- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 8, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) - Hasim Rahman will defend the WBC-IBF heavyweight titles for a minimum of $10 million in a November rematch with Lennox Lewis.

"We're very excited the deal is done," Steve Nelson, Rahman's co-manager, said yesterday. "We believe we're going to win again."

Rahman became champion with a surprising fifth-round knockout of Lewis on April 22 in South Africa.

"Rahman has signed, Lewis has signed and TVKO wants it," Nelson said. TVKO is the pay-per-view arm of HBO, which has a multifight deal with Lewis.

"The fight definitely will be Nov. 10 or Nov. 17," Nelson said. "We anticipate it will be in Las Vegas. We're very happy with the timing of the fight. Traditionally, big fights are held in November."

Nelson said Rahman will get a percentage of the pay-per-view sales above a certain figure and share in other revenues.

"In all revenues relating to the fight, we will share in the upside," Nelson said. "It was these percentages that led to the deal being finalized. We have assurances that Rock's minimum purse will be higher than what Lewis will make."

Rahman's purse for the April fight was $1.5 million, while Lewis made $7 million.

Lewis signed a contract with King on July 20.

Nelson said Rahman was going to sign a contract when he went to China to be part of the telecast of John Ruiz's WBA heavyweight title defense against Evander Holyfield on Aug. 5 in Beijing. That fight, however, was called off because of neck injury to Ruiz.

"So we waited until King got back from China," Nelson said. "We [Nelson and co-manager Stan Hoffman] met with King in Florida on Thursday, and we worked until Saturday. Rock then flew in and signed the contract."

Pat English, attorney for Main Events, Lewis' American promoter, has said there is no deal until Main Events agrees. Lewis' British promoter, Lion Promotions, has signed.

"That's between Lewis and Main Events," Nelson said.

After Rahman upset Lewis, HBO offered him $17 million for a rematch, while Showtime offered him $20 million to fight former champion Mike Tyson.

Rahman, who had fought for promoter Cedric Kushner in South Africa, then signed a promotional deal with King, who planned to have him defend against David Izon on the China card.

Lewis went to court and a federal judge ruled that Rahman must fight him or not fight anybody for 18 months. Lewis, however, could have had another fight before meeting Rahman. That set up the possibility of a Lewis-Tyson match. Talks were being held between HBO, which has Tyson under contract.

Asked if there were regrets about not taking the $17 million first offered for Rahman to fight Lewis, Nelson said, "No, we stand to make much more. We're in negotiations for a multifight deal with HBO."

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