Lewis wins!

G

GouRonin

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KO OF THE YEAR: LEWIS ROCKS RAHMAN

The improbable heavyweight championship reign of Hasim Rahman ended exactly as
it began: with a vicious right hand short circuiting the brain of the reigning
title holder. Lennox Lewis, who at age 36 turned in one of the finest
performances of his long career, regained boxing's top prize by dominating
Rahman from the opening bell to the sudden finish. And what a finish it was.
In a reversal of fortune that he could have only dreamt about, Lewis wiped out
Rahman with a concussive knockout even more impressive than the one that made
this rematch necessary. For the second time in 2001, we have a new heavyweight
champion of the world. His name is Lennox Lewis.

To put it mildly, everything backfired for Hasim Rahman. His pre-fight taunts
and tussles with the disgraced Lewis only served to inspire the former
champion. As a result, Lewis scaled in at a firm 246.5, his lightest since the
rematch with Holyfield. The more Rahman ribbed Lewis, the more focused he
became. By fight night, when Rahman tried again to upset Lewis by attempting
to enter his dressing room, the champion's attempts at mind games were
beginning to look desperate. As he climbed into the ring, Rahman looked wide
eyed and nervous, a stark contrast to the loosey-goosey Lewis who had danced
into the ring to the tune of James Browns' "The Big Payback."

Rahman's intent all along was to anger Lewis into brawling early. But when the
fight began and Lewis didn't bull-rush Rahman, the champion seemed lost.
Rahman, whose own sculpted physique was evidence of a serious training camp,
appeared to have no game plan once Lennox didn't charge. Rather than pressure
Lewis, test his chin, probe his fragile psyche, and try and exploit the
previous knockout, Rahman instead opted to stand there. Big mistake. Within
moments, Lewis was pumping out a heavy jab. One of the first several that
landed cut Rahman above the left eye and drew a trickle of blood.

Lewis' jab has often varied between pawing and pumping, but this night he was
thrusting his massive stick with serious authority. An overwhelmed Rahman
walked into a few such jabs in the bout's opening seconds, each landing with
the force of a full-fledged power punch. A minute into the round, Lewis
followed up a jab with his trademark overhand right and drew huge cheers when
the punch smacked Rahman in the face as he leaned back. Lewis kept his eyes
locked on Rahman, and gladly stumbled into a clinch the few times that Rahman
made an attempt to throw return shots. As the opening round wore down, Rahman
finally scored with a few glancing jabs and a hook off the jab that grazed
Lewis' face. But it was not enough, and the first round was a clear Lennox
round.

By letting Lewis control the opener, Rahman had given up his best chance at a
repeat. He had needed to hurt Lewis early, or at least land a punch and earn
some respect, or at least throw some punches and make Lewis think about South
Africa. Rahman failed at his task, and came out in the second round with the
same lack of gameplan. Lewis' jab was again pumping in the second round, and
Rahman's head flew back each time it landed. But the telling punch for Lewis
was not the jab, but the left hook. In all of Lewis' best fights, his hook has
been enough of a factor to keep opponents from solely protecting against the
right. Lewis landed his hook early in round two as the fighters came together
into a clinch.

Lewis was not ignoring Rahman's body, either. He followed up that hook by
sinking his right into Rahman's ribs. And as he had in the first, he
occasionally lowered his jab and aimed at Rahman's midsection. After a few of
these downstairs blows landed in the second, Rahman came over the jab with a
lead left hook-right hand combo that landed fairly clean. Lewis took the
punches well, and answered with a jab-cross-hook a few moments later. Another
heavy Lewis one-two scored on Rahman before the bell, giving Lewis another easy
round in the bank. Rahman was eating leather and offering only the minimum of
resistance.

Lewis' confidence was growing, and his hook again became a major factor. After
again punishing Rahman with the jab, Lewis launched a massive jab-cross-hook
combo. This time, the jab and right missed. But unlike other Lewis fights,
when the one-two was the only offense used, the Lewis hook followed up and
landed flush on Rahman's face. Rahman's reaction was bizarre. He pushed out
both his hands forward (Frankenstein-style) and backed away from Lewis while
keeping both hands out in front of him. Several times between this moment and
the end of the bout, Rahman answered Lewis' punches with this same odd move.
It smacked of fear. Instead of countering Lewis, Rahman was now trying to just
not get hit. It wasn't working.

Lewis continued to score in the third round, notably with a half-hook-half-jab
left that tagged Rahman and set up a follow-up right hand. Rahman ate these
punches as he had many Lewis blows: flush. Hasim the Dream did land his token
punch of the round with 40 seconds left in the stanza. It was a lead left
hook, and it tagged Lewis on the chin. Lewis wasn't hurt, but he did lock
Rahman's arms in a clinch after the blow landed. After Joe Cortez forced a
break, Lewis ended the round with a series of heavy jabs. All of these kept
Rahman too far away to land, although he wasn't exactly throwing much to begin
with.

Rahman was already down three rounds to nothing, and Lewis was looking sharp.
Lewis began pumping his jab in the fourth, only now Rahman was retreating with
every Lewis advance. Twice Lewis threw a big one-two only to have Rahman
meekly back away with his hands raised again. Lewis tried the combo a third
time, this time beginning with a hook, and hit paydirt. As Lewis threw the
hook, Rahman leaned back, again pushing up both hands in a weak defense. The
hook sailed past Rahman's face, but prevented him from seeing the wide right
hand that Lewis had loaded up with and was throwing like a pitcher. The punch
crashed into Rahman's exposed chin with a loud thud, and the sellout Mandalay
Bay crowd gasped and jumped to it's feet immediately.

The punch was so crisp that it ripped open a two-inch gash above Rahman's
mouth, and the soon-to-be-former-champion flew backwards to the canvas, stiff
as a board. He lay on the canvas spread eagle while referee Joe Cortez sent
Lewis to a neutral corner and picked up the count at four. Rahman's eyes were
wide open, but he didn't make a move until Cortez was about to call out "Six!"
At that point, a dazed Rahman rolled over and began pushing himself up, blood
dripping off his face. By eight he was halfway up, and he was on his feet
(albeit in a crouching position) by nine. But before Cortez could yell out
"Ten," Rahman tipped over sideways, crashing headfirst into a neutral corner.
The final count was unnecessary. Cortez waved off the fight. Lewis KO4.

As the fight was waved, an elated Lewis pumped his chest and grabbed Emanuel
Steward (among others) in a huge embrace. The celebration was much deserved:
Lewis had dominated Rahman in perhaps the only manner that would ensure his
legacy was completely restored. Had Lewis won a boring 12-round decision, or
even knocked out Rahman in a close bout, questions would linger about the state
of his skills. But with this performance, Lewis showed that when he's in shape
and inspired, he can still be a force to be reckoned with. Now 36-2/30, Lewis
will no doubt seek the big money showdown with Mike Tyson. Does anyone doubt
that the shorter, lighter, slower, Tyson will end up in the same prone position
that Rahman did?

As for Rahman, he must now live with the consequences of his horrendous
post-championship decisions. First among them was the choice not to sign a
long-term network deal before the Lewis fight. While HBO and Showtime were
offering him upwards of $15-$20 million for a multi-fight package, win or lose,
Rahman will now have to wait awhile for another big payday. And while Rahman
could have stayed with Kushner and maximized his opportunities, he's now stuck
with Don King and no guarantees. The most likely big-name opponent King could
land for Rahman would be the winner of Holyfield-Ruiz. But that winner is
obligated to fight Kirk Johnson before Rahman, making Rahman's wait all the
longer. Rahman, who had a legitimate shot at wealth and legacy, now must
contend with being another undercard club fighter... a footnote to the
heavyweight title picture in much the same way that Leon Spinks is. Actually,
Leon Spinks was an Olympic Gold Medal winner. Hasim Rahman was floored twice
by Corrie Sanders. You do the math.
 
Several posts moved from The Locker Room to the WMA-General forum.

-Arnisador
-MT Admin-
 
Lewis is unstoppable in the ring... In this era. He really isn't that skillful, challenging people who are no-namers or no-timers like Tyson. I do like watching Lewis though but if I had to pay money, I'd rather see a Hoya bout.
 
Kirk Johnson stopped Lou Savarese in the fourth round to win the WBO intercontinental heavyweight title.

Looks like Kirk picked himself up a lower tier ABC heavyweight belt. Now he's angling for Lewis? Stay tuned!

:boxing:
 
When we gonna see "Lord Dougie Ronin" in the ring on HBO?;)
 

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