Exclusive interview with Zahir Raheem
Just recently, Boxingtalk.com briefly spoke to highly regarded, former U.S. Olympian Zahir Raheem 25-1(15) after learning that he severed ways with former promoter Tony Holden, and will now be working with Bob Arum’s Top Rank. “Top Rank was my first love, when I came out of the Olympics I got with them first.” stated a motivated Raheem. “We had a few problems, and fell out. But they never did do me dirty or nothing like that.” In his last outing, Raheem lost a controversial unanimous decision to undefeated 2000 Olympic silver medalist Rocky Juarez 21-0(14), who many felt benefited from an obviously bias referee, in Roberto Gonzales who repeatedly and unnecessarily deducted points throughout the fight. Read on to see what the Z-Man has in store for his fans in the near future. RC: What’s good Z? When can we expect to see you back in action?
ZR: They actually gave me a few dates and told me to pick. It was a Showtime in January and on HBO in February possibly in Philly with Bernard Hopkins, and they mentioned that as the Co-Main event.RC: Explain to us why you decided to sign with Top Rank, and what type of agreement did you come to with them?
ZR: Top Rank was my first love, when I came out of the Olympics I got with them first. We had a few problems, and fell out. But they never did do me dirty or nothing like that. They came to the table, Don (King) and them came to the table but I had to make a move, the last promoter (Tony Holden) that I was with threw me to the snakes. How did I end up in his backyard like that, with the referee doing me like that?
I got a two fight guarantee, I am going to do a tune up and then I am going to go hard, they asked me to do the damn thing with the boy Mike Anchondo from California. I am going to ink that deal up and knock his boots up for the WBO title, I’m going to go take that and it is whatever from there.
They (Top Rank) control a lot of those cats that I need. I couldn’t get those kind of fights before because they are with them other promoters, and they wasn’t trying to do business with my promoter unless they were getting a lot of money, and my (Then) promoter would turn it down and say to me “They don’t want to fight you” now that is what he is telling me. Then he would want top build me ego up telling me they are scared to fight me. But is seems like the reason they didn’t want to fight is because he didn’t want to put the money up. They would look at me and say “We want this amount of money to fight Raheem” and Holden wasn’t trying to give up that money so now I am with Bob Arum, it doesn’t matter, Sky is the limit. RC: You and Tony Holden had a pretty good relationship prior to your last fight, and he was the one responsible for getting you out of Philly and out to Oklahoma where you were able to focus more on your career. After helping you out like do you feel as...
ZR: I don’t have any bad feelings towards him, it was business, and he told me after the fight he still thought he was the best man for the job and that he can move me better than anybody else, that is what he told me. So I sat back and thought about it man, but you know it wasn’t nothing personal. I am not mad at him, I don’t know how he feels about me, but it was just business, that is how business go. RC: Have you spoke to him?
ZR: I haven’t spoken to him since; I haven’t talked to him like in three months. He called me for a fight right after that other fight (Against Rocky Juarez), for a little tune up in casino out there, because I sell a lot of tickets out there. I got a lot of love out there, even the boxing commission out there called me and left me a message congratulating me saying that they hate to see me leave but they understood I had to go do what I do. RC: Z, is there anything you’d like to say to all the Boxingtalk.com readers out there letting them know you are back?
ZR: Just let them know, like Hasim Rahman said “I never left” I am here, and things are just going to greater now. I just want to tell all of the boxing fans out there to stay tuned; I am coming man, harder than ever, I am coming hard man, for real. Now they are going to see me in action with these titles now, the whole game is going to change.
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