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#1
Old 02-26-2009, 09:26 AM
jakkups
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Default Former Boxing Champ Rahman Headed to MMA

Former Boxing Champ Rahman Headed to MMA

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Former boxing heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman is coming to MMA sometime this year, according to the fighter’s agent.

Rahman, who knocked out Lennox Lewis in 2001 to win the linear heavyweight title, has his heart set on a mixed marital arts career, said Sondro Gelke, who represents him. Now living in Las Vegas, Rahman, 45-7 (36 KO), is coming off a one-sided, Dec. 13 seventh-round stoppage at the hands of IBF/WBO champ Wladimir Klitschko.

In news sure to perk up the ears of both boxing and MMA fans alike, “The Rock,” whose boxing career was defined by some of the strangest twists of fate this side of Riddick Bowe, wants to step into the new sport. And fast.

Gelke said that the 36-year-old Rahman is “quite serious about fighting in MMA” and they are currently in negotiations with several promotions, hoping to line up a debut fight sometime in the next 2-3 months. The ex-champ -- whose boxing career went south after losing a rematch to Lennox Lewis -- built a reputation on a big right hand in the sweet science, though he was also inconsistent and at times seemed to lack the impetus to get in shape.

“He thought it would be an interesting thing. He’s seen Kimbo Slice fight on TV, and he’s like, ‘I’d like to fight some of these guys,’” said Gelke.

Rahman was not initially available for comment.

Rahman, who has zero grappling background, last scored a takedown while scuffling with Lewis on the ESPN set while promoting their November 2001 rematch. Gelke said that his client plans to keep his boxing career going as well, but has yet to locate an MMA-based gym. But they’re looking around, he added.

“He hasn’t wrestled. He was actually quite a streetfighter (in Baltimore) so people said he should box,” Gelke said of Rahman, who took up boxing at the relatively late age of 20. “He’s like Quinton (Jackson) and Kimbo in that sense. We’re talking to quite a few different organizations, from small promotions up to the big ones. We’re looking to fight name fighters like Kimbo, Butterbean [Eric Esch], James Thompson, someone to bring a name to the table.”

There’s no long-term plan in place, Gelke added, as Rahman gets his feet wet in MMA -- they’re not making noise about challenging the top dogs just yet.

“We’re just taking it one fight at a time and see what comes to us,” he said. “We want to get a few smaller fights under our belts before we take on a Lesnar or Fedor or someone like that. There’s nothing solid right now. But we’re already talking with promoters about shows in April or May.”

Gelke said that he knows how vexing the transition will be given the added combative aspects of MMA. Other boxers such as Butterbean and Ray Mercer found out the hard way, along with a spate of early-day MMA competitors; but those were far less accomplished boxers than Rahman. The question long-asked by fans of both sports could get at least a quasi-relevant answer with Rahman’s journey that those other entries never really supplied -- what would happen if a world-class boxer with MMA training entered the sport? Shannon Briggs’ flirtation with it never materialized, but the reports out of American Top Team were certainly encouraging. It’s still a question that elicits heated debate from virtually any combat sports fan you ask.

“I understand how difficult it is,” Gelke said. “That’s why I’m looking to not put him in with any big grapplers at first. I don’t think Rock really understands how hard it will be to fight these guys with a grappling and wrestling background. So I’m looking to put him in with someone like Tank Abbott, or James Thompson.”

Rahman’s weight fluctuated greatly during the latter half of his boxing career. Best suited in the mid 230-pound range, he ballooned up in the 250s during a tour of tune-ups in recent years, and was a lackluster 253.5 prior to being dismantled by Klitschko in December.

“I’m talking to a Strikeforce, [a] lot of big promotions,” he said. “Some in Japan, like Sengoku and Dream. Hasim would love to fight over in Japan. Also some smaller promotions, like Wargods. I’m trying to get him into an MMA gym, work with some top trainers, there are some great gyms out here in Vegas. So that’s still kind of a work in progress. I think he’s waiting to see that I have a fight set. Then he can focus on training.”

Along with Marcus Davis, Chris Lytle is one of the most accomplished MMA fighters with a pro boxing career under his belt, going 13-7-1 (7 KO) in the squared circle. Better known in MMA as a UFC regular, Lytle gave his take on what Rahman will face.
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#2
Old 02-26-2009, 09:27 AM
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“Even though he’s an older boxer, with his hands, he’ll be head and shoulders above everybody in that division,” Lytle said. “If he can keep it on his feet. If he hasn’t been doing extensive work on takedown defense, he’ll struggle. In my honest opinion, he’ll beat up some guys and knock some people out, and when they try and step him up against a guy with a good game plan, he’ll get taken down and lose.”

The ranges in boxing are deceptive realms that don’t easily translate into MMA, explained Lytle.

“It’s way different. He isn’t gonna be used to a boxing range where the jab is there, because you can’t stand there and just jab. Just out of jab range, where you’re safe in boxing, is kick range,” Lytle said. “Luckily for him he’s not gonna try and out-jab a guy, he’s gonna try and land a big right hand. But he’s gonna have to do more than just lunging in. You can’t set things up as much with your hands in MMA.”

Eddie Alvarez feels that Rahman will need a serious regimen of grappling training to have a shot at winning more than a few set-up type fights.

“It takes a lot of years to get your muscle memory and body movements used to jiu-jitsu,” said Alvarez, whose battle with Tatsuya Kawajiri was Sherdog.com’s 2008 Fight of the Year. “I think what’s more important for him is to force guys and keep them standing up. Where he’s potent and powerful. He’ll need to learn how to throw punches, sprawl and keep things standing up. He don’t have to learn jiu-jitsu if he becomes dominant at that. If he can keep a guy standing up and trade, he’s got a shot.

“If you ever watched his fights, the guy’s got a chin,” added Alvarez. “Not a lot of guys in MMA are gonna want to trade with him. But what’s different is anybody can get knocked out at any time. A very technical striker gets beat by a less technical striker. You can’t come in and just say ‘I got superior striking.’”

And if Rahman thinks a streetfighting background is enough to deal with grappling?

“In that case this might be a disaster for him. He might be committing career suicide,” Alvarez said. “In MMA, it ain’t long before a one-dimensional fighter gets found out. You have to have all aspects of it.”

Heavyweight veteran Heath Herring concurred with Lytle in that Rahman’s first opponents should be chosen wisely while he gets up to speed.

“I would love to fight a guy like that. Just because I think guys like that are a little bit overconfident. And I like fights people would want to watch,” Herring said.

The big question marks for Rahman –- how he deals with grappling, the muay Thai clinch, timing the leg-check on an 80 mph kick, and the rest of the MMA bag of tricks, is largely dependent on who’s in there with him and what they’re bringing.

“You’re gonna want guys that want to stand,” Herring said. “If they choose his opponents wisely, he can win. But to just expect he’s gonna run in and dominate with boxing alone is foolish. Saying his streetfighting is enough for wrestling? That might just be a marketing ploy. If you take a straight wrestler, I think he’s much more equipped to do this sport than a boxer.”

Manager Mike Roberts concurs. His firm, MMA Incorporated, manages about 30 fighters, including Urijah Faber, Dan Henderson, James Irvin, and others. After signing NCAA 2001 champ Mark Munoz (who fights Matt Hamill March 7 in the UFC), Roberts had Munoz train for a full year in MMA before making his debut.

“Rahman’s not gonna learn wrestling or jiu-jitsu in two or three months. If I were him, I’d start working on basic takedown defense, and scrambling to get back up. He’s going to learn nothing in jiu-jitsu in three months,” Roberts said. “He could learn takedown defense and scrambling to stay up. If I were his manager I’d make sure he got a fighter that was a striker. I think three months is a little fast if he’s gonna take MMA serious. I definitely would be very selective on his opponents, and have him take his time. Without serious grappling training, he’s going into it with the wrong mental attitude. And the first guy that fights him and takes him down, he’s gonna be lost.”
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#3
Old 02-26-2009, 10:45 PM
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The guy clearly doesn't seem to know what he's getting into. He hasn't even been to an MMA gym? What the **** is that?

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Other boxers such as Butterbean and Ray Mercer found out the hard way, along with a spate of early-day MMA competitors; but those were far less accomplished boxers than Rahman.
So now Mercer is a far less accomplished boxer than Rachman? I'm not so sure about that. Doesn't Rahman hold the record for shortest reign as a heavyweight Champion?

Anyways, They'd better match him up against the Kimbo Slices and the Butterbeans. He'd probably lose those fights as well with his non-experience.
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#4
Old 02-26-2009, 11:17 PM
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I think Tony Tucker has the shortest reign.
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:40 PM
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Another old bum in MMA, what a surprise. Decent boxers would never stoop so low!
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Old 02-28-2009, 06:41 PM
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How hilarious that his manager/crew is saying his streetfighting background will help him out. Thats like saying, "I'm great at checkers, so I should also be pretty good at chess."
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Old 02-28-2009, 07:23 PM
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Plus the fact that he made the decision to fight in MMA after watching Kimbo fight says it all. He's in for a rude awakening.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:17 PM
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he probably wont accomplish anything but good luck for someone that knocke dout lewis
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:30 PM
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I love Boxing but hope this clown gets destroyed. You can see the arrogance that Boxers have towards MMA.
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#10
Old 03-01-2009, 09:26 AM
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Rahman is washed up. No legs,no chin and he seems to have no understanding of mma

This isn't going to turn out good for him
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