Rarely does a fighter receive an opportunity to rescue their respected weigh division. This winter Hasim Rahman will receive his second chance at elevating the heavyweight division. On the heels of his victory over Monte Barrett, Rahman looks forward to a fight with WBC and “Media” heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko. Much like his rematch with Lennox Lewis four years ago, this fight has consequences that will affect the heavyweight division for years to come.
Four years ago the heavyweight division was a mess of contenders. While Lennox Lewis reigned on top of the mountain, you had Ruiz as the WBA champ, Holyfield, Tua, Tyson, Wladimir Klitschko as WBO champ and Chris Byrd all trying position themselves to take Lewis’ championship. Rahman was thought to be an easy title defense for Lewis in South Africa to set up a superfight with heir apparent Wladimir Klitschko. As it would come to pass, Lewis would spend too much time trying to get a SAG card rather than defend the world heavyweight championship. Rahman dedicated himself to winning, even training in South Africa for the last month to acclimate his body to the higher elevation. In the end, Rahman landed the right hand that changed the landscape of the heavyweight division.
In the aftermath of Rahman’s victory, fans held out hope that Rahman could be the one to usher in the new generation of heavyweights. Rahman found himself with the opportunity to clean up the heavyweight division of the past rulers and representing the fresh blood. Nonetheless, The Rock would fail to win the rematch against Lewis and the heavyweight division would dwindle into the mediocre state it is in now, scattered, open and without a definitive ruler.
Four years have past and The Rock has earned himself a second chance to clean up the heavyweight division. Rahman positioned himself to be number one contender for whichever world title he desired an opportunity to win. He aimed his sights at the media’s favorite and WBC champion Vitali Klitschko. After politics and injuries Rahman further earned his opportunity to fight Klitschko by defeating Monte Barrett, the other top heavyweight contender. Last weekend it was “All or nothing” according Rahman and Rahman delivered.
Why is the Klitschko-Rahman fight so important? The future of the heavyweight division is a stake and any chance of unification lies in the hands of Hasim Rahman. If Rahman is victorious, all of the heavyweight champions would be controlled by Don King. While people may shutter at the idea of King being in control of the titles, keep in mind, King has been responsible for unifying several weight divisions.
King has brought together Mitchell, Judah and Tsyzu to unify the jr. welterweight division, as well as, Holmes, Joppy, Trinidad and Hopkins for the middleweights. More recently, Don King unified the welterweight division and began on the cruiserweights. Contrary to what other media outlets would lead you to believe, Don King is not in the interest of keeping the heavyweight championship divided. However, the Klitschko Brothers do have every intention of keeping the championship divided. They have made their goal and intentions of becoming the first brothers to hold world heavyweight titles simultaneously well known; in addition to making it known that they would never fight each other. Providing the public evidence that they will not cooperate in unifying the titles to have one world heavyweight champion.
Looking into the immediate future, one must ask themselves whether or not they are in favor one true heavyweight champion or media darlings whose desires are to fight fighters equivalent to those on Butterbean’s short list of opponents. A victory for Rahman is one for the progression of division, while a victory for Klitschko is for K2. Rahman has proven that he has rededicated himself enough to come into a fight in very good shape and he has the tools to defeat the top heavyweights. The biggest question is whether or not Rock can make the most of his second chance to rescue the heavyweight division.
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