Interview: Hasim Rahman: "Lewis is underestimating me again, I'll knock him out again."

By Ike Enwereuzor

30.10.01 - WBC/IBF/IBO heavyweight champion Hasim "the Rock" Rahman (Photos: AP) of Baltimore, MD now (35-2) 29KO's one of today's most talented heavyweight champion is currently preparing at Big Bear, California for his rematch against former heavyweight champ, Lennox Lewis (38-2-1) 29KO's on November 17, at Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas.

Rahman began his boxing career at the age of 20, he only had 10 amateur fights before making his professional debut on December 3, 1994 by knocking out Gregory Herrington in round one.

Rahman went from a low level heavyweight contender to a top ten contender then a world champion with his fifth round knockout of Lennox Lewis on April 21, in Johannesburg, South Africa. His KO over Lewis did more than crowning a new heavyweight king but perhaps derailed the most lucrative superfight between Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson.

The WBC/IBF heavyweight champion signed with Don King in May this year and opted to fight David Izon in China on August 4, leading Lewis to file a lawsuit. Lewis won his bid for a rematch but If Rahman beats him again on November 17, Rahman wants a megafight with former undisputed heavyweight champion "Iron" Mike Tyson next to prove himself in the heavyweight division.

Rahman had losses to David Tua and Oleg Maskeav. Here's what the heavyweight
champion had to say....

"I feel that I can do it again, Rahman said. "He's underestimating me again, I'll knock him out again."

How is preparation going for your fight against Lennox Lewis at mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas?
I'm doing fine. We're ready to go.

How long have you been training for this fight?
I'll say about 5 weeks.

You started training in Upsate New York. Why did you move to Big Bear now?
I like the Attitude here. I was there in New York for 2 weeks but I came over here (Big Bear) because to the west coast timing too. I like training over here.

Your impression of Lennox Lewis?
He's a great champion and excellent fighter.

What's your prediction for this second clash with him?
I'm confident, I'll knock him out again.

Any round in mind?
No, but I know it can be anytime. I have no round in mind specifically but it has to be before round 12. Don't go to the bathroom, it could end any minute.

What did you learn from your first meeting with Lewis?

I learn that I could beat Lewis and knock him out.

Who do you like for Tzsyu-Judah showdown?
I like Zab Judah by stoppage around 8 or 9th round.

Your thoughts on Hopkins-Trinidad fight?
Hopkins fought an excellent fight. He excuted his game plan. The better man won that night.

What do you want to tell your fans worldwide?
I want them to know that I'm working very hard here. They shouldn't miss this fight either be there or check it out on TV. If you're coming to the fight don't be late or don't leave to go get pop corn because it can end any second.

What do you want to say to those who thinks you have no chance against Lewis and that your first win was just a "lucky punch"?
I don't worry about them, they have no credibility and that's what they said before. What do they know?

What's next for you if you pass Lewis Nov.17?
After Lennox Lewis, I want Mike Tyson next.

What did you think of Tyson-Nelsen fight?
Tyson looked good to me. He was in shape. He did what he had to do to win.

Thank you very much for your time Champ. Best of lucks to you!
You got it.

Photo: Ike Enwereuzor, Hasim Rahman and Fans - Photo by Ruth DiTucci

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Hasim Rahman Bench Presses 500 Pounds in Training for World Heavyweight Title Rematch
Don King Productions

Rock’s Pre-Training Camp
In between fights, Rahman has always worked with weights. To prepare for the rematch, the team is utilizing the same plan that got them the titles on April 22, only with an even greater intensity. Rock started his training regiment pumping iron, heavily. Rock has said time-and-time again that he will come in stronger for this fight and now bench presses over 500 pounds.

Following the four-city, coast-to-coast media tour with former champion Lennox Lewis and promoter Don King from Aug. 28 - 31, Rahman set up camp. The WBC, IBF & IBO heavyweight champion returned to the fabled “House of
Champions.” This training facility, located in the Catskill Mts. of Kingston, NY is headquartered at the home of manager Stan Hoffman.

Rock’s Training Camp Location
For the April 22 bout, “The Rock” left “House of Champions” 30 days prior to the fight to get acclimated to the high altitude in South Africa. “House of Champions” has an elevation of 4,000 feet and in South Africa, he trained at
6,300 feet, the same level as the fight.

Team Rahman felt that it was so advantageous using high-altitude training, they decided to take it to a new ‘level’ for Nov. 17. After starting in the Catskills (4,000 feet), then moved to Big Bear, Calif., on Oct. 6 (7,000 feet).

Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas is only 2,000 feet above sea level. “We left a little earlier for that fight (the April bout). The movement in altitude works wonders when going down at the end,” explains co-manager Steve Nelson. “But then again, Lewis didn’t think the altitude had an effect on him.” (Lewis trained in Las Vegas before the April 22 bout. For this fight, his training camp is at 2650 feet in the Poconos in Scotrun, Pa.)

In Big Bear, the champ has secluded himself in a private residence to prepare for the biggest fight ­ again—of his career. Rahman's managers, Stan Hoffman and Steve Nelson, rented three separate homes for Rahman and his entourage. Rahman, along with trainers Adrian Davis and Scott "Duke" Buchanan, father John Cason, brother Ibn Cason, personal cook Shamsondin, and camp aid Melvin "Winky" Walker, are staying in a beautiful six-bedroom home, located in the same Big Bear neighborhood where Oscar de la Hoya and Fernando Vargas maintain private residences.

Hoffman and Nelson, who will remain with Rahman throughout the entire training camp, share a smaller home about two miles from the champ with Rahman stable-mate William Joppy, who arrived in Big Bear last weekend. In the third house, just around the corner from the champ, are his sparring partners, which include David Bostice, Cisse Salif and Darryl Williamson.

A life-long Muslim, Rahman includes prayer in his daily routine. It is the first thing he does upon waking in the morning and one of the last things he does at night. Prayer is scheduled six times a day and takes place throughout the morning, afternoon and early evening.

Rock’s Routine
5:30 a.m. Gets up.
5:45 a.m. Roadwork (varies from 3-6 miles in high altitude)
6:30 a.m. Returns to the house, showers, eats breakfast and rests.
11:00 a.m. Wakes up and prepares for workout.
12:15 p.m. Departs for Big Bear Health and Fitness training facility.
12:30 p.m. Training begins. Daily training sessions vary between sparring, pad work, bag work weights and calisthenics
3:00 p.m. Departs gym and returns home
3:30 p.m. Relaxes and watches tapes
4:00 p.m. Dinner is served and is enjoyed by all housemates around two tables in the kitchen/dining area.
5:00 p.m. Day is over, free time.

For the 5:45 a.m. run, a caravan consisting of a car (with 4 people) and 2 bicycles rides alongside Rahman “to keep him company,” said Nelson. They run mostly on the road, but take different paths and start from different locations. Sometime the route takes them around the lake (at the 7,000-foot level) and other times into the mountains (at an even higher altitude). Everything at the training camp is designed for diversity.

As he was for the April 22 bout, Rahman is very confident going into the rematch. “I am stronger,” said the heavyweight champion. “I will out-jab him and come up with the big punch again. I did not fear Lennox Lewis in April, and I most definitely will not fear him on Nov. 17.”


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