Hasim Rahman gained the big money for this Saturday’s heavyweight title rematch with former champion Lennox Lewis. Now, he’s fighting for respect.
Rahman and Lewis have no love for each other, at least if you believe the fiasco from the ESPN interview last month when the two tried to get a head start on their fight. Lewis is a $3.30 favorite to regain the title at Mandalay Bay.
The main event is preceded by a WBA world middleweight title bout between former two-time champion William Joppy and unbeaten British fighter Howard Eastman. Christy Martin, the most celebrated women’s fighter in the sport’s short history, is also featured on the card.
Rahman-Lewis culminates a big weekend of boxing in Las Vegas, which begins Friday night at The Orleans with the IBF featherweight title fight between champion Frankie Toledo (40-5-1, 15 KOs) and Mexican challenger Manuel Medina (59-11-0, 26 KOs).
Lewis (38-2-1, 29 KOs) placed some added pressure on himself when he fired his manager Frank Mahoney last week after an 11-year partnership.
“I’ve got to the point where I am self-managed now,” Lewis told The Associated Press after the firing.
Rahman (35-2, 29 KOs) shocked the boxing world when he knocked out Lewis in the fifth round of their title fight last April. It was the first loss in seven years for Lewis, who held the heavyweight title since 1997.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened the odds at plus $1.20 for the fight to go eight rounds. The price was minus $1.40 for the bout lasting less than eight. Rahman opened at 7-1 to win by decision and 3-1 to retain the belt by knockout. Lewis opened at 2-1 to win by decision and 7-5 to gain the title back by KO. The opening odds were 20-1 for a 12-round draw.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants has Rahman listed as a $2.50 underdog for the rematch.
TVKO, the pay-per-view arm of HBO Sports will produce and distribute the live telecast.
The Joppy-Eastman fight will be seen Friday night on ESPN.