Rahman has new trainer, Holyfield goal


Former heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman said yesterday that he is looking for a comeback fight against Evander Holyfield this spring and that he has been training for the last two weeks in a Philadelphia gymnasium under Bouie Fisher.

Fisher has been with Bernard Hopkins throughout that fighter's career, including his 12th-round knockout of Felix Trinidad for the undisputed middleweight championship in September.

"A while back, Bouie Fisher said some nice things about me in Ring Magazine, said what he could do with me as a fighter, and I've always admired his strategy and what he's done with Bernard Hopkins," said Rahman.

He fired former trainer Adrian Davis after being knocked out in his return bout with Lennox Lewis in November.

"With what [Fisher] did with Hopkins in the Trinidad fight, well, that broke the camel's back," Rahman said. "It's already a feasable situation, geographically, but I might have to buy a spot up there [in Philadelphia] to be closer."

Rahman's co-manager, Steve Nelson, called Fisher "an excellent teacher and a superb strategist." He said he does not think Fisher's loyalty to Hopkins will make Rahman play "second fiddle."

"Having two of the top boxers in the world, we were concerned that he wouldn't have enough time for Rock [Rahman]," Nelson said. "There's no way we'd accept being in a secondary position, but he has made room for Rock. We have assurance that Rock will get his due."

Rahman said Fisher already has made changes in "the way I punch and defend myself. He's brought more intensity out. If I had that against Lennox, I would have jumped right on him like the first fight."

Rahman is hoping to line up a spring fight with Holyfield, who last month battled to a 12-round draw with John Ruiz that allowed Ruiz to retain his World Boxing Association crown.

"We believe that the four best-known heavyweights are Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, Evander Holyfield and Hasim Rahman," said Nelson. "In the past year, the two highest-rated boxing programs on HBO were Holyfield-Ruiz and Lewis-Rahman I. There's no question from a ratings and marketing standpoint, Rahman-Holyfield makes a lot of sense. Beating Holyfield, we feel we can make a charge for the title."

Rahman predicted that "2002 is going to be a different year, and I'm going to be the two-time champion."

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