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HASIM RAHMAN VS MONTE BARRETT
WBC INTERIM TITLE
SAT, AUGUST 13TH, 2005
The much anticipated mega fight between Hasim Rahman and Monte Barrett takes place this Saturday night in Chicago........ok, that first sentence was a joke, I admit it. What this fight is, is an indication of just how sorry the Heavyweight division has become. Rahman and Barrett will fight for the "interim" WBC title. The winner to fight Vitali Kitschchko should he decide to ever step in the ring again.
That is the state of the Heavyweight division. You have the most recognized champ in Kitschchko, dodging contenders and playing games. You have another couple of "champs" in Byrd and Brewster who aren't fighting anyone.
Let's face it, when a blown up, fat, old middleweight like James Toney can win a title in this division, it tells you all you need to know. The heavyweight division is in dire need of a Champion fans can latch on to. Only there's no savoir in sight.
What boxing needs is to be regulated in such a fashion that fighters actually HAVE to fight frequently and against mandatory challengers. They need a format in which fighters are continually fighting, in tournament fashion, for a shot at the titles. Not unlike other organized sports leagues. Until then, we are left with so called titles fights between guys named Rahman and Barrett.
I think a bigger crime than the fight itself is the fact that this fight is a pay per view fight. Fight fans don't come any bigger than myself, but please. This fight is hardly worthy of Showtime or HBO. Never mind pay per view. I remember in the old days, when there was a pay per view card, you would get 3 or 4 additional fights between well known, big names.
But enough of that. Regardless of the sorry state of affairs in boxing, we're here to make money on the outcome of fights, so let's take a look at this upcoming clash of the titans.
Rahmans big claim to fame is a right hand on the chin of Lennox Lewis to win the title several years ago. Let's face it. He got lucky. In the rematch, a focused Lewis destroyed Rahman. Quite frankly, Rahman has done nothing since. He lost to an aging Holyfield in a fight that went to the scorecards early due to a huge hemo-something or other on his head. It looked like a beach ball. He lost to John Ruiz, another joke.
Sure, he has been busy of late and has strung together several wins in a row. But against weak opposition. But then again, it's not as if his opponent has done anything of significance either. Monte Barrett has always been just that. An opponent. He's a decent enough boxer, with a decent chin, but no power himself. He really has no significant victories on his resume, and has losses to the likes of Baby Joe Mesi. For those of you who don't know, Joe Mesi was the 2nd coming of, well, Tommy Morrison. Only Morrison was better!
Pinnacle Sports has Rahman as a -227 favorite over Barrett who is +207. The over/under rounds proposition on the fight is over 9.5 rounds -116 or under 9.5 rounds +106.
To make money over the long haul betting on boxing, you need to cash your share of underdog tickets. When I handicap a fight, I'm always looking for reasons to take the underdog. On boxing ability alone, Rahman should have the edge. He's got the reach advantage, has power and is the overall better fighter. I can't pull the trigger on the underdog in this one
The one thing Barrett has in his favor is that he is the hungry fighter. He has no money. Rahman has earned millions. Never underestimate that in boxing. Just listen to Mike Tyson's comments after his latest loss. True, his main problem is that he's an old, washed up fighter with diminished skills. But also mixed in there is lack of that fire burning inside.
All that being said, I just don't see Barrett winning this fight. He'll make a good account of himself, but in the end, this fight is a 12 round unanimous decision which goes to Hasim Rahman.
Besides. Don King is involved. Which fight has the potential to earn more money? Vitali Kitschchko vs Monte Barrett? Or Vitali Kitschchko vs Hasim Rahman?
Right. Enough said.
Over 9.5 rounds -116