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Hasim Rahman vs. Lennox Lewis II, billed as "Final Judgment", was a professional boxing match contested on November 17, 2001 for the WBC, IBF, IBO and Lineal Heavyweight Championships.

Background

On April 22, 2001, 20–1 underdog Hasim Rahman pulled off one of the biggest upsets in boxing history after he was able to knock out the heavily favored champion Lennox Lewis in the fifth round of their fight.[1] Following his victory, Rahman joined powerful promoter Don King's promotional firm. Rahman also received multimillion-dollar offers from cable giants Showtime and HBO which would allow them to exclusively air his fights. Showtime offered Rahman $19.25 million to make his first defense against their premier fighter Mike Tyson, while HBO countered with a $17 million offer to meet Lewis in a rematch. Rahman, however, turned down both offers and instead opted to take a less lucrative fight against fringe contender David Izon that would net him $5 million. Lewis, however, had a rematch clause installed in the contract for his previous fight with Rahman and went to court in hopes of having Rahman make his first defense against him. In June, a judge ruled in Lewis' favor and in June, both Rahman and Lewis agreed to a rematch to take place on November 17.[2][3]

While promoting the fight, both Rahman and Lewis made an appearance on ESPN's interview show hosted by Gary Miller Up Close. Rahman had done an earlier radio interview in which he criticized Lewis' decision to sue him for breach of contract, calling it "gay." When this was brought up during the interview with Miller, Lewis defended himself stating that he was "100 percent a woman's man" and that if Rahman had any worries to "bring his sister." Rahman then took offense and the two stood up and went face-to-face before Lewis delivered a slight push to Rahman which in turn started a scuffle between the two men. As staff ran in to break up the melee, Rahman was able to shove Lewis onto the interview table which then collapsed under Lewis' weight before the two were separated.[4]

The fight

Unlike the previous fight between the two, Lewis came into fight prepared and dominated the duration of the fight. Lewis effectively and efficiently used his trademark left jab to take control of the fight and opened up a cut above Rahman's left eye in the first round. After easily winning the first three rounds on all three judges' scorecards, Lewis was able to win the fight a little past the midway point of round four. Lewis connected with a left–right combination that sent Rahman crashing to the mat. Rahman attempted to get back up but collapsed back to the mat at the referee's count of nine. Lewis was then named the winner by knockout, regaining his heavyweight titles in the process.[5]

Aftermath

Next for Lewis would be his highly anticipated match with Mike Tyson. After several delays, the fight would finally take place June 8, 2002 in Memphis, Tennessee. In what would become the highest grossing heavyweight fight of all time, Lewis was able to outbox Tyson en route to an eighth-round knockout victory over the former Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. After one more fight in 2003, a victory over a then up-and-coming Vitali Klitschko, Lewis retired in 2004 as the reigning WBC, IBO and Lineal Heavyweight champion.

Hasim Rahman's comeback from his loss would start off poorly. He would lose his next fight against an aging Evander Holyfield by technical decision after developing a severe hematoma that caused massive swelling over his left eye. Rahman followed his loss to Holyfield with a draw with fellow heavyweight contender David Tua before meeting John Ruiz for the vacant WBA Heavyweight title, though he would lose by unanimous decision. In 2005, however, Rahman would briefly regain the WBC title by defeating Monte Barrett before dropping it the following year to Oleg Maskaev.

References

  1. ^ Rahman Takes Lewis's Belts In Big Upset, N.Y. Times article, 2001-04-22, Retrieved on 2013-07-16
  2. ^ Lewis Wins Court Fight to Force Rahman Rematch, Daily Mail article, Retrieved on 2013-07-16
  3. ^ Rahman-Lewis Rematch Official, Baltimore Sun article, 2001-08-07, Retrieved on 2013-07-16
  4. ^ Lewis, Rahman get physical during taping, ESPN article, 2001-08-30, Retrieved on 2016-10-13
  5. ^ Payback, Sports Illustrated article, 2001-11-26, Retrieved on 2013-07-16