Hasim Rahman is going to turn 40 on November 7. He hasn't been in a major fight since December 2008, when he was demolished by Wladimir Klitschko. And he came into his last fight weighing an absurd 284 pounds, 46 pounds heavier than the night he shocked the world and knocked out Lennox Lewis on April 22, 2001, in South Africa.
It's been a long time now since Rahman (50-7-2, 41 KO) was considered a legitimate contender in the heavyweight division, as a generation of also-rans, wannabes, and sure, a few quality prospects have lapped him climbing the ladder toward their own Klitschko destruction.
But the Baltimore native is getting one more shot at the big time this Saturday, when he faces Alexander Povetkin for the WBA "regular" title in Germany, a main event that is easy to dismiss as an undeserved title shot for a shop-worn veteran, but perhaps not worthy of being totally ignored.
That's because Rahman, even well past his prime, can still punch like a heavyweight. And the last time we saw Povetkin (24-0, 16 KO), he had a hard time with the power of Marco Huck, a career cruiserweight who moved up for a big fight.
I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that I suddenly like Povetkin-Rahman. I don't. I think it's a rather awful fight, and most likely will end with the veteran beaten up at the hands of a younger man. But there's no denying that Rahman does appear to be in better shape than last he was seen in June 2011, and he's promising a knockout win -- and expects that's the only way he'll leave Germany a victor:
"I know what I have to do and that is to knock him out. I know that when I’m at my best, no one can take my power and I will knock him or anyone else out, period. No fight at this level is easy, but I know that I am 100 percent prepared and so I am supremely confident. The fight will not go the distance. I will KO Povetkin on September 29."
Promoter Greg Cohen has made a stink about Rahman not being included on the fight poster, and he's not. Povetkin is featured, and so is co-feature A-side Kubrat Pulev, the European heavyweight champ who will defend against the painfully lumbering Alexander Ustinov.
Both fights, in fact, sort of stack up the same way. Povetkin and Pulev, Killer P's that they are, figure to be at least a full class above their opponents. They are expected to win, and most likely win easily. But Rahman and Ustinov can thump a little bit. If one of them lands a big'un, hey, it's the heavyweight division. That's supposedly part of the beauty of it.
I still think Povetkin will win handily, because I don't think Rahman has a lot left. But if "The Rock" scores the KO, and I say I'm shocked, call me out, because I'll be lying. I wouldn't be shocked. I shouldn't be shocked. After all, the last time we saw Rahman in a major fight, it's because he got called in on short notice to replace Povetkin, who ran for the hills for the first of two times after signing up to fight Wladimir.
Stranger things have happened this year, and will happen forevermore in boxing, than the old man laying out a second-tier heavyweight with one good shot.
We'll have live round-by-round coverage of Povetkin vs Rahman and Pulev vs Ustinov on Saturday. The fights will be airing on BoxNation, and at least Povetkin-Rahman will air in the US on Epix.