by David P. Greisman
Hasim Rahman has fought five fights with Eddie Mustafa Muhammad in his corner, scoring five knockouts. And though the level of opposition hasn’t been stellar – the five opponents had a combined record of 128-65-2 – Muhammad is optimistic about where these fights have brought Rahman and a bout with heavyweight titleholder Alexander Povetkin could come soon.
“We’ve fought our way back to the mandatory position,” Muhammad told BoxingScene.com. “We’re just waiting for them to give us our shot.”
BoxingScene.com: There are a lot of heavyweights who think they still have it. Why does Rahman belong?
Muhammad: “Because we sent him to Duke University for a month and did their weight program. The big thing was his weight. He was there for a month and he shed over 30 pounds. That shows me that he’s very serious about it.”
BoxingScene.com: Is weight his only big issue? What about wear and tear?
Muhammad: “I don’t think it’s wear and tear, because in the gym when he’s sparring, we’re good now that he’s dropped the weight. He looks real good.”
BoxingScene.com: What’s his weight at right now?
Muhammad: “I’m looking at around 240. He’s getting lower and lower, because he’s in the gym every day.”
BoxingScene.com: Rahman is 39. You don’t think he’s too old for heavyweights these days?
Muhammad: “Not at all. Start off with George Foreman. He regained the title at older than 40 years old. There are a lot of guys out there that are Rock’s age that are fighting and having a great time and competitive.”
BoxingScene.com: Why do you think Rahman would be competitive with Povetkin?
Muhammad: “Same size. Same height. Same build. But Rock is the harder puncher. Povetkin hasn’t shown me anything. I saw his last fight. He didn’t show me anything. He showed me one thing – that he can be hit and hurt. And he’ll be right in front of Rock.”
BoxingScene.com: When do you think Rahman fights next?
Muhammad: “We’re looking at February or March.”
BoxingScene.com: Aside from the weight, what’s the difference between Rahman now and in recent years?
Muhammad: “He’s more dedicated. It’s like he knows that this is his last hurrah, and he’s more dedicated. He’s put a lot of things to the side and concentrated on regaining the championship.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]