Lewis takes revenge on Rahman


Lennox Lewis brutally disposed of Hasim Rahman in Las Vegas today to reclaim the world heavyweight titles which had been ripped away from him seven months ago.

The looping right hand punch which left Rahman flat on his back after one minutes and 29 seconds of round four ensured he regained possession of the WBC, IBF and IBO belts he can now use as bargaining chips for a mega-fight with Mike Tyson.

Lewis proved he had kept his cool during an acrimonious build-up to the contest which culminated in the fighters being kept apart at the weigh-in by a perspex screen.

And he was in no mood to forgive Rahman, who could not attend the post fight press conference because he had to go to a nearby hospital as a mandatory measure stipulated by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

"Has-Been Rahman, that's my new name for him now. The Buster Douglas of the 21st century. I told you that punch was a lucky punch in South Africa. I had too many attributes for him."

Comparisons with Douglas, who took the money and rolled against Evander Holyfield after shocking Mike Tyson, are a little harsh on Rahman but Lewis certainly exposed him for the relative novice that he was.

Lewis balanced perfectly the need to present an attacking force while not leaving himself open to the kind of right hand which so dreadfully upset him in Johannesburg.

He jabbed away confidently in the opening two rounds, drawing blood around his opponent's left eye, and boxed beautifully in the third, when he perplexed Rahman with the kind of relentless movement which came from his entering the ring at his lightest for two years.

He caught Rahman in round three with a straight left which knocked his opponent back towards the ropes and was firmly in the ascendency going into the fourth.

Lewis bullied Rahman back towards a neutral corner and turned his head with a glancing blow with his left hand before summoning up the super-punch which kept his career alive at the age of 36.

Lewis' trainer Emanuel Steward said that despite suggestions that his build-up was far from plain sailing, his charge's clinical performance proved emphatically that he went into the ring fully focused and bearing no mental scars.

Only a comprehensive victory would have done for Lewis tonight - anything less and the doubts would still have remained about whether he was past his fighting peak.

Lewis answered all his critics in the most dramatic way possible, bringing ever closer the prospect of that meeting with Tyson.

His camp believe that the rival Home Box Office and Showtime networks - to which Lewis and Tyson are respectively contracted - are close to finalising a deal for joint pay-per-view.

That only leaves Tyson, the WBC's number one contender, to agree to what would be without question the biggest grossing fight in boxing history.

Lewis was a little more cautious, adding: "Since the Holyfield fight I've been waiting for Tyson.

"After the last fight where he boxed that blimp he says he needs two more fights, and I'm saying, boy, is this fight going to happen? But we're going to have to see what happens."