Boxing: All Talk And No Trousers

04 Sep 2001 14:37 GMT

NOW Sport's Andy McKenzie was there to see Lennox Lewis and Hasim Rahman meet up again, but this time there were no fireworks.


On the line: The three amigos
On the line: The three amigos
©Andy McKenzie

Lennox Lewis and Hasim Rahman occupied the same room again on Monday, but this time there was no repeat of the Cuddle In California that rocked the boxing world last week. In a darkened nightclub in the middle of London's Leicester Square, the current and former heavyweight world champions staged their latest press conference to promote the 17 November rematch.

The media waited expectantly for a rematch of their schoolyard squabble that prompted suggestions boxing and American wrestling should merge. Unfortunately for the television cameras, there was no repeat performance. Lennox Lewis' mother was on hand to answer back in case the altercation turned into a 'Yo Momma' spat, while both boxers were surrounded by security men just in case the imposing Violet couldn't handle things herself.

Rahman appeared bedecked in a fuchsia robe, a jewelled crown and waved a king's sceptre with the right hand which just over four-and-a-half months ago earned him the heavyweight title of the world. "The hammer that changed the world," promoter Don King pronounced, holding up Rahman's iron fist to the audience.

While Rahman came in fancy dress, Lewis was sporting a sharp suit and a permanent scowl, clearly unimpressed by Rahman's excessive attire.


King: Gets in on the act
King: Gets in on the act
©Andy McKenzie

Rahman, the WBC, IBF and IBO title-holder, was accompanied by his posse, which included some scantily-clad cheerleaders.

Not to be denied, Lewis was sidelined by his own bunch of beauties, dressed in Beefeater suits which left little to the imagination, presumably so there were no further questions regarding his sexual persuasion.

A week ago, the two men wrecked a television studio in California, USA, following a heated disagreement on that age-old discussion of whether taking out a court action was indeed an indication of homosexuality.

This time, there were few words from the two protagonists on the subject of their fallout. Instead they choose to talk boxing. Lewis labeled Rahman a "one-punch wonder" and claimed the knockout blow in the fifth round of their fight in April was a lucky one thrown in desperation. He assured everyone that there would be no repeat.

"I'm gonna make Hasim Rahman the champ for the moment," said 36-year-old Lewis. "I see me going out there and asserting myself from the first bell. I'm going to win every round.

"I'm gonna show that he's just holding on to my belts. He doesn't even belong in the same ring as me."


Rahman: King for a day?
Rahman: King for a day?
©Andy McKenzie

Lewis' downfall in the previous encounter between the two (in the ring) was widely attributed to his lack of preparation and failure to take Rahman seriously. The Rock feels history could repeat itself.

"He feels like I can't do it again," he said. "That's going to provide me with the opportunity do it again. He doesn't believe I've gotten better as a fighter. I'm stronger, more disciplined, that's exactly what I am.

"I've been through enough life-threatening situations not to be worried about a heavyweight fight against somebody I've already knocked out."

And then they were gone. Although this time they were escorted out by models rather than security men.

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