By Rick Reeno
The proposed bout between WBO/IBF heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko (51-3, 45 KOs) and two-time former champion Hasim Rahman (45-6-2, 36KOs) is getting closer by the day. As previously reported, discussions took place over the weekend after IBF mandatory Alexander Povetkin injured his left foot during a training run last Friday and was forced to withdraw from the scheduled fight with Klitschko.
The unexpected injury to Povetkin sent K2 [Klitschko's promotional company] and advisor Shelly Finkel scrambling to find a new opponent, ranked in the top-ten by the IBF, for Klitschko's secured date of December 13 on HBO.
Top Rank president Todd duBoef told BoxingScene.com that negotiations are still ongoing and the two sides are trying to reach an agreement on the money.
"I've been contacted by Shelly Finkel on behalf of K2 and they made me an offer. I've talked to Rahman and [manager] Steve Nelson and they are interested in the fight and we've gone back to them with a counter-offer, and hopefully we'll see if somebody can move," duBoef said.
Steve Nelson would be a really happy camper if the fight went through. He still has the old posters from when Rahman was scheduled, numerous times, to fight older brother Vitali Klitschko back in 2005. Rahman, who was WBC mandatory [and interim champion] at the time, never got his chance to meet Vitali in the ring. Reoccurring injuries forced Vitali into retirement, a move that elevated Rahman to the status of WBC champion. At the time, the fight between Rahman and Vitali had a mountain of hype - with a lot of it circling on Rahman being one of only two men to knock Lennox Lewis out, and Vitali was stopped by Lewis due to cuts.
"I think it's a great fight. We already have the posters. All we have to do is replace the face and change the first name," Nelson told BoxingScene.
If the fight with Wladimir is not made, duBoef tells BoxingScene that Rahman will probably land a position on Top Rank's January card in China.
"I think there are a lot of opportunities for Rahman, especially in Europe where there could be a [Nikolai] Valuev fight or other fights for him. We were planning on using him in Macau in January. We are going to keep him active and keep him going, but obviously we would like to make the Klitschko fight, but I have to satisfy the fighter and everybody's needs," duBoef said.