America’s only current world heavyweight champion, Baltimore-born Hasim Rahman, will defend his world title for pride, honor and country when he takes on hard-punching No. 1-rated contender and mandatory challenger Oleg Maskaev of Kazakhstan, at the Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, on Saturday, August 12. Promoted by Top Rank in association with Dennis Rappaport Productions, Caesars Palace and Wynn Las Vegas., Rahman-Maskaev II will be broadcast live on HBO Pay-Per-View. Tickets, priced at $600, $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50, go on sale Friday, May 12. They can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack box office, online at www.unlvtickets.com
or by calling (702) 739-FANS
Rahman is the last remaining American to hold a world heavyweight title in a division dominated by natives of the former Soviet Union. “The Rock is America’s Last Line of Defense,” said Bob Arum of Top Rank. “He’s a great champion but he’s in very tough against Maskaev.”
"Rahman-Maskaev II is a very intriguing heavyweight title fight," said Mark Taffet of HBO Pay-Per-View. "Rahman wants to defend his belt and avenge his 1999 loss to Maskaev, and Maskaev is just as determined to win again."
In their previous bout in 1999, Maskaev rallied late and slammed Rahman with an overhand right to the head which sent him through the ropes head-first and onto the HBO announcing team table. It was a chilling, riveting finish with Maskaev getting the stoppage in the eighth round.
That was seven years ago and Dennis Rappaport, the promoter of Maskaev, said, “Oleg has had a lot of peaks and valleys since that win over Rahman. But Oleg has battled back and he has earned his position as the No. 1 contender.”
Hasim, 33, is an 11-year pro and a two-time heavyweight world champion. Hasim won the WBC interim heavyweight world title in August, 2005, with a 12-round unanimous decision against Monte Barrett. In his last fight he defended the WBC heavyweight title with a 12-round draw against former three-time world champion James Toney on March 18.
After the Toney fight, Hasim said, “The heavyweight division needed a good fight. I think we put on a good fight. He can punch harder than a lot of heavyweights I’ve been in with. He’s brave, he’s got heart, he’s got speed, power, he’s a force to be reckoned with. I ain’t ashamed to admit I learned a thing or two from James Toney tonight. James proved he could stand up to a heavyweight power puncher. I earned some respect from James, and he earned some respect from me. Now it’s time to exact some revenge from Maskaev. He may consider this mandatory title challenge, but come August 12, Judge Rahman is going to dish out a mandatory sentence.”
Hasim was first scheduled to challenge WBC world champion Vitali Klitschko on April 30 for the title, but the fight was postponed and rescheduled twice - on June 18 and July 23 - due to injuries sustained by Klitschko. The WBC authorized the fight for the interim title in Klitschko’s absence, with the condition that Klitschko fight the winner in his next fight.
Hasim was again scheduled to fight Klitschko on November 12, but Klitschko was again injured in training and retired. Having won the interim world title and the world title vacated, according to WBC rules, Hasim became WBC heavyweight world champion. It was the same WBC rule that applied when Lennox Lewis and Ken Norton became WBC heavyweight world champions after winning final world title eliminators.
Hasim “The Rock” Rahman became heavyweight champion when he shocked the world on April 22, 2001 when he landed a picture-perfect right hand that knocked out champion Lennox Lewis.
Maskaev grew up in Abai, Kazakhstan where he labored on a farm, worked in a coal mine, joined the Russian Army, became a Lieutenant, joined the Russian Amateur Boxing Team, became a National Champion and stopped Vitali Klitschko in one round.
The Rahman vs. Maskaev pay-per-view telecast, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT has a suggested retail price of $49.95, 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