was stumbling around like a drunk because his balance was so poor in the fight.

Like W. Klitschko or not, he would have thoroughly beaten and stopped either man in that fight. Hell I think even a motivated Maskaev would have been a genuine threat to either guy. Rahman was throwing arm punches with barely anything on them while Toney hung back, took them, and threw the occasional counter to break up the monotomy of his resting.

Todd
08-07-2006, 09:02 AM
http://www.fightnews.com/rock_bjm.jpg

Rahman: USA is on my back!
WBC heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman says he's taking taking the "America's Last Line of Defense" them of Saturday's title defense against Oleg Maskaev very seriously. "All the other belt holders are not American and they trying to get a clean sweep," says The Rock. "So, they going to send me out there to represent my country and I will do that....I need to hold it down for my country. I feel like if I lose this fight, I let me down, my family down, my team down, and my country down. Never before have I felt like I put my country on my back, and I'm fighting for my country, solely for my country. And, I feel like I can't allow this to happen. I can't allow them to get a clean sweep." Rahman also addressed on the fact that the Kazakhstan-born Maskaev, who became a U.S. citizen two years ago, says he's bothered by the fight's theme. "I don't really care where he's from, how long he's been here, THIS American will hold the title....if his feelings are hurt, his feelings ae hurt. I don't care. His body going to hurt on the 12th." (Photo: Big Joe Miranda)

rocky111
08-07-2006, 01:24 PM
I told you guys this was gonna happen and its happening. Its gonna be a era of "Hopes" for the Americans and dont be surprised if "race" card doesnt get played. Anything to see tickets. Holyfield sees this and thats why hes still trying. I expect to see him fight for a title soon. Just as big a joke as the "White Hope" nonsense.

HE Grant
08-08-2006, 07:34 AM
Look boxing has been marketed along cultural and ethnic boundaries forever...as long as it is done within obvious parameters, I say take it with a grain of salt...I honestly did not know Maskaev was a US citizen. I can see it being insulting. However, since he is getting a shot at the title and it is all for the sake of a promotion that may help hype a terribly uninteresting fight, maybe he'll play along...no one is asking him to go into the ring with a huge fur cap. All and all, I can understand it being insulting if it is taken too literally ...

Regardless, I can still hardly believe that Rachman is a world champion without winning a title bout and looking bad for years. It would not surprise me if he is KO'ed again.

Todd
08-08-2006, 07:58 AM
A huge fur cap and one of those giant Russian coats would be tremendous. Hell, he should grab the mic from Buffer and demand the crowd stand and pay tribute to his version of the Soviet national anthem, à la Nikoli Vokoff. If you're going to go WWF with the characters, storylines, and promotion, then why go half-ass?

ShawnTheBleeder
08-08-2006, 03:09 PM
Raf, that's a great idea. I hope Maskaev's people are reading this thread. They should totally put him in an Uncle Sam get-up. Rahman's face would be priceless.
Shawn

GorDoom
08-09-2006, 03:50 PM
Rahman-Maskaev II In Primetime
by Rick Folstad

This fight isn’t about borders or hometowns or last names or what color your flag is when you stand up and salute it.

This fight is simply about the heavyweight title and who will own a piece of the championship late Saturday night after everyone goes home and they lock all the doors of the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.

Hasim Rahman is the local guy in this fight. You might say he’s from the neighborhood, one of the gang. He grew up in Baltimore, which is about as American as you can get without tattooing yourself red, white and blue.

Rahman holds the WBC belt. Of the four heavyweight champions claiming some kind of bragging rights to a world title, he’s the only one who grew up watching “Cheers” and “Miami Vice” and listening to Orioles’ games.

The other three champions are all from places you can’t spell or pronounce, towns and cities that used to have different borders than they do now. Eastern bloc places.

And since Rahman (41-5-2, 33 KOs) is the only guy among the champions who didn’t need a passport to get here, you might say he’s the favorite when he defends his title Saturday against Oleg Maskaev (32-5, 25 KOs).

“Patriotic, that’s what it is,” Rahman said on a recent conference call when asked if he felt like America’s last line of defense. “It is what it is. I mean, look around you. All the other belt holders are not American and they are trying to get a clean sweep. They’re going to send me out there to represent my country and I will do that.”

If the added pressure of hiking your country up onto your shoulders and carrying its reputation into the ring with you is going to make you a better fighter, then let Rahman run with it.

But the guy he’s fighting has a legitimate argument when he says if he wins, the title belt will still belong to America.

Describing himself as a proud Russian-American, Maskaev doesn’t live in Zhambul, Kazakhstan anymore. He’s an American citizen who now lives on Staten Island, which has a certain Archie Bunker feel to it.

Even Maskaev’s youngest child was born here, giving her immediate American citizen status.

So say what you want, he’s one of us now. Most of us were born in this country. Maskaev actually went out and chose to live here.

“This is part of the American dream,” said Maskaev, who maybe understands the dream better than a lot of people.

But the real intrigue in this fight isn’t about countries and cultures. It’s about history. These two have one.

Seven years ago, Maskaev was getting beat by Rahman when he landed one of those right hands that can help define a career. Rahman was knocked out of the ring, and almost into the lap of HBO’s Jim Lampley.

It was Rahman’s second career loss.

“I thought it was going to be an easy fight for me,” Rahman said of that November 1999 fight. “And I fought like it was going to be an easy fight. I wasn’t ready for a hard fight. I didn’t know Oleg Maskaev. I didn‘t know he was a legitimate contender.”

He knows now.

But Rahman claims he’s come a long way since that first fight. Farther than Maskaev has come.

“Maskaev is not a better fighter than me,” he said. “He simply went out and fought less competition than I have since we fought. And I feel I did better against better competition than he did. I don’t see where he even fought a world-class fighter since he fought me.”

Both fighters have done pretty well for themselves since that first fight.

Rahman has become a heavyweight champ.

Maskaev has become an American.

GorDoom
08-09-2006, 03:52 PM
Boxing News: Hasim Rahman Meets the Press
from Sweet Science

In anticipation of the August 12 heavyweight title fight between Hasim Rahman and Oleg Maskaev, The Rock, his co-managers and promoter Bob Arum met the press via telephone conference call. This is what went down…

BOB ARUM: As we get ready for the fight, August 12, Maskaev was on a conference call yesterday and today is The Rock’s turn. We’re very, very excited about this fight, should be a great fight. The response has been terrific and all signals are go. On the call we have – in addition to Hasim Rahman, the heavy weight champion of the world, there’s call managers, Steve Nelson and Ya Ya Caso. So let me introduce to you now, the heavyweight champion, Hasim Rahman.

HASIM RAHMAN: OK, thanks Bob. I just thank everybody for taking their time out being here and just assure everybody they going to get an exciting fight on August 12th.

KEVIN IOLE, LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: Yes, I just wanted to ask you – the confidence that your – have in your brother in the corner brings and, you know, kind of what he’s able to do for you, just knowing that you have a family member there working for you in the corner in the night of the fight.

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, it’s not only, you know, that’s he’s a family member. It’s – the man is a doctor, I know that, you know, he – any – anything that happens to me that – in a fight is nothing that he hasn’t seen before or he can’t diagnose. Pretty much the Holyfield fight is what really sealed the deal, what make me think that I need him in my corner because when – when my head is swelled up like that with the hematoma nobody really – could really tell me what was going on. And, me and my brother being a surgeon, he could’ve – easy, when I got out of the ring he could’ve came to me, he easy told me exactly what it was. And, when I went to the hospital seeing other doctors, they just repeated what he said. So whatever happens, it’s nothing that he hasn’t seen, it’s nothing he’s not capable of dealing with. So that just shows me that if I get cut, it’s no problem for him, you know what I mean? He’s fast to cut and he take me in the back after the fight and stitch me up right away, I don’t have to go to the hospital whatever. So therefore I, you know, whatever I do in the process if I do get cut, I’ll be spiffed up in a few minutes and I’ll be there for the press conference.

KEVIN IOLE: Do you feel like the Holyfield fight had, yes, (INAUDIBLE) in your corner that you would’ve won that fight?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I think the fight would’ve continued because he would’ve – he would’ve just told me exactly what it was, nice and calm, and straight and direct and told me what kind of danger I was or was not in. And, I think that it would’ve been – it would’ve been nothing else on my mind and we would’ve disputed anything that anybody else tried to do. But, you know, when you – when you get something like that over here, then you don’t have any idea what’s going on. You know, I don’t know, you know, what, I had never seen anything like that. But, I mean he sees it all the time, he saw it all the time, he’s very familiar with it.

So he just told me don’t worry about, told me exactly how long it was going to take to do this and drain it and I don’t want to have to do anything and no surgery was required. And, I mean that’s nice to know when you right there – is no – is no panic for me, you know? I mean, he just keep everything calm. So, I mean, it’s definitely amazing asset for me, and I think only nothing but doctors should be in the corner as a cutman, if you ask me.

KEVIN IOLE: And then finally, just the psychological aspect, obviously Maskaev is camping it up -- trying to play up the fact that, you know, you were knocked out by him and knocked out of the ring, that yesterday was the padding around the ring floor and everything. How do you react to those, does it anger you or is it motivating you?

HASIM RAHMAN: Not at all, neither of – neither, I mean I don’t need anymore motivation but that incident in ’99. I mean, it’s not Maskaev, it’s to me is Dennis Rappaport coming out because, you know, he’s trying to play mind games with me. But, I mean you can’t play mind games with me because, you know it don’t matter whatever he says. I mean why would they be trying to play mind games with me at this point? It’s a waste of time. In fact, you know, I maintain a Maskaev to (INAUDIBLE) fight to me. In fact, he came right back couple fights later and got knocked out the ring himself. So, I mean, what do – who does the padding – who is the padding needed for? Maskaev is not a better fighter than me, he simply went on and fought less competition than I have since we fought and I feel better against the better competition than had. So, you know, I mean, as you fought – any top ten guy says he fought me? I don’t think so, and if he did he’s Sinan Samil Sam, but I don’t really think that he’s a consistent Top-10 guy. So I don’t see where he even fought a world class fighter since he fought me. But, we’ll see, you know, we’ll see. I’m happy that they – they in real good shape, I’m in real good shape, and proof is in the pudding. We’re going to see on August 12. I tell you what, one bet (ph), that rank ain’t got to make no difference in they – in they plan. Whatever plans they got for me, we can just march right over because we going march right over Oleg Maskaev.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN.COM: Rock, can you talk just a little bit – you mentioned the first fight, you called it an incident from 1999. Can you just go over your mindset going into that fight and what you think led to the fact that he was able to knock you out in a fight that you were clearly winning?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, in 1999 I was supposed to fight Kirk Johnson on HBO, young, undefeated prospect, somebody who I viewed as a legitimate threat. Upon me being in training camp, training really hard for Kirk Johnson, Kirk Johnson pulls out of the fight. The replacement was supposedly Zeljko Maorvic, who I just saw go 12 hard rounds with Lennox Lewis and it looked like Lennox couldn’t hurt him with anything he threw. Another hard fight, which made me just want to stay at camp and train that much harder. To probably try to do something Lennox couldn’t do. Then, this guy pulled out of the fight or didn’t accept the fight. So Lennox tells me Oleg Maskaev is the replacement, so to me I thought HBO was just trying to fill a date and they going to just put whoever they can put there, you know? Oleg Maskaev, all I know from him was he got knocked out one round by Oliver McCall and I seen David Tua stop him Lee. So, I mean to me I just – to me I just really hit an easy time with David Tua and I wouldn’t let them get knocked out by all of us. So I said well they give me a cake, a piece of cake.

So I left training camp, went home to my daughter’s birthday and never returned to training camp and just proceed to train myself and do whatever I wanted to do. And then, a week before the fight, I think my trainer finally caught up with me …

DAN RAFAEL: How quick – how much before training camp – how much before the fight did you dug out of camp?

HASIM RAHMAN: Probably about three weeks.

DAN RAFAEL: And you didn’t go back?

HASIM RAHMAN: NO.

DAN RAFAEL: OK.

HASIM RAHMAN: So, I mean I did what I wanted to do and I mean I would – it seemed to me, I thought I had a heavy weight explosion type fighter in front of me, so it was going to be a easy fight. And, I fought the fight like it was going to be an easy fight, I wasn’t – I wasn’t ready for a hard fight. I didn’t know Oleg Maskaev …

HASIM RAHMAN: … was pretending, was somebody a legitimate threat.

HASIM RAHMAN: So I didn’t know he was (INAUDIBLE) …

HASIM RAHMAN: Oh, I got it – I got it. I didn’t know he was a legitimate contender.

HASIM RAHMAN: And, you know, I paid the price for it. But, if he – if he – if he really – if you really survey the fight and look at our career set, I mean, he took – he clearly took more punishment in that fight than I did. And, I came back and fought tough guys right after that, you know, I fought tough guys right after that like, you know, people was like well Rock was done and they tested me immediately and I passed the test, and then passed the test every shit (ph).

DAN RAFAEL: Rock, that right hand that landed that put you out of the ring, was that – I mean have you been hit by a better shot than that in your career in your opinion, whether it may be a Lennox Lewis rematch or other fights that you may have won, is that the worse shot you’ve ever taken?

HASIM RAHMAN: No, I don’t think it was the worse shot I ever taken because for one, he hurt me with a right hand right before that.

DAN RAFAEL: Yes.

HASIM RAHMAN: And, that set up that right hand. But, the reason why I say it’s not the best shot I ever taken or I don’t really give that much credibility to it is because of the condition I was in. And, if I was in better condition and he hit me with that right hand and it had the same effect, then I’d be giving him all the props in the world.

And maybe, you know, I wouldn’t, you know – it wouldn’t be – it wouldn’t be like so easy for me to want to get right back in there because I’d be like well what else can I do, you know? But, I really didn’t do anything and fought this guy.

DAN RAFAEL: Do you remember the knock out and remember falling out of the ring and all that?

HASIM RAHMAN: Yes, sir.

DAN RAFAEL: And, what do you remember about that – and when you see it because they’ve been playing it over and over on the commercials and on the previews and all that?

HASIM RAHMAN: I just hope that just make people want to come see what’s going happen for this fight.

DAN RAFAEL: So when you see it, it doesn’t make you …

HASIM RAHMAN: Not at all.

DAN RAFAEL: … think about it or embarrassed …

HASIM RAHMAN: Don’t make me embarrassed, it don’t make me anything because it is what it is, it happened in 1999. I went on and became two time heavy weight championships then. And so, I mean, obviously it didn’t – it wasn’t no lingering effect on me mentally, because I got it in with much bigger punchers and much better fighters.

DAN RAFAEL: Dennis Rappaport says you stay awake at night, can’t sleep, sweating because you think about it. Is he just, you know, trying to hype the fight?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I mean – what do you think?

DAN RAFAEL: I’m asking you, I’m (INAUDIBLE).

HASIM RAHMAN: I mean, and that’s the most rhetorical question I ever heard in my life. Obviously I don’t – I don’t – I don’t – I don’t study that at all because I clearly know what it was and why it was, and how it was. You know, he got that all because I allowed him to give it all. I came into the – into the fight grossly under prepared. So, I mean he did what he’s supposed to do.

DAN RAFAEL: And, have you wanted a rematch then?

HASIM RAHMAN: Yes, let me – let me get the verdict straight on something else because I hear people saying that, you know, that I – when I was – when I was – when I got this WBC title I could’ve – I could’ve fooled Maskaev out of a toenail (ph), I elected to fight Toney. It wasn’t – I wasn’t – I didn’t choose who I had to fight.

WBC mandated me to fight James Toney first and then Oleg Maskaev and that. So, you know, if it was up to me I would’ve fought Maskaev immediately.

CHUCK JOHNSON, USA TODAY: Just want to ask you how much stock you putting in this fight being viewed as America’s last line of defense?

HASIM RAHMAN: Patriotic, that’s what it is. It is what it is. I mean, look around you. All the other belt holders are not American and they trying to get a clean sweep. So, you know, they going to send me out there to represent my country and I will do that.

CHUCK JOHNSON: So, I mean, do you – do you feel added responsibility being the last recognized American champ right now?

HASIM RAHMAN: Yes, I do.

CHUCK JOHNSON: And what – in what respect?

HASIM RAHMAN: That I need to hold it down for my country. I feel like, you know, I’m not – if I lose this fight, I let me down, my family down, my team down, and my country down. I never before have I felt like I put my country on my back, and I’m fighting for my country, solely for my country. And, I feel like I’m – I mean I can’t allow this to happen, I can’t allow them to get a clean sweep.

CHUCK JOHNSON: OK. So, I mean in sa (ph) of giving them this position, I mean before – just a year ago, I mean, it wasn’t like the Russians weren’t in control of the heavy weight division. Why do you think it’s happened like this, Rock?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, they not in the control of the heavy weight division right now, let me clear that out.

CHUCK JOHNSON: OK.

HASIM RAHMAN: (INAUDIBLE), right now.

CHUCK JOHNSON: All right.

HASIM RAHMAN: So, you know, but they coming. They trying to be in control of the division. I think that – not just the Russians, but just around the world in every sport that people are catching up. I mean, you know, we got – we and the NBA, supposedly have the best basketball players in the world, they didn’t win Olympic Gold. The world baseball classic, I mean, that’s America’s pastime, baseball. We didn’t win the WBC.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes.

HASIM RAHMAN: I mean, we didn’t win a world baseball classic.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Right.

HASIM RAHMAN: So I don’t think it’s just boxing.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes.

HASIM RAHMAN: I just think that these sports are world renown now. Everybody’s practicing in everywhere, so, I mean, it’s – they bound to get better sooner or later and provide more competition. I mean, so I don’t think it’s just boxing solely, I think it’s everywhere people making a statement and they getting better.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes.

HASIM RAHMAN: You know, I mean – so they sending they best all the time. So, I mean I don’t think it’s just boxing, I just think it’s everywhere, they getting better, (INAUDIBLE).

CHUCK JOHNSON: (INAUDIBLE) just straight up and whatnot. Do you think, as far as intermingling with the American fighters are helping these Russian fighters become better as well?

HASIM RAHMAN: Oh, absolutely and that’s what they doing. They coming and getting – they taking the best of both sides. They taking what works for them, as far of their European style and then they mixing a little bit of the American style in there and learning to do more things. And, I think it’s been very successful for them.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Yes, Maskaev mentioned that. They also taken on the kind of American type attitude. It’s kind of like, you know, like a lot of boxers come from street backgrounds, you know, a little, got a little gangster in them. They’re taking on that kind of personality as well. Have you – have you seen that?

HASIM RAHMAN: Not at all.

CHUCK JOHNSON: No? OK.

HASIM RAHMAN: No, they don’t get out of order with me so I don’t need – as long as they don’t get out of order with me where I don’t need to address none of that.

CHUCK JOHNSON: All right – all right. So what – what do you see different about Rock Manufact (ph) Maskaev in 1999 now, I mean what – how are you different, Rock?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I mean, I was just a wild young gunslinger thinking I was, you know, strong and thinking that I – be, you know, just cocky, arrogant, thinking nobody could beat me. And, I just went out there thinking I’m going to knock everybody out. But, now I know what to do, I know those – the importance of a jab, I know how to set things up. I can see – I can see clearly what he’s trying to do, I can really recognize his attack and try to blunt it,

whereas those end (ph) I couldn’t recognize anything he was trying to do. I just was going out there, I got in line first and that’s it.

FRANKLIN McNEIL, NEWARK STAR-LEDGER: Hey, quick question. How is it, Rock, in this fight going to be different than the Rock who forefayed (ph) the monte (ph), being in the last two fights, Monte Barrett and James Toney. Will you be any different in this fight? Will you approach it any different?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I maintain that if I have two different opponents in front of me, you might’ve seen a much more exciting fighter. Basically styles makes fight. If I got a guy who was really, you know, really moving and – and really not really trying to engage in the fight, it might not make for the most exciting fight. If I got a guy who’s defensively probably the best heavy weight fighter out there, that might not make for the most exciting fight. But, if I got a guy who feels as though he’s going to knock me out and come in and try to knock me out and then go and stand in front of me, that’s going to make for an exciting fight. So I believe that styles make fights and I got this style, he has the style that make for an exciting fight.

FRANKLIN MCNEIL: As far as everyone talking about the knockout in ’99, is this a statement fight for you?

HASIM RAHMAN: Absolutely, I get the chance to defend – to defend my title, to avenge the loss, to hold it down for my country. I’m definitely going to make a big statement in this fight.

FRANKLIN MCNEIL: Is revenge a factor?

HASIM RAHMAN: Of course.

ROBERT MORALES, LA DAILY NEWS GROUP: Listen, actually most of my questions were already asked, but I did want to ask you one thing. In regards to the Toney fight, were you happy with your performance or do you think you could’ve done a little bit more to make it, you know, to actually win the fight and there not be any, you know, controversy about, you know, because nobody likes a draw, especially not in a title fight.

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I – I’m – the – my answer is two fold. I am happy with my performance and I also do think I could’ve done more to make it more decisive. But, I mean I definitely think that the deck was stacked against me. When I look over and I look at – and my corner is just myself and Bob Arum, and I look at Don King and Al Haymon and Dan Goossen, and everybody’s in his corner. And, I felt like James Toney, you know, is a tough fighter and I think I went in and fought him on the inside and I hustled him and worked him.

And, if he hit me with shots, but every shot he hit me with, I threw three, four, five shots to count it at. The man went to the hospital for two and a half weeks after that fight, I just went home and relaxed. So they want to call it a draw they call it a draw. No judge (ph) said, tell him winning, two judges saw the draw, one judge saw me winning, and to me it’s not my first draw, but I definitely think I never fought a draw.

Both draws I have on my record, I clearly think I won the fight. So I’m OK with it. But, if and when we do fight again, I will do more and I will make it a more one-sided fight and we’ll, and, you know, and serve (ph) more dominance in the fight.

TIM SMITH, NY DAILY NEWS: Just wanted to ask if you thought that from his perspective, since he knocked you out, he’d be more confident, do you think he’s going to come right after you? And, if you were in the same position as he was, if you had a knockout over a guy, regardless of whatever you felt the circumstances were, would you take the same approach? Would you go right after that guy thinking that you got that guy’s number?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I mean, it depends because – it depends on what happened to me in my career, you know? Or how would I do because he’s been knocked out by guys that I knock out in the gym on a regular basis. So, I mean, my confidence is up if you look at it from that – if I look at it from that point of view. Guy (ph) didn’t knock timall (ph), you know, can’t even last for me in the gym, I mean I put him to sleep in the gym. So, I don’t know if his confidence is – where his confidence is. I hope his confidence is high, I hope he does come right at me because Bob ain’t going play me by the round. So, I mean, you know, if I can get him out of there in one round, that’s fine with me, I’m going be all moving to something else like well come on, can we fight next week, can we fight next month?

TIM SMITH: But, I thought Bob had a clause in there, he was paying you for the round?

BOB ARUM: Oh, no – no, no.

TIM SMITH: If you don’t last one round (INAUDIBLE) a dollar you get.

HASIM RAHMAN: Those are – we going go in, he said …

BOB ARUM: I told him if he knocks him out I’ll go and eat a good meal.

HASIM RAHMAN: That’s right, he going take me get something to eat, there you go.

TIM SMITH: That – now, this is not from a – from a standpoint of advancing anything in the heavy weight division. This just seems like a fight that a treadmill kind of fight. I mean, I’m wondering how do you look at it – does it fit into your idea of unifying the titles or becoming, you know, the man in the heavy weight division or, I mean where does this fight fit into the overall grand scheme of, you know, heavy weight domination or a dominant heavy weight?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I disagree with you on the fact that it’s a treadmill fight. I think that I – the performance, and if I come out and put on a dominant performance like I plan to put on, then I think it’s going – definitely I will move further ahead. And, I think that I – the ultimate fight for me is for Bob to go ahead and get Klitschko and make Rahman-Klitschko, simple as that. That’s what’s – that’s what’s on my mind, that’s what I need, I think that’s what the public needs, that’s what everybody needs for clarity because I’m not even interested in the other two belts because nobody could ever defend all four belts anyway. And, unless somebody come up with a tournament with one belt and one champion, that’s going be always the champion, nobody can ever defend all those mandatories (ph) and the script and this and that and the other and paying all those entry fees, I’m not interested in that. What I am interested in is Wladimir Klitschko, he’s the only guy that everybody ever says the best guy – I disagree with people saying that because of his choices. But, you know, I accept it and if I got – that’s what I got to go through to be the man, I’m willing to do that.

LEM SATTERFIELD, BALTIMORE SUN: OK, Rock mentioned earlier that you continue with your plans for him and he just made a reference to Klitschko, can you first of all express and reiterate why you are so confident in him and that he got you in the heavy weight division and maybe shed a little light on your plan?

BOB ARUM: Well number one, you know, I been around this game for over 40 years now. And, one thing I know with fighters that if there’s so many outside distractions, if they’re fighting with their managers or promoters they can’t concentrate on what they have to do, they lose focus. And, Rock has been through most of his career, a situation where, you know, situations where his promoters were causing distractions and therefore he couldn’t perform to the best of his ability. So when we decided to go in together, Rahman and ourselves, we told him that the one thing he would never have to worry about was us. That he could forget about it, that we’re on his side, that we will work together, and that we will do everything to make the pot as big as possible. So he – that’s like a rock off his back and we know that he has the ability to be a first class world class, on the historic basis, heavy weight. And, this is his opportunity to do it, and he will have the opportunity. And, I think he will beat any of the heavy weights out there. He’ll beat Maskaev, hopefully we’ll be able to do another fight before the end of this year. And then, I’ve had expansive discussions with Shelly Finkel about a Klitschko fight sometime within the first four months of next year.

LEM SATTERFIELD: OK. Has anything happened in the time that you’ve been with him to believe – to make you believe that this won’t happen? I mean, he seems, you know, I was and I saw what (INAUDIBLE), you know, great condition, he seems real focused, he seems to have cleaned some things out, you know, that he needed to do. Is that consistent with what you’ve seen or do you – are you still confident?

BOB ARUM: All we can do is do number one, treat him as the heavyweight champion that he is. Number two, avoid any kind of distractions or controversy with us. Give him a clear path. And, that’s what we’ve done. I, you know, the rest of it, he’s a very intelligent guy as you all know and he understands what he has to do to be recognized as the top heavy weight in the world.

LEM SATTERFIELD: And Rock, can you just shed some light on your relationship and how things have gone since you’ve signed with Bob?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I mean I don’t – I think that if I had to recommend a promoter or a promotional company our outfit (ph) to anybody, you know, I’ve been with it – with a couple and I’ve heard stories about a couple. But, this has been absolutely the way to go. I mean, I can’t – I can’t really give enough praise to Bob. I mean Bob and I don’t go out to the movies, we don’t hang out, we don’t go to clubs, we don’t gamble, anything like that.

But, one thing I tell you, everything that the man tells me has been right on and he hit it – he hit the nail on the head when he – when he tell you promotionally, you know, he make sure that everything is taken care of. If there’s anything not taken care of and if it’s – I mean I don’t even have to make a phone call because everything is taken care of. If he tells me it’s cheese on the moon, I just bring my crackers and that’s just how it’s been. You know, I mean, and I can’t – I can’t complain, I respect Top Rank for that because that’s the way you do it. And, the biggest – the biggest thing that he said was that they know how to treat the heavyweight champion, they make me feel like I’m the heavy weight champion. Not just because when Bob sees me he gets loud and let everybody know (INAUDIBLE), heavyweight champion – heavyweight champion. No, he do with his actions, he do it what he says, he comes through with, and he makes sure that, you know, we talk about everything and he sets the plan in motion and he put the orders on me, no, Rock. I can do this, do this, do that never for you, but all I ask from you is you to go out and win. And so, if that’s all that – if that’s the only thing I got to do then I’m fine with that. And, I mean I appreciate Top Rank for that. So, I mean, it’s no pressure on me but to go out and win. I don’t really have to worry about this, I don’t really have to worry about that. I know when I’m at that fight everything is going to be, everything what he said. So I’m definitely cooler than the fan (ph) with my situation with Top Rank.

TRAE THOMPSON, FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM: Hey, quick question, go back to what you mentioned earlier with Klitschko. So as far as I – are there guys in the division who are exciting, got some talent, is that the one guy like, that you’re saying hey, I want a piece of him?

HASIM RAHMAN: Absolutely, that’s what I’m saying.

TRAE THOMPSON: Oh, OK.

HASIM RAHMAN: One belt is passe.

TRAE THOMPSON: Quick question too, other people have mentioned all the Russians too about just them having all the other titles. What is it about them specifically that they do well as far as style wise, technique wise, how would you break it down?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well I don’t think – I just think they solid and they train hard and they don’t take things for granted and they don’t have any distractions that most of American heavy weights have. I think a lot of American heavy weights get it twisted that as soon as we get a little bit of success, then we want to go out and buy a bunch of jewelry and a bunch of cars and be at everything and let everybody know we are somebody and we’ve accomplished something, when in actuality we really haven’t accomplished anything. And, I think that we move a little too fast, as opposed to those guys they stay hungry and they – and they – and they stay on the quest. And, I think that’s why they get a little more success because they not Americanized, if you will, to the point whereas though it’s hurting their career.

EDUARDO OHATA, FOLHA DE S. PAULO: Mr. Rahman , they say that the state of boxing follows the heavyweight division, what would mean – what would happen to boxing if there was no American heavyweight champion?

HASIM RAHMAN: I don’t – I don’t – I don’t see that happening. So I don’t even really know how to answer that question.

EDUARDO OHATA: OK. And, how do you – how do you reacted to the fact that from when the people say that you are inconsistent?

HASIM RAHMAN: Oh, well I agree with them. You know, I mean I agree with them. But, the same way they label me as inconsistent in the past, they going to have to start to label me as consistent because I will constantly come in with my weight good, with my ability to throw punches good, my conditioning excellent and I’m going to stay with it. So the same way you get labeled as inconsistent is the same way you get labeled as consistent. It depends on how you do and what you do over a period of time. So, as I got six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 12, fights that I’m consistently in shape and good and winning, then, you know, that’s how you shed the label. So I haven’t shed any label, but I mean I don’t have a problem with people saying I’m inconsistent because if I take inventory of my own career, I would have to agree with them.

EDUARDO OHATA: OK, and one last question. How did the separation get to the point of America in danger of it not having a American heavy weight champion?

HASIM RAHMAN: Oh, we’re not in danger.

CHUCK JOHNSON, USA TODAY: You know what, I was talking with Don King. How much credit do you give him for getting you in this position this year and right now?

HASIM RAHMAN: None – none.

CHUCK JOHNSON: None? OK. He calls you a traitor, is there any validity to that?

HASIM RAHMAN: Well I guess, you know, I’ll put it to you like this, and this all I’m going to say on it. I’m getting ready to fight Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali Klitschko. I owe the IRS some money, the remainder of the money, I can pay the IRS their money, me and Don can come up with a nice amicable split where both us can be happy and we can move on and get the title and go on and move on together like promoter and fighter should do. I wake up the next morning and see Don King sues me, he don’t call me, he doesn’t do anything. He sues me for the other half of the money. So if you want me to go and fight, risk my life and fight for the world title and – for free, but you my partner, we on teams and, you know, something wrong with that picture. And, if you want to say who traded on who, I didn’t sue Don, he sued me. So, you know, I mean Don really got to stop trying to rewrite history because his remixes is always slightly tainted in his favor. But, it is what it is, he sued me, I didn’t sue him. So who’s the traitor?

CHUCK JOHNSON: But, he said he claims also that you used the bankruptcy court to get out the contract and he says that you really weren’t bankrupt.

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I mean, if I wasn’t – if I wasn’t then I wouldn’t be allowed to do this, this is America.

CHUCK JOHNSON: Right.

HASIM RAHMAN: Said I’m only in America.

CHUCK JOHNSON: All right, appreciate it. All right.

DAN RAFAEL, ESPN: Hey Rock. I wanted to follow up. There’s been a lot of discussion on the call about, you know, the America’s last under the fence theme of the fight and Oleg Maskaev, yesterday, made a, you know, quite a point to say that he’s been an American citizen for several years and that Dennis Rappaport, whoever wins the fight’s going to be America’s – depending these stock and the fact that even though although he’s from eastern Europe (INAUDIBLE), but he’s still an American citizen, that whoever wins the fight is still going to be an American. Even if, you know, I know you expect to win. But, the point would be that an American will still hold the title.

HASIM RAHMAN: Well how about this, let me get a little bit more specific. I don’t really care where he’s from, how long he’s been here, this American will hold the title.

DAN RAFAEL: OK, so he’s, you mean his point was he was taking a little bit of offense to the fact that they had named the belt that – or named the fight that, given that possibly that he would win. But, it would not be an American fight. But, you don’t – you don’t see any point to that – to that title being …

HASIM RAHMAN: Yes, I don’t really study nothing that Dennis says or Oleg says or whatever. I mean, if his feeling hurt, his feeling hurt. You know, I don’t care. His body going hurt on the 12th.

ROBERT JONES, PREMIER ROUND (ph): I was just wondering if the Klitschko fight didn’t pan out or if it was going to take, you know, a little longer to get together if you’d be interested in fighting someone else you already fought, like Toney or to even John Ruiz.

HASIM RAHMAN: I put it to you like this, I give my promoter the green light, all you got to do is get me an opponent. Whoever the opponent is, he don’t even have to tell me who the opponent is. All he got to do is tell me we got a fight on such and such date, and I’m sure that that’s a promoter’s dream that’s all they got to do. They don’t got to fuss and argue with the fighter. Whoever he wants me to fight, that’s who we fight. It don’t really matter to me. I know I can prepare myself – as long as you give me enough time to prepare. I know I can prepare myself to beat any man in this world.

ROBERT JONES: All right. I know for a while you got really big into lifting weights and I was – with your brother I believe, right?

HASIM RAHMAN: Yes.

ROBERT JONES: Were you – are you – do you still do that at all when you’re training or do you gone away from that? (INAUDIBLE).

HASIM RAHMAN: I lift weights when I’m not in training camp for a fight, you know.

ROBERT JONES: OK.

HASIM RAHMAN: Once I – once I go into training camp, I leave it – the weights alone.

ROBERT JONES: All right. And, does – I had a question. I was just wondering how you got into boxing? I wrote, I mean I wrote an interesting story about how you got into a, I guess it was called a body punching fight or something with someone on the street and that led you to the gym. Could you go into that a little if you’d want to?

HASIM RAHMAN: Yes, well I was basically a former boxer, grab me from behind and challenged me to a body punching contest.

ROBERT JONES: Oh, OK.

HASIM RAHMAN: We got into this body punching contest, I wind up winning the contest and making him quit. And, he told me that – he told me come back here tomorrow, he going take me to the gym and I’ll make a million dollars. I looked in my pockets, I had about $45 in my pocket, I said $45 here, a million dollars there, that sound like he’s supposed to rest (ph), let me go right down there. So then, from that point, you know, I went to the gym and it was like love at first sight, I had never really leave out the gym.

STEVE NELSON: First of all I want to thank Top Rank, of course, for putting this conference call together. Just want to let everyone know we’ve been big bear for five solid weeks. This is going to be my 49th fight with Rock, and I got to tell you something and I said it before. I’ve seen Rock at his best (INAUDIBLE) I’m telling you the truth, he has never been better than he is right now. And, on August 12th, he’s going to erase the demon of Oleg Maskaev and go on to bigger and better things. One last thing then to a quick announcement. On the news stands tomorrow, Sports Illustrated is running a feature on Hasim Rahman. So the mainstream press is coming out and following this fight. And again, bigger and better things in the future.

YAHYAH CASO: Yes, I’d just like to say thanks a lot for everybody coming out to this conference call and definitely want to thanks Top Rank for having this and being part of our team. And, I’d like to echo what Steve said. Basically, I mean, Rock is definitely in the best shape of his life. And, the first time he fought Oleg, you know, he had the element of surprise and conditioning of Rock. And, this time I can tell you, there’s nothing that he has on Rock and there’s no such thing as a full glock losing (ph) but I definitely have all the faith in the world that Rock is going to perform excellently on August 12th. Thanks a lot.

HASIM RAHMAN: Well, I know Bob (INAUDIBLE) going to hear this one. But, you know, this is a fight that I would’ve took for 25,000.

HASIM RAHMAN: This is a fight that I would’ve took for 10,000, 25,000, whatever. This is a fight that I wanted for so long because I really believe that every man that I got into the ring with that I can beat. And, if I go on to say that, you know, this going go a long way to proving it, because, and not only do I plan on winning this fight, I plan on winning this fight in spectacular fashion. So therefore, when my promoter calls whoever, they going want a piece of the Rock. So therefore, I got to go out and do what I got to do and on August 12th, it’s going to be something special. So whoever – whoever’s on this conference call, you’ll better get your editors or your bosses to spring for some plane fairs and hotel fees, you’ll ain’t going want to miss this one. But, in case you’ll do miss it, Pay-per-view, 49.95, make sure you’ll check it out on HBO Pay-per-view.

BOB ARUM: Thank you all for coming on. Thanks for the champ for a very entertaining, informative conference call. I’d like to talk a little bit, just briefly about the rest of the cod (ph), because you know, Pay-per-view cod (ph), three hours of boxing action in the principle on the cod (ph) vad (ph), Humberto Soto will fight for the WBC interim, 130 pound championship against Ivan Valle. Both are from Los Mochis, Mexico and so there’s a obviously a lot of excitement there about that fight. In addition, Jose Armando Santa Cruz, one of the most exciting entertaining lightweight fighters will defend his WBC interim lightweight championship against David Diaz of Chicago. David was a former member of the Olympic team in from in the Atlanta Olympics, the U.S. Olympic team.

UNKNOWN MALE #2: In ’96.

BOB ARUM: In ’96, right. And finally, Vanes “The Nightmare” Martirosyan, a member of the Atlanta 2004 U.S. Olympic team 9 and zero with six knockouts, fights Marcus Brooks, 6’1 with three knockouts from South Carolina. So it’s an interesting, interesting card, it’s being distributed by HBO Pay-per-view and the price, as Rock says is 49.95, and believe me, it’s going to be worth it. Because for the heavy weight fight, I mean, no matter how long it goes, it’s so exciting. People are watching for the knockout and I think you’re going to see one as the Rock continues to show his domination of the heavyweight division. So thank you all for tuning in on this call.

GorDoom
08-09-2006, 03:55 PM
Is anybody going to buy this fight? I know I'm not. Should be interesting to see if we can even get anybody to cover this lash-up for the board.

This fight gives true meaning to the phrase: "The dog days of August".


GorDoom

OMG65
08-09-2006, 04:39 PM
Nobody here has one of those little black boxes where you can get all the pay per views for free? :)

49.95. Ouch!!!!!
I think I'll just stay up late and watch the ESPN 2 sports ticker on the bottom of the screen to get the results.That is if they deem this fight important enough to even put on the ticker.

kikibalt
08-09-2006, 04:50 PM
Who is going to win?--who cares?

Am I going to buy it?---NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mexal
08-09-2006, 06:32 PM
Now seriously, who is in charge of deciding which fights go on PPV and which don't? Why do something like this?

ricky
08-10-2006, 05:20 AM
I'll be buying,but I'm a boxing addict. Can't stand to miss a fight and to be honest I'm actually looking forward to this fight. Even though Maskaev is way past his prime ( and his prime wasn't all that great to begin with) from what I've seen of him latley he can still fight some and he can definatly punch. like it or not Rahman is still one of the top dogs in the division and he's fighting a guy that holds a devestating KO win over him. I know that was ages ago but that will always be in the back of a fighters mind, some deal with it better than others. We'll see how Rahman handles it, should be intresting. On the other hand it can ( and probably will) turn out to be a borefest. The Santa cruz-Diaz fight will not be.

Overhand_Right
08-11-2006, 08:21 AM
Judging by the weigh in, both men have come to play:

http://www.ufcfightnews.com/maskaev-rahman-weighin.htm

235 is a rare good weight for Rahman. And 238 is about standard for The Big O. Like i said earlier, despite the depressing championship label & ppv status, this should be an entertaining fight. I perosnally keep coming back to Maskaevs kayos to Whitaker & T-Rex. The guys chin is gone & although Rahman has been too slow to knock out anyone of note in years, he should be in line for one tomorrow night.

I like Rahmans heart & whatever happens, he might have to climb off the floor, that chin of maskaev will betray him at some point, im saying Rahman via CKO (Cataclysmic Knockout)

Steve Coughlin
08-11-2006, 12:19 PM
Hi! My name's Steve and I'm a PPVholic ... Sure, I could blame a good friend in the UK for begging me to buy it & record it for him, but we all know the real truth.

:o

GorDoom
08-11-2006, 12:22 PM
On Paper, Rock and No Scissors
by Michael Katz from Sweet Science

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 11 – Trainers comes, trainers go. The Rock remains as solid as quicksand, as steadfast as a yo-yo.

It is the only reason I can think of that the odds on tomorrow night’s fight at the Thomas & Mack favor Hasim Rahman by only minus $2 over Oleg Maskaev and don’t give me 1999.

On paper, this is a minus $5 fight, and who cares if Maskaev put Jim Lampley’s lap between The Rock and the hard place of the Atlantic City floor. On paper, this is a $50 pay-per-view ripoff.

Maskaev, now 37, went on from his spectacular 1999 knockout of Rahman to be knocked out in three of his next seven starts. His longtime trainer advised him to retire. Instead, he hooked up with the son of the man who had poor Gerry Cooney and his chronic sore shoulder punching walls. Maskaev has now won ten straight against opposition that began with Erol Sadikovski and ended with Sinan Sam.

Win, lose or draw, Rahman has gone on from 1999 to face people like Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield, David Tua, John Ruiz, Monte Barrett and James Toney. It shouldn’t be much of a match, despite the 1999 result.

Yes, Maskaev’s right hand is still dangerous, especially since Rahman has not grown another chin. But the underlying cause of the low odds, I believe, was best expressed by The Rock’s trainer, Eddie Futch disciple Thell Torrence, before their last fight, the draw last March 18 against James Toney:

“I’m not worried about James Toney,” Torrence said. “I’m worried about Rock.”

Was he ever right. He had devised a perfect game plan, and kept reminding Rahman between rounds, of just using his jab and staying away from the out-of-shape counter-punching master. Rahman should have won every round, easily. Instead, he got it in his head he wanted to beat Toney at his own game, fighting on the inside, and was lucky to wind up with a draw.

This fight, Torrence said, “Rock’s jab should be a very effective weapon.” Rahman could probably win with just that punch. Ah, but we’re talking about The Rock. So maybe it is a contest.

“Everything works off the jab,” said Rahman. “He’s going to be a bloody mess after the first round.”

Of course, there’s always the 1999 knockout. Dennis Rappaport, Maskaev’s promoter, says Rahman wakes up every morning in a cold sweat after dreaming about it.

“Dennis Rappaport is like a locust,” said Rahman, always one of boxing’s best quotes, “he returns every 17 years.”

Kelly Swanson, Rahman’s publicist, shook her head: “It’s a cicada,” she corrected.

The real bug though is whether the knockout almost seven years ago bothers Rahman.

“It’s over,” said Torrence. ‘I haven’t seen any indication that there’s any effect.”

Rahman explains away the 1999 result by reminding everyone that, knowing Maskaev had been knocked out in one round by Oliver McCall (it was the former Soviet amateur star’s seventh pro fight), HBO had provided “a gimme” when it came up with a late substitution for the injured Kirk Johnson, his original opponent.

Rahman said he broke camp three weeks before the fight to help celebrate a daughter’s birthday and didn’t bother returning. It was as easy as he thought when he piled up a clear margin after seven rounds. “One round, I had him gone,” Rahman said. “He spit his mouthpiece out.”

But then he got hit. It was a right hand and, he said the other day, “it was the first time I’ve really been hurt. The next punch was just icing on the cake.”

Maskaev moved right in and landed the highlight reel shot that sent Rahman threw the ropes, ricocheting off Jim Lampley and with a crash of the back of his head on the floor.

Someone asked what it felt like to be knocked out like that.

“Surely you don’t think I remember?” The Rock replied. “I was out when I went through the ropes.”

No, he doesn’t sound too perturbed about his history with Maskaev. But then, The Rock could always talk, could always find excuses. Evander Holyfield was butting him from the beginning, finally creating “another head on my head” in reference to the grotesque swelling that forced the bout to be halted. His stoppage by David Tua, in their first meeting, was “bogus,” he said – and indeed, he was well ahead though probably on his way to being knocked out when Tua clocked him after the bell ending the ninth round. Tua should have been disqualified, or the fight should have gone to the scorecards. Instead, it resumed and the still-groggy Rahman was stopped early in the tenth.

But for the rematch, he actually showed up in worse shape than did Tua, almost as if he had James Toney as his conditioning coach. For his horrible 12-round performance against John Ruiz, “something happened the day of the fight.” For the Lennox Lewis rematch, which he said was “legit,” he said he had been “sleepwalking, daydreaming.”

“If I’m in shape, it’s hard to deal with me,” he said.

He’s in shape. He weighed in at 235 pounds yesterday, only one more than he did seven years ago for Maskaev. But his conqueror, at 238, was only two pounds heavier than he was in 1999. He’s in shape, too.

In a very real sense, Rahman could be grateful for his loss to Maskaev. Only 17 months later, he knocked out Lennox Lewis with one right hand to strike gold in South Africa.

“Sometimes,” he said, “a loss can be better than a win. I’ve seen guys land title shots after they lose.”

Victor Valle Jr., Maskaev’s trainer, says his man has improved dramatically since 1999. Maybe, but Maskaev hasn’t proven that against anyone in the major leagues. Rahman, too, can claim to be improved.

“I can adopt to fighters much better than I used to,” he said. “Inconsistency is definitely in the past.”

Without looking past Maskaev, he looks past Maskaev and says – like the challenger – he would like next to go after Wladimir Klitschko, the biggest name among the three other titleholders.

Klitschko has a card set for HBO in November. Rahman said he could be ready. “I’ll be able to fight in September,” he said.

He has no interest in Sergei Liahkovich, the Belarussian who upset Lamon Brewster for one title earlier this year. “Lamon makes guys look much better than they are,” he said.

The 7-foot-2 Russian, Nicolai Valuev, who beat John Ruiz for a belt, “once fought on one of my undercards. He’s getting better and if he doesn’t want to play for the Sixers, he might get a shot.”

Of course, there’s always a rematch with Toney. “He has to get past Samuel Peter first (Sept. 2),” said Rahman. “He should – easily.”

Evander Holyfield doesn’t think so. “Toney is definitely a clever fighter,” said the hardy perennial on the phone from Shreveport, La., where he was trumpeting his return next Friday in Dallas against Jeremy Bates. “But he’s going to have problems. Sammy, he swings down, so you really can’t duck him. It’s like George Foreman and Joe Frazier. George kept hitting him on the top of the head. Even if you think you’re ducking, you’re going to get, in the back of the head, on top the head.”

For the record, Holyfield picks Rahman tomorrow. “I would like for him to win,” he said.

Me, I like both contestants. They’re both joys to talk to, good people. On paper, Rahman should have it easy. But frankly, I don’t give a damn who wins as long as they both make money, nobody gets hurt and Bob Arum stops waving flags.

PENTHOUSE: Omar Nino, in his first fight outside Mexico, upset Brian Viloria last night at the Orleans here and it wasn’t close. Nino, who has been stopped twice in his career but also holds a victory over Jorge Arce, was in complete control of the 108-pound title bout after the opening round and won by scores of 118-1l0, 117-112 and 117-111. Off television, I had it 117-111. It’s good for the game every now and then for the popular house fighter to not only lose, but for the judges – Adelaide Byrd, Chuck Giampa and Mark Green of Britain – to see it clearly….Also, credit Wallace Matthews on OLN (Our Lady of Nookie?) to point out in the second or third round that the funk Viloria was in looked like it was going to be a major upset….I’d say it was almost as big as Carlos Baldomir beating Zab Judah, but Viloria was hardly as respected as the bling king from Brooklyn.

OUTHOUSE: Bob Arum, who was trumpeting Viloria for a major payday against Koki Kameda in Japan. Sometimes, you shouldn’t start promoting big fights before your guy gets past the man he’s first facing. Remember, Bob, how Tommy Morrison was going on to face Lennox Lewis until you put him in – at my suggestion, I might add – with Michael Bentt?

GorDoom
08-11-2006, 12:34 PM
Rahman-Maskaev II Fight Predictions from Sweet Science

Live Saturday night from the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada (HBO PPV), Hasim “The Rock” Rahman defends his WBC heavyweight title against his former conqueror Oleg Maskaev. When they first met in ’99, Big O knocked Rock unconscious and out of the ring. Much has happened since that starry night, most of it to Hasim Rahman. If Rock retains the crown this weekend he’ll have saved the day for the USA. If Maskaev gets the W, the history of the heavyweight division better get rewritten fast. This is how The Sweet Science writers see Rahman vs. Maskaev II.

I'm looking forward to this fight about as much as I'm looking forward to seeing Rocky VI. In fact, I'm probably more excited about Rocky VI because then I'll find out if Antonio Tarver can act. What's wrong with this fight? It's on pay-per-view. Maskaev is a nice guy, but he can't fight anymore (ouch!), and Rahman is a decent boxer but I'm tired of watching him in big fights. When's the last time Rahman was involved in a really exciting fight? Five years ago against Lennox Lewis. The last time Maskaev fought a credible opponent was five years ago against Lance Whitaker. What does that tell you? This fight should not be taking place on pay-per-view. I don't care that Rahman was knocked out of the ring the last time he fought Maskaev. That was almost seven years ago! This is really a step backward for the heavyweight division. I don't have a prediction for this one because I won't be watching it.
Mitch Abramson

When the American and the transplanted Kazakhstani do battle, where they were born won’t matter. When they were born might. Rahman, nearly four years younger than Maskaev, promises to outwork his slow, methodical 37-year-old opponent. Both men possess knockout power, but the bet here is that this one will go to the scorecards. The first time these men met, in 1999, Maskaev was trailing 70-63 and 68-65 twice when he knocked Rahman out of the ring and out of the fight in the 8th round. As a result Rahman will fight carefully Saturday night, and will look to win rounds without exposing himself to Maskaev’s big right hand. For the first time in his career, Maskaev will lose by decision.
David Berlin

I'm going with Rahman because Bob Arum says he's the guy who's going to win and how do you argue with Arum? Besides, Rahman has been fighting some of the the best heavyweights out there since being stopped by Maskaev, while Oleg still hasn't been tested. Rahman by decision.
Rick Folstad

I was there when Maskaev launched Rahman in 1999. Oleg, one of the sweetest and wittiest personalities in the game, has not accomplished much since and at age 37 he doesn't figure to have much left. The Rock has been inconsistent his entire career and his chin does not match up well with Maskaev's right hand, but then, Oleg's chin does not match up well with Rahman's right. I think the difference will be Rahman's jab. It could be explosive, but I suspect since both guys know they can be hurt, this is going to be an unexpected boxing match. Rahman should get the decision.
Michael Katz

The general rule of the knockout winner of a fight doing the trick more easily in a rematch goes out the window when we are talking about Hasim Rahman and Oleg Maskaev. Rahman and Maskaev are on totally different career tracks with Rahman never more prepared for his fights than he is these days. Maskaev's early menace and reputation has been kicked in; Maskaev's even being in this fight tells us more about heavyweight boxing in 2006 than it does the quality he brings to this encounter. And Rahman will be looking to make a point when it comes to Maskaev; that spells a knockout for the pride of Baltimore.
Patrick Kehoe

Break out the Geritol and Ben-Gay; both these guys remind me of two old men, stiff and past their prime yet still talking the talk. I'm going to go out on a limb and say Maskaev wants it more than Rahman. Oleg is a solid fighter, Rahman is wishy-washy and you never know who's going to show up. My predictionfiltered= my best guess which is Oleg will win a boring clinchfest via unanimous decision.
Scott Mallon

Usually the guy who knocks someone out once does it again in the rematch. Because the underachieving Rahman talks so much better than he fights, it would seem that he is due to be silenced. But Maskaev has been stopped several times since the Rahman fight and he was losing handily when he got lucky in that one. My head says Rahman in a stinker, but I'm going with Maskaev by a knockout. I like his steely determination and his refusal to get sucked into all the ethnic hoopla. Since receiving his citizenship, Maskaev is as American as Rahman. Moreover, he is a proud man who is already living the American Dream. Sometimes nice guys finish first and Maskaev knows this is his last shot to do so. What better opponent than the lazy Rahman? Maskaev won't let this opportunity pass him by. Maskaev KO 8.
Robert Mladinich

Let’s face it, neither of these guys are the most scientific boxers in the world, but they can both bang and maybe that’s all that’s expected in the heavyweight division these days. It should be a good brawl and a good win is vital for Rahman if he is to have any real credibility as champion. I’ll pick Rahman by TKO, but if he get’s cocky and careless, Maskaev will take his head off.
Deon Potgieter

Rahman will continue to do what he was doing seven years ago before he got clocked out of the ring. With a measure of caution, he’ll keep a distance, staying behind a pumping left jab and drop in the occasional right to keep Maskaev honest, or until he breaks down and can take no more. It’ll be a knockout -- not a TKO -- about the seventh round. This time it’ll be Rahman left standing.
Joe Rein

Rahman has had plenty of time to forget about the loss to Maskaev, and I do not think the 37-year-old naturalized American citizen has enough left to remind him.
Ed Schuyler

It has been almost six years since Oleg Maskaev knocked Hasim Rahman through the ropes in Atlantic City. Since then, Rahman has found momentum, lost it, and found it again, winning the heavyweight title twice in the process. He has also learned how to close the deal with fighters like Maskaev. In their first fight, Rahman was winning handily before Maskaev landed a fight-altering shot. He will not make the same mistake again. Rahman by TKO.
Aaron Tallent

GorDoom
08-11-2006, 12:36 PM
Dennis the Menace Turns Into Fairy Godfather for Coal Miner's Son
by Michael Katz from Sweet Science

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 10 – The trainer who advised Oleg Maskaev to retire “because of my concern for his welfare and health,” who “lost confidence walking up the steps with him,” who worried for the fighter’s wife and four children, hasn’t changed his mind about what he did four years ago.

But Bob Jackson thinks Maskaev will again knock out Hasim Rahman in two nights at the Thomas & Mack Center. “I’ll be rooting for him, too,” he said from his base at Gleason’s Gym in Brooklyn. “I love him.”

Maskaev is difficult not to love, a playful bear of a man despite Bob Arum, Rahman’s promoter, attempt to picture him as some sort of robotic Ivan Drago fighter off the Soviet assembly line. Not that Maskaev resembles his own promoter’s attempt to paint him as boxing’s latest “Cinderella.”

“He’s got a wonderful sense of humor, very wry,” said Jackson, who suggested Maskaev retire in 2002 after the fighter suffered his fifth loss by knockout, this one to Corey Sanders – not the South African who once stopped Wladimir Klitschko, but the Maryland journeyman, “T-Rex,” who has been a frequent sparring partner for Rahman over the years.

According to Jackson, who with his late partner Al Gavin shared the James J. Walker Award for “long and meritorious service to boxing,” most of the denizens at Gleason’s not only will be rooting, but they’ll be believing the fable spun by Dennis the Menace.

Imagine Saddam Hussein as Santa Claus. That’s Dennis Rappaport playing fairy godfather for the son of a Russian coal miner.

It’s been a quarter-century since Rappaport, as Gerry Cooney’s co-manager, helped Don King turn the Larry Holmes-Cooney heavyweight title fight into a battle of the races. There seems no point now in opening old wounds. Rappaport seems to have mellowed. It would not surprise me if his association with Maskaev was responsible.

There is something clean and honest about the Kazakhstan-born son of Russian emigrants. Rappaport said Maskaev may have been the worst mismanaged fighters – in his seventh pro fight, he was thrown in with Oliver McCall in McCall’s first fight since losing the heavyweight title to Frank Bruno. His original backers padded his record with six victories, allegedly scored in old Soviet haunts. Maskaev refuted them from the start.

“They were made up,” he said.

He grew up on an organic farm in Kazakhstan. His father was also the foreman in a coal mine and got young Oleg a job there, greasing the rails for the trams carrying the ore to the top. One day, a cable broke and the coal-laden trolley came roaring down the track, straight at Maskaev. There was hardly any room, but he managed to squeeze himself against one wall, thinking, “You know, boxing may not be so dangerous.”

At 18, he walked out of the mines and enlisted in the Soviet Army. “Less of a chance of being sent to Siberia,” he said with his dry delivery. He became a lieutenant, but boxing was his main job. In one military tournament, he met a Ukraine officer named Vitali Klitschko and knocked him out in the first round.

Maskaev could always punch.

He had visited the United States with a Soviet amateur team in 1991. Four years later, he decided to move to what he perceived as the promised land, with his wife and three children.

He settled in Staten Island, the most Republican bastion in all of New York City. Where in Staten Island, I asked the other day, since I have family there.

“Right in the middle,” he said. “New Jersey on the left, Manhattan on the right.”

Four years after arriving here, after suffering knockout losses to McCall and David Tua, he was a late substitute – for Kirk Johnson – on an HBO card and faced Rahman. He was coming off an operation on his right hand and during the third round he injured it again, which would necessitate further surgery after the bout.

He was trailing on all cards after seven rounds of that 1999 bout in Atlantic City. In his own mind, though, he said “I wasn’t behind, I believe the fight was even. I remember we were hurting each other.”

In the eighth round, he landed a big right hand that badly hurt Rahman, “that’s for sure, and I was looking for a way to knock him out.” He followed up with another right that sent the unconscious Rahman through the ropes, briefly onto Jim Lampley, and then to the floor with a crack of the head.

Less than a year and a half later, Rahman would knock out Lennox Lewis with one punch and become heavyweight champion of the world. By that time, Maskaev had been knocked out by Kirk Johnson and Lance Whitaker.

When he was stopped by Corey Sanders in 2002, Bob Jackson suggested he find other gainful employment. Jackson said it was not so much that Maskaev had lost faith in himself. “But I lost confidence,” he said. “I couldn’t go up the steps with him that way.”

Almost automatically, Maskaev would still show up at Gleason’s. Victor Valle Jr., whose father had trained Cooney for Rappaport, would see the “lonely looking figure” in the gym, “he looked like he was crying.”

Valle, 54, worked with his father, not only with Cooney, but with Billy Costello, Wilford Scypion, Eddie Davis, Jose Nieto and Vince Costello. He knew Maskaev had been with Jackson and asked the trainer about taking over the fighter. Jackson gave him his blessing. Jackson knows Valle is, like his father, a good person, though he doesn’t appreciate Junior telling people Maskaev didn’t know how to fight before.

Valle went over with some pads and began to work with Maskaev. To his surprise, he said, he discovered a fighter with sharp reflexes, intelligence and, of course, the big punch. He told Rappaport about Maskaev and in six months, with manager Fred Kesch, the fighter had a new team.

If there’s one thing Rappaport knew, it was how to move a heavyweight. Victory over victory ensued, mostly knockouts, mostly against the dregs of the division. He stepped up to journeymen and somehow earned a shot at the former European champion, Sinan Simail Sam, to become the WBC mandatory challenger.

Rahman, through little fault of his own, had emerged with that title a second time. So after Maskaev scored a decisive 12-round decision over Sam in Hamburg, Germany, a rematch of a seven-year-old fight was made.

“It wasn’t easy in Germany,” said Rappaport. “We had three fistfights on the way to the ring.”

Valle said what was most impressive was the improvement as a boxer shown by Maskaev. He said it was a 3D package – discipline, defense and dancing. Maskaev, who had been somewhat stiff, can now move his feet, said Valle.

Rahman, of course, liked the idea of avenging his 1999 loss, which he blamed on leaving camp three weeks before the fight to celebrate a daughter’s birthday and not bothering to go back because he thought Maskaev was “a gimme.” Bob Arum, who always likes a “story” to help sell a fight, dredged up the flag, a la King (Don).

With the three other heavyweight titles in the grips of Ronald Reagan’s old “evil empire” – Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine, Nicolai Valuev of Russia and Sergei Liahkovich of Belarussia – Arum entitled the pay-per-view card “America’s Last Line of Defense,” as if patriotism would sell tickets.

This annoyed Maskaev, who two years ago proudly became an American citizen. “It’s the old Cold War again, America and Russia,” he said.

Rappaport, of course, could not let it rest at that. The entire camp wears T-shirts with Maskaev’s picture on an American flag. At yesterday’s press conference, Maskaev showed up with his certificate of citizenship. Not one word was said about Maskaev being white.

PENTHOUSE: And who would ever believe it, Dennis Rappaport! The Mellowed Menace has been behaving himself. Yes, he asked the Nevada commission to pad the area of the floor around the ring in case Rahman was launched again, and yes, he revealed Rahman woke up in cold sweats after dreaming of Maskaev (and how would you know that, Dennis?). But that’s all in the line of duty. I give Maskaev’s innate decency credit for part of the reformation.

OUTHOUSE: Hey, if Rappaport is in the other place, there’s no one who could possibly replace him here.

GorDoom
08-11-2006, 12:50 PM
DIVISION IN DECLINE: Heavyweights not attracting hype

Rahman, Maskaev among names drawing little attention

By KEVIN IOLE
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Hasim Rahman sat at the dais with an American flag draped around his shoulders Wednesday during the final pre-fight news conference for his WBC heavyweight title defense Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center. A few feet away, challenger Oleg Maskaev wore a T-shirt with the flag on the front.

A large flag covered the front of the dais and Top Rank chairman Bob Arum invited several U.S. Army recruiters as his guests.

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From start to finish, it has been a jingoistic promotion, billed as "America's Last Line of Defense." The name is a play on the fact that the three heavyweight belt holders other than Rahman are from former Soviet Bloc countries.

Hall of Famer Emanuel Steward, who trains IBF champion Wladimir Klitschko, suggested it's because there is nothing else to offer to stir up interest. The heavyweight division, Steward said, is destitute.

"They're trying to sell a fight and it's hard to sell heavyweights today," Steward said, shaking his head. "The only truly big heavyweight fight out there people would get excited about is Vitali Klitschko and Lennox Lewis, and both of those guys are retired."

None of the champions -- Rahman, Klitschko, Sergei Liakhovich of the WBO or Nikolai Valuev of the WBA -- has held a title for more than a year or captured the public's imagination.

The Thomas & Mack likely will be less than half full Saturday, and much of the crowd that does attend the fight will be there due to tickets given away by promoters. Arum says he hopes to do 250,000 pay-per-view buys, but might have to settle for 150,000.

Thomas & Mack director Daren Libonati said 7,000 tickets are out, and he doesn't expect a large walk-up sale.

None of the heavyweight contenders, including Maskaev, James Toney, Samuel Peter, John Ruiz, Calvin Brock, Lamon Brewster, Chris Byrd, Shannon Briggs, Sultan Ibragimov or Monte Barrett, have done any better, either in terms of performance or ticket sales.

Rahman pointed his large finger at the media. The public is too easily swayed by the media, he said, and the media is convinced the heavyweights are no good.

"It's you guys," Rahman said to a small group of reporters Tuesday at a workout at Top Rank Gym. "The media keeps telling people the same message, so of course they buy it. If (HBO analyst) Larry Merchant goes on television and says, 'You know, Rock didn't throw enough right hands. He needs to use the right hand more,' guess what people are going to say to me?

" 'Hey Rock, why aren't you throwing your right?' The public doesn't have an opinion. They're just taking what is given to them by you guys."

Highly regarded trainer Freddie Roach, who is preparing Toney for a Sept. 2 fight in Los Angeles against Peter, said heavyweights have been criticized for as long as he can remember.

Joe Louis, arguably considered the greatest heavyweight ever, was harshly criticized during his prime for fighting what was called, "The Bum of the Month Club."

Roach said that by objective standards, athletes are bigger, stronger and faster today than they were 50 years ago.

"Shouldn't that apply to boxing, as well?" Roach said. "In anything we can measure, the standards have gone up significantly. It would seem logical to think that the same thing would be true in boxing. But maybe it's not. It's hard to say.

"There is no one out there now that is like a Muhammad Ali or a Joe Louis or even a Mike Tyson. When Tyson was coming up, he was blowing everyone away, knocking people out in the first or second round and his power fascinated people. Nobody out there now has been able to do anything remotely close to that."

Steward said part of the reason is there is no amateur boxing on television and thus, young athletes are not as inclined to participate. Steward also railed against the computerized amateur scoring system and said it was designed to help international fighters defeat Americans.

Five judges surround the ring in the amateur system, each holding a computerized pad to record punches landed. If three of the five judges push for a landed blow within a second of each other, it is counted. The fighter who scores the most points that way wins the fight, regardless of the power of the punches.

"You don't get credit for jabs, you don't get credit for punching to the body, you don't get credit for combinations," Steward said of the amateur system. "The scoring is as bad as anything I've seen. A kid lands a combination and he doesn't get credit for it because the judges can't possibly push the buttons that fast and the points aren't registered."

Rahman, whose 15-year-old son, Bishop Gorman High School student Hasim Jr., is going to begin training under Steward, said there is nothing wrong with the heavyweights that a few matches between the best fighters wouldn't solve.

He said it is impossible for one fighter to fight all the mandatory defenses required for a champion who holds more than one sanctioning body's belt and still fight the bouts the public demands.

He said if the belts were consolidated and the mandatories were reduced to one a year, the perception of heavyweights would change significantly.

"Right now, the public has kind of heard of this guy and maybe has heard of that guy," Rahman said. "The reason that is is that the champions don't fight each other. But if you put us in head-to-head, champion vs. champion, and you say, 'Hey, we're not going to tie you up with mandatories for the next couple of years and we're going to make the best fights that can be made,' it's going to grab a lot of attention."

That last time two men who each had a claim to one of the four major sanctioning-body belts fought was in 1999, when Lewis and Evander Holyfield met for the WBA/WBC/IBF belts at the Thomas & Mack.

Since then, court cases and the sanctioning bodies themselves have split the titles and the champions have each gone their separate ways.

"That's wrong," Rahman said. "And it's going to change if I have anything to do with it."

newpoppop
08-11-2006, 10:53 PM
PPV aside, and against the many more knowledgeable folks on this board than I, it is my feeling that Hasim Rahman will win by TKO, and, in addition take a giant step toward unifying the Heavyweight Championship by soundly thrashing Wladimir.

You heard it here first. :p

robertk
08-12-2006, 02:53 AM
The irony is wlad vs. maskaev would likely be a big $$ fight overseas. And the other side of the coin is Rahman against Briggs is a compelling bout that might sell better or at least as well as the maskaev bout is.

TKO Tom
08-12-2006, 07:55 AM
You could flush the $50 bill down your toilet and have more fun watching it spiral down than you would spending fifty bucks watching this crap festival.

When you buy a PPV, in my opinion, you are buying the undercard. Next weekend on HBO (if you have it) you can watch Rahman vs. Maskaev for free. So all you're really missing is two absolute shit undercard fights.

Seriously, take a $50 bill and burn it or flush it down the toilet or tear it to shreds and you're doing the same thing if you buy this PPV - wasting your money.

P.S. I'm praying to whatever GOD there is that Oleg Maskaev knocks Rahman out and out of boxing for good.

rifle
08-12-2006, 12:08 PM
HBO replayed the their first fight last night along with Rocks KO over Lewis. The Rock/Maskaev fight was actually really good and entertaining. I had never seen the entire fight before just the highlight of Rock falling out of the ring. It was action packed and I had the fight pretty much even. I had always heard the Rachman was winning easily and then got caught but it was an even fight with a lot of give and take. Both guys took some pretty good shots and kept coming.
If I had the 50 bucks I'd probably get it tonight but I'm just gonna wait till the replay next week.

Kid Achilles
08-12-2006, 02:39 PM
Stylistically it will be a good, competitive fight. It's still a shitty PPV matchup as Maskaev hasn't done much to earn the title shot but to be honest I think Rahman is extremely overrated these days and was never much better than Maskaev to begin with.

I'm going with Maskaev on this. I gave up on Rahman as a serious contender the night he was schooled by an ancient Holyfield. I mean, he never even won his portion of the title, he was awarded it when Vitali was forced to retire due to his injuries.

Nixon
08-12-2006, 09:03 PM
Rahman is going to use the jab and try to stay away from the right hand. Rahman UD.

werewolf
08-12-2006, 10:15 PM
Maskaev wins by KO, round one or two.




ww

the literary thug
08-12-2006, 10:56 PM
Although Rahaman skills have dissapated and had a concentration level that is a sometime thing, I dont think maskaev has enough to beat him. Hasim plays it safe and wins a dull, but comfortable decison.

My cousins have the fight, so i'll be glad to do the round by round on my lap top, if folks want.

hagler04
08-13-2006, 02:33 AM
I saw this as a pick'em fight, and Masgaev really gutted through for a very deserving victory at 37 years old. Next I want to see Masgaev-Lyakovich or either of them fighting Klitschko. I don't even count Valuev . . . .

newpoppop
08-13-2006, 03:09 PM
PPV aside, and against the many more knowledgeable folks on this board than I, it is my feeling that Hasim Rahman will win by TKO, and, in addition take a giant step toward unifying the Heavyweight Championship by soundly thrashing Wladimir.

You heard it here first. :p

Pass the salt please. The crow that I have to eat is a bit bland.:o