Two-time world heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman has become known for three things in his boxing career: knocking out Lennox Lewis in 2001 to win the title, getting knocked out by Lewis in 2001 to lose the title, and his 2002 fight with Evander Holyfield in which a clash (or three) of heads caused a cartoonish lump to grow on Rahman’s forehead.
Rahman, 41, last fought in 2012 and retired with a 50-8-2 record with 41 knockouts. (Although you’d be wise to never call a boxer under 50 “retired.”) He’s been mostly out of the spotlight since then, but the Muslim brother from Baltimore, Md., who has devoted his time and money in recent years to community-development initiatives in his hometown that focus on creating jobs, building low-income housing and drug treatment — including his work with the Gwynn Oak Islamic Community Trust — had his name surface on the social media radar this week when Lewis went on Twitter to reflect on their first fight.
“I wanted to fight in Africa like my hero Ali did,” Lewis wrote. “But I should have arrived in South Africa earlier to get better acclimatized. I felt sluggish and winded, but you live u learn — sometimes the hard way!
“I can’t take anything away from Rahman though. He did everything he was supposed to do for that fight and it paid off for him.”
Lewis, who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2009, also revealed that Rahman’s camp was trying to have the new champion make his first title defense against Mike Tyson, but Lewis invoked a rematch clause in their original contract and won the championship back seven months later.
Rahman went on to win the vacant WBC heavyweight title in 2005 with a unanimous decision victory over Monte Barrett, defending it once successfully against James Toney before losing to Oleg Maskaev in 2006.